Mask of Sorrow – Magadan, Russia - Atlas Obscura

AO Edited

Mask of Sorrow

Magadan, Russia

This eerie sculpture overlooks what was known as the Road of Bones under Joseph Stalin. 


The haunting human face set atop a hill overlooking Magadan is as a memorial to those who died in Soviet gulags In the 1930s, when Joseph Stalin was systemically executing Russia’s intellectual and political dissidents, the city was used as a transit zone for prisoners. R504 Kolyma Highway, which leads into the area, was so notorious it was often called the “Road of Bones.”

In 1996, after the fall of the USSR, the Mask of Sorrow was revealed to the public. Sculptor Ernst Neizvestny was among those who lost his parents in the purges. Today, the statue serves as a chilling reminder of the past. Although the climb to the top is steep, the views are spectacular. 


Know Before You Go

Keep an eye out for wild foxes roaming the area. 

Community Contributors

December 20, 2023

Make an Edit Add Photos
In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web