Interior of the Museum for the Victims of Political Repression.

© Nina Alizada/Shutterstock

KarLag Museum

Top choice in Kazakhstan

Housed in the old KarLag headquarters building, this poignant museum walks you through KarLag's role in the Soviet Gulag Archipelago. The repression of Kazakh 'kulaks', the post-1917-Revolution Red Terror, the man-made famine of 1931 and the suffering of the victims of the Gulag are all given a voice here. From Karaganda bus station, take Shakhtinsk-bound bus 121 (every 20 minutes), get off at the Vtoroy Shakht stop (150T), walk or take a shared taxi into Dolinka (1.5km).

There are recreations of cells in the basement, including torture cells and punishment cells, while other rooms display dioramas and paintings, as well as memorabilia such as photos, heartbreaking letters from separated family members and some personal items of inmates. KarLag death rates reached 30% a year at times. Call ahead for an English-language tour (1000T) to complement the explanatory material in English. Ask at the museum about other Karlag-related sights in the village, including a hospital, a clinic, the officers' club and the Mamochkino children's cemetery.

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