Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

A note on the territories where foreigners may not tread: the closed cities and proscribed zones of the Russian Federation.

article summary —

Some of the 'closed cities' of the former Soviet Union - those special zones forbidden to foreigners - have outlived glasnost and are still a feature of twenty-first century Russia. Indeed, as we noted in the preceding feature, the Arctic city of Norilsk was only added to the list in 2001.

Across modern Russia, there are dozens of communities which remain forbidden territories. Some are no-go areas even for Russians. At least nowadays these cities are beginning to appear on maps. Prior to glasnost, some of the closed cities were referred to only by a coded name: Penza-19 and Murmansk-150 conveniently revealed to would-be spies exactly how far from Penza or Murmansk they might need to look to find something of interest.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 13.