Kadyckchan is one of those quintessentially soviet places: built by gulag prisoners to house coal miners for which there was little economic need, when the soviet union fell, the people left very quickly. In 2008, there were (apparently) fewer than 250 people left in a town that was once home to 10,000. What makes it more interesting in the average ghost town is the soviet hallmarks: big cement apartment blocks, propaganda, statues, and Chernobyl-like abandonments of households that look untouched – cars in the garage, books on the shelf. I first stumbled across Kadykchan on perennial favorite English Russia, which has a great collection of photos from the town site (browse the English Russia Kadykchan photos here). English Russia has a pretty dramatic title for their post – the “city of abandoned dreams” – which overstates things a bit, IMHO. A more apt description would be “the city that perfectly illustrates the follies of planned economies.”
Below you’ll find the Google Maps satellite view of Kadykchan, yours to explore. Its a neat one – note as you poke around the absence of cars or people, and the streets covered in washed out dirt – nature looks to be reclaiming Kadykchan as fast as the people can leave.
If you like this map, you should also explore The Sunken Remains of Russia’s Navy, which includes pretty cool satellite images of tonnes of sunken warships abandoned around Murmansk.
Edit: Helium History Mysteries has a different story about the abandonment of Kadykchan:
“During an especially bad Siberian winter all the plumbing throughout the city froze and burst. The heating failed and trucks could not make it into the town with food and supplies. Very quickly people began to freeze to death. Others slowly starved. As the emergency spread the Russian military arrived. They evacuated the survivors and buried the dead. Left behind was an empty city and the ghosts of those who didn’t survive long enough to escape their freezing doom.” [Helium]