Kolyma (river) where is it?

Kolyma (river) where is it?
Kolyma (river) where is it?

It just so happened that the name Kolyma is used to designate a whole region that unites the Magadan region and Yakutia, which by the will of fate became the center of the punitive system of the country of the Soviets.

kolyma river

It was here that the most terrible camps were located, and the name of this great beautiful river in northeastern Russia is still associated with cruel repressions. But we will talk about the amazing hydronym - the powerful full-flowing Kolyma River, which brings life to everyone - both to the tribes that have long settled along its banks, and to us today, who cannot imagine existence without these lands discovered by Russian travelers.

A bit of history

For the first time, the Kolyma River (Khalima in Yakut) is mentioned in the report of the Pomor explorer Mikhailo Stadukhin, who led the expedition, which resulted in the discovery of new lands in the basins of the Indigirka and Alazeya (1639), as well as the foundation in 1644 winter quarters in the lower reaches of the Kolyma. He also gave a description of the unfriendly natives - the militant Chukchi, who protected their own way of life and were in no hurry to show hospitality to anyone. The Yukaghirs, Tungus, Chukchi, Evenki, who settled on these shores and settled in harsh places, were engaged in fishing, hunting, and later sled dog breeding.

kolymariver photo

The fortified Nizhnekolymsk winter hut became the starting point for subsequent expeditions and trips in the difficult task of searching for unexplored territories. From 1647-1648, land and water expeditions were undertaken, supplementing the picture of the area with appropriate descriptions.

The famous polar explorer Dmitry Laptev, who arrived as part of the Great Northern Expedition, in 1741 described the upper reaches of the river and erected at the mouth of the Kolyma River, or rather its right channel of the Kamennaya Kolyma, a special structure - an identification beacon, which later became a support for many research projects. The famous campaigns of Wrangel, Billings and other equally famous sailors departed from here. Such is the history of the discovery of these places, inhospitable, harsh, but attracting and captivating with their extraordinary northern beauty. Let's figure out where the Kolyma River is born, where it carries its waters, what path it makes and what it meets on it.

Origin of the name

Scientists have not yet come to a consensus on the origin of the name (Kolyma). The Evens, the indigenous inhabitants of these places, called it Kulu, which means river in Turkic. Today this name is preserved only behind the right source of the Kolyma. Mikhailo Stadukhin calls her Kovma, and later, familiar to modern man, Kolyma. No one has been able to prove the etymological links between Kulu and Kolyma, and the controversial hypotheses about the Yukagir origin of the name also have no evidence base.

mouth of the Kolyma River

Probably forever remain a mystery amazing name -Kolyma river. Where is its beginning, we will find out further.


Kolyma is formed by two sources connecting on the Okhotsk-Kolyma Highlands: the Ayan-Yuryakh River, descending between the rocks of the Halkan Range and the Kulu River, which appeared from the confluence of two rivers at the granite spurs of Suntar-Khayat. It is from here that the river begins to move north to the Arctic Ocean.

Where the Kolyma River flows

The river basin with its numerous tributaries spread over the vast territory of the Magadan Region, Khabarovsk Territory, Yakutia, touches some areas of Chukotka and Kamchatka. Making its way to the ocean through the permafrost, skirting the rocky mountains, the Kolyma River flows into the East Siberian Sea through 3 powerful mouths:

• East - navigable Kamennaya Kolyma, which has a solid 20-kilometer width. The length of the mouth is 50 km, and the depth is almost 9 m.

• Middle - Pokhodskaya Kolyma, a branch 25 km long, from 0.5 to 2 km wide and 3.5-4.5 m deep.

• Western - Chukchi Kolyma, which also has very impressive dimensions: 60 km long, 3-4 km wide and 8-9 m deep.

The length of the delta at its base is about 110 km, and its area extends for almost 3 thousand square meters. km.

Length and features

How long is the river? The Kolyma has a length of 2129 km, and if we count from the source of the Kenyelichi - the river, which is the right tributary of the Kulu, then it increases to 2513 km. For almost 1,400 km, the Kolyma flows through the expanses of the Magadan Region, the rest of its path runs through Yakutia, and the sources are in the Khabarovsk Territory.

where is the kolyma river

The area of ​​the river basin is very impressive - 643 thousand square meters. km. The Kolyma Valley runs along the left bank, naturally separating the Kolyma and Indigirka basins. The structural composition of the highlands includes multiple inclusions of crystallized igneous rocks dating back to the Mesozoic period, which ensures the presence of gold deposits in these areas. The stormy nature of the mountainous upper reaches of the river with dangerous rapids is gradually replaced on the flat Kolyma lowland by a confidently calm course. The channel is extremely winding, forming a huge number of branches. Some places along the shores are very interesting - water erodes lava cliffs, exposing the so-called "thals", ancient loose deposits - fertile places for archaeological research, in which mammoth bones were found. In some places, the banks are swampy or covered with viscous silt that can kill an animal and even a person.

After the Kolyma Highlands, the path of the river is laid through the expanses of Yakutia - the main gold-bearing vein of the Russian republic. Here, the left-bank side of the Kolyma gradually passes from the lowland plain to the northern tundra.

Kolyma River: tributaries

On the right side of the river towards the north-west stretch the granite-slate Kolyma Mountains, covered with wonderful coniferous vegetation. All the right tributaries of the Kolyma begin here - Bakhapcha, Buyunda, Balygychan, Sugoi, Korkodon, Berezovka, Kamenka, Omolon, Small and Big Anyui. The left tributaries are the Seimchan, Taskan, Yasachnaya, Popovka, Zyryanka, Ozhogina, Sededema and others. Not for nothing in ancient legends,built by the indigenous peoples of Eastern Siberia, the Kolyma River was compared with a mother of many children who nurtured, nurtured and raised 35 children. That is how many tributaries - more or less significant rivers - there are in the Kolyma.

kolyma river tributaries

According to legend, the aged mother-river gave the children a mandate: to be generous, full-flowing, commercial, to take care of people living nearby. Only one tributary of Omolon was to become a support for herself. And in fact, this tributary is the first to be freed from ice in the spring, feeding the Kolyma.

A winding path to the ocean

Wriggling in all directions, the Kolyma River keeps its way from the southwest to the northwest, sometimes sharply leaving sideways and making a huge knee. So, up to the left tributary of the Shumikha, the Kolyma keeps its way to the northeast, then goes to the southeast, gradually aligns the direction to the north to the place where the Zyryanka river flows into it. So, meandering and turning, Kolyma reaches the Vyatkina tract, from where it again turns to the southeast, and then changes direction to the northwest to the city of Srednekolymsk and again turns to the northeast.

Where does the Kolyma river flow

This direction is also preserved from the main tributary of the Omolon, but after the confluence of the Anyuya River, it turns to the north-west, maintaining this direction to the very bay in the Arctic Ocean.

Such a tortuous flow contributes to the formation of many ducts. For example, below Verkhnekolymsk, the Shipanovskaya channel created a fairly large island in the territory of Shipanovskiy Island, in the lower reaches of the mouthOn the Konyaeva River, several small channels formed a whole scattering of islands, today called the Chastye Islands. The Zakhrebetnaya channel, which has departed from the main channel in the area of ​​the Kresty tract, connects with the Kolyma near Nizhnekolymsk, creating a huge elongated island 110 km long and 10 to 20 km wide.

Hydrological characteristics

Kolyma is a river of mixed nutrition, mainly snow-rain with a gradation of 47% and 42%. 11% falls on groundwater replenishment. In summer, the water level drops noticeably, rising only during prolonged rains. There are also short-term floods. The water temperature in the river is stably low, usually not rising more than 10-15°C, and only in quiet, shallow areas penetrated by the summer sun can it warm up to 20-22°C by the end of July. Kolyma freezes in October, in cold years - at the end of September. Ice breakup is preceded by ice drift, the formation of sludge and the occurrence of ice jams, the duration of which ranges from 2 days to a month.

how long is the kolyma river

The Kolyma River is freed from ice by the beginning of the calendar summer. Ice drift can last from 2 to 18 days, it is often accompanied by impressive traffic jams.


Starting from the mouth of the Bakhapchi River, Kolyma becomes navigable. However, the regular movement of ships is carried out from the port of Seymchan. The duration of the period of active navigation is 4-5 months. The main ports of Kolyma are Seimchan, Zyryanka, Chersky.

Human use

Fishing is developed in the lower reaches of the river, mining is underwaymineral. The powerful beautiful northern river today serves a person, providing him not only with commercial fish species, but also with electricity generated by the Kolyma hydroelectric power station. This hydroelectric power station Yu. I. Frishtera was built near the village of Sinegorye and generates such an amount of electricity that is enough to supply 95% of the region. The Kolyma HPP is only the upper stage of the Kolyma hydroelectric cascade. Today, the construction of the Ust-Srednekanskaya hydroelectric power station, which is the second stage of the cascade, is being completed. In 2013, the first hydroelectric units were put into operation, and the full commissioning of the station will ensure the reliability of energy supply to the entire region and the effective development of the mining industry of the region.

where is the kolyma river

This is how the full-flowing mighty and not fully studied Kolyma River lives today. The photos presented in the publication demonstrate its beauty and power, helping the reader to imagine the amazing charm of the mysterious northern beauty river.

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