KarLag Museum of Political Repression Victims’ Memory

Dolinka (Долинка)

One of the must-visit places in Karaganda is KaraLag labor camp. It shows the details of the period of political repression through a large exhibition with stories in English. It was one of the largest branches of the GULAG (State Administration of Camps) during the period of massive political repression. The total area of the Karlag was actually similar in size to that of France. 

KarLag is located 50 km southwest of Karaganda in the town of Dolinka. The camp was opened in 1930 and existed till 1959. During this period at least a million people passed through KarLag. With the force of prisoners, a large food base, coal and metallurgical industry, agriculture and animal farming developed rapidly in the area. Natural resouces were also produced for example in mines with the help of the forced labor. 

The museum expositions occupy 25 halls in total, which tell visitors about the history of the camp and the life of the prisoners. Personal files of prisoners, their belongings, declassified archival documents, dioramas are also shown and the exhibition leaves a lasting impression. Naturalistic installations with wax figures clearly show how prisoners lived here: a common cell, a punishment cell, an interrogation room, a hospital ward and a Karlag laboratory for example. The prisoners of Karlag made a huge contribution to the military economy of the country during the WW2. 

In order to reach the Karlag museum, take the bus number 121, Shakhtinsk – Karaganda from Karaganda bus station. Get off when you reach  “Shakhta 2”. From this stop you can continue by taxi (Yandex taxi works) or hitch hike to the old village of Dolinka. There is a canteen in Dolinka, where you can have lunch. Taxis can of course serve the whole trip from Karaganda to the camp.

Sights & destinations near Karlag

Page updated 17.3.2021

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