One of Kazakhstan's biggest Gulag memorials, 35km south of Karaganda on the Almaty highway, Spassk was the site of a KarLag camp where foreign prisoners of war were kept after WWII. Beside the highway is the mass grave of some 5000 prisoners, with eerie groups of crosses scattered around the site, and monuments installed by several countries whose nationals died here. A round-trip taxi to Spassk should cost about 5000T from Karaganda.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kazakhstan attractions

1. Nurken Abdirov

20.2 MILES

This dramatic memorial portrays a young Kazakh pilot, Nurken Abdirov – a Hero of the Soviet Union – defiantly gripping the steering of his plane as he…

2. Karaganda Ecological Museum

20.56 MILES

The Karaganda Ecological Museum, run by a dedicated, campaigning environmental NGO, is aimed at local schoolchildren and is the most imaginative museum in…

3. Karaganda Oblast Museum

20.72 MILES

Displays at this regional museum run the gamut from stuffed local wildlife and a model of an Iron Age kurgan (burial mound) to letters from Middle Horde…

4. Coal Miners

20.8 MILES

This Socialist Realist statue of two proud coal miners raising a huge block of coal over their heads is the symbol of Karaganda, the town that coal built.

5. Central Park

20.81 MILES

The leafy Central Park stretches over 2km from north to south, with a large lake at its heart. Its main entrance is off the west side of mid–Bukhar Zhyrau.

6. Lenin Statue

21.05 MILES

A little out of the way, but worth seeking out if you're into your Soviet memorials, this large statue depicts Lenin rising upwards from a block of…

7. Yuri Gagarin Monument

21.17 MILES

This heroic-looking statue of Yury Gagarin, first man in space, was erected in 2014 on what would have been Gagarin's 80th birthday to commemorate his…

8. KarLag Museum

28.97 MILES

Housed in the old KarLag headquarters building, this poignant museum walks you through KarLag's role in the Soviet Gulag Archipelago. The repression of…