We offer an opportunity to explore infamous Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, Kurchatov nuclear museum with a stop at abandoned Chagan ghost town on they way from Semey. Truly, once in a lifetime experience!
You have 2 options to visit the Test site:
- Budget version on your own transport. Prepare 2 seats in your car for a local guide and guide from Kurchatov. You should also pick up and drop off your local guide from Semey. The cost of the tour is considerably lower than the regular tour.
- Regular tour with pick up and drop off from Semey & Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Note: You need a permit to visit the test site. Processing time 21 working days. Please enquire in advance!
09:30 Arrival in ghost town Chagan
Chagan is called a dead ghost town, which has been abandoned for many years. Like all secret facilities not identified on the map of former Soviet Union, this town has never formally existed. Nowadays, it has disappeared as an actual town. Chagan was founded as a special base for the maintenance of former Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site. Its construction began in 1954, and it had been demolished in 1994. It was mainly a home to the staff of Chagan airport located 10 kilometers southwest, which served as a base of long-range strategic aircraft.
Chagan was the second most unique and important airbase, special for some of the Soviet Union’s most iconic long-range bombers, including the legendary M-4 “Bison” and the Tu-95 “Bear”. The base used to locate the 79th bomber division containing about one hundred Tu-95 missile carriers.
Chagan aerodrome’s runway has an enormous length of 4 km (two and a half miles) and a concrete coating thickness of 1 meter and capable of withstanding space loads. That is the main reason why the runway has remained practically in its original form and condition.
10:10 Departure to Kurchatov
11.00 Arrival in Kurchatov.
Excursion to the museum of the Semipalatinsk test site. This unique museum is located in a small town named after the ingenious physicist Igor Kurchatov.
The museum was opened in the 70s of the last century on the basis of a local military unit. More than 100 objects demonstrate not only a variety of complex equipment, but also documentation, research and photographs related to nuclear tests. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the history of this very dangerous weapon and to see rare photographs showing various scientists working here.
12.00 – Lunch (at your own expense). Local cuisine from the canteen of the National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan.
13.00 – Excursion to the site ‘Testing Field’
The Testing Field was the first object of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site and was intended for atmospheric (ground and air) nuclear tests between 1949 and 1962. The site is a plain about 20 km in diameter surrounded by low mountains on three sides. This is a large-scale complex of engineering and construction facilities intended for testing and recording parameters of a nuclear explosion in the conditions of a full-scale experiment.
Up to the present time, fragments of instrumental and fortification structures with traces of nuclear explosions have been preserved.
The first test of the nuclear device on the Testing Field was held on August 29, 1949 at 7 am local time. On August 12, 1953, the first thermonuclear device was tested here, and then, on November 22, 1955 they tested a hydrogen bomb. In total, 116 nuclear tests were conducted in the Testing Field, 86 of which were air tests, and 30 were ground tests.
The whole site complex of the Testing field is still a unique monument of the nuclear age. During the excursion you will visit one of the craters that appeared after the explosion of the atomic bomb. 4 stops are planned:
• 1-stop: Panoramic view of the site Experimental field (Opytnoe Polye), the place of the first nuclear test
• 2-stop: Test ground for 3rd type instrument structure
• 3-stop: Test ground for 1st type instrument structure
• 4-stop: Epicentre of nuclear explosion
On average we aim to visit all planned spots but it will depend on your behavior, if you take too much time at one spot (pictures, walking, climbing stalls) we can not guarantee that you see everything therefore some spots will be missed. The timing is strict!
17.00 – Returning to Semey
19.00 – Arrival in Semey. Dinner (at your own expense)
Tour Price per 1 person (weekday/weekend)
Individual tour – 685$/740$
2-person tour – 365$/390$
3-person tour – 280$/300$
4-person tour – 235$/255$
5-person tour – 185$/200$
6-person tour – 170$/180$
1. Transportation according to the program
2. Excursions with an English-speaking guide
3. Entrance tickets
4. Radiation suit
5. Permit to visit the test site
1. Accommodation in Semey (on request)
2. Meals (on request)
3. Visa support and registration on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, if required
4. Personal expenses and other expenses not mentioned in the program