The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov


Reference work entry
  1. (1)

    A bay in the eastern Kolyma Gulf in the East Siberian Sea by the mouth of the river Kolyma between Cape Stolbovoy and Cape Medvezhiy (Tonkiy), the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia. The border between Yakutia and Chukotka Autonomous District lies in the vicinity of the bay. Ambarchik Bay is open to the north and goes 3 km deep into the mainland. At the entrance its width is about 7 km and the depth is 4 m. From October to July it is frozen. The Kolyma River flows into it. To the east of the bay, there is Zaliv (Gulf) Medvezhiy and to the west is Bukhta (Bay) Troyana, also known as Chayachya. By Cape Stolbovoy the bay joins the mouth of the Kolyma River (Protoka Kamennaya Kolyma). The shore has tundra vegetation and is predominantly low with steep areas. The bay was described by the participants of the Great Northern Expedition of 1733–1743. In 1740 D. Laptev built a barn for keeping stores here which gave name at first to the bay and then to the port (the Russian word for “a small barn” is “ambarchik”). In the eastern part of the bay there is a settlement named Ambarchik which is home to a polar station.

  2. (2)

    A port settlement in the northeastern extremity of Yakutia. It is situated on the shore of Ambarchik Bay on the eastern side of the river Kolyma mouth to the west of Chukotka Autonomous District and to the south of the East Siberian Sea. Not far from it there is a runway for helicopters and transport aircraft. It lies in the Northern Sea Route.


In 1932 “enemies of the people,” mostly former “kulaks” (wealthy peasants), were brought here by means of the Kolyma from Vladivostok. By 1935 the population had grown up to several thousand people. It was not a settlement, but a “Dalstroy” camp, which was an industrial subdivision of GULAG. The same year saw the establishment of the most important hydro-meteo station to observe this region of the Arctic as well as a transit prison for political prisoners. Some remains of GULAG entangled by the rusty barbed wire can still be found here. Ambarchik settlement is home to a monument to the victims of political repressions and Abramchik Bay, with the memorial sign “Wind Rose” commemorating G. Y. Sedov.

It is a seaport situated close to the mouth of the Kolyma River at the junction of sea and river routes. The location of the port was determined by the presence of Zyryanskoe coal deposit at the upper Kolyma. The construction of the port began in mid 1930s. In late 1930s the port had three piers, five dock tugs, working shops for minor repair of vessels, electricity supply, etc. Thus it became the first port of the East Siberian Sea. However the shallow waters prevented sea vessels from approaching the port at less than 10 km, which hindered the loading processes. As soon as the end of the World War II (year 1953), the port was closed because of sea shallowness.

In 2011 the station was inhabited by six people. The port no longer exists but some vessels cast their anchors in Ambarchik Bay.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016