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Nevermind in Vorkuta, The Soviet Gulag Camp Turned City – By Photographer Tomeu Coll

Photo: Tomeu Coll

Vorkuta, Russia, 2009 – Once upon a time, long ago this was a thriving coal mining city, but also notorious outpost for many gulag prisoners. Today however it is full of abandoned buildings that lost their purpose ever since many industry technologies have changed, but also because of the the collapse of Soviet Union.

The extremes in temperature (in winter it can get as cold as -40C) make the buildings unstable and liable to collapse. Up above the Arctic Circle, 40 hours by train from Moscow, sits the Russian city of Vorkuta.

It was built by gulag inmates but was given purpose by the coal industry that used to be the region’s lifeblood.

Ever since mining has disappeared it left many of the industrial outposts abandoned. Tomeu Coll’s 2009 photo essay Nevermind Sovietland hauntingly records the lives of those who still live there. More: Tomeu CollInstagramFacebook h/t: guardian, designyoutrust

Bus Line in Lenin Avenue, Vorkuta

Photo: Tomeu Coll

Lenin Avenue, Vorkuta


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Dance class in Vorkuta’s Culture House


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Vorkuta Culture House


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Alexander S


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Vorkuta Ring Road


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Last train stop before Vorkuta


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Negotiating the heavy snow with a homemade snowplough


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Abandoned Sports Centre, Halmer-U


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Last inhabited building in Yur-Shor


Photo: Tomeu Coll

Irina in the last inhabited building in Yur-Shor (or Vorgashor)


Photo: Tomeu Coll


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