Alga is a ghost city around 45km south from Aqtobe, Kazakhstan. We have decided to visit Alga because of its past. It used to be a city famous for its plant (factory) celebrating the “golden age” of soviet times. There used to be a chemical phosphate plant that was giving a job to thousands of people. Even the most talented chemical engineers from all Soviet Union were invited to work and develop the project.
Unfortunately, with the collapse of USSR, the plant started to disintegrate until closes completely. Recently you can feel the importance of this factory despite of the ashes that remains. This was called “open wound” of Kazakhstan because the community of Alga was depending on this industry. With loss of jobs, the city entered to a dark decadency. A lot of people left everything behind and moved to a better place. Between those who decided to stay in Alga there were cases that loop the factory, they lived from a robbery, even cases of cannibalism were registered.
We took a private taxi from Aqtobe to Alga but you can also take a cheaper option – by bus. We desecrated this option because we preferred to walk around and also because we did not have that much time. The actual city of Alga is a village, where locals are tying their best to reestablish its normal functioning.
The sensation once you entered to the plant is weird. Everything is destroyed and abandoned.
In some parts of the plant there were reconstructed buildings with some activity. We took a lot of precaution in touching the things, maybe without a reason, but we read somewhere that the place is all over contaminated by heavy chemicals, even the aquifers. It sounds ridiculous because another close factory there is producing vodka! I would like to know from which geological water source the water is taken. I pinched my foot walking over there, stepping on a metal spike. Still alive. You can still find the rail trucks that were used to import and export the goods to and from the plant.
We know it is not the best place in the world to visit. But if you are around, you like the modern history, and you are passionate about the soviet history, so why not?