Children’s camp Orlyonok in Novotroitskoye near the healing Salty Lyman in Dnepropetrovsk region, will never receive vacationers again.
This place deserves a separate visit – the trip here will take no more than 5 hours, even if you go by bus. So, take a walk, breathe the fresh air, take pictures on a dried-up pond, and look at the former grandeur of the once large enterprise.
History of Camp Orlyonok
The Makarov Yuzhmash Children’s Health Camp “Orlyonok” – the full name of this abandoned camp – dates back to the 1960s. The camp was named “Orlyonok” after the success of its counterpart in the Krasnodar Territory. There the children’s institution had a stunning debut and other “Orlenoks” began to spring up all over the Soviet Union.
The strategic plant cared about its employees, and therefore built a health camp for their children on the edge of the forest near the healing lake-salty Liman in the then village of Znamenovka.
It was a huge area with all the infrastructure. Residential buildings of three to five stories, a medical center, a stadium and sports complex, a canteen, a swimming pool, a summer theater, a cinema, outbuildings. There was even its own radio room where young DJs were busy broadcasting – waking up in the morning, launching music, making announcements.
Orlyonok worked every summer in three shifts, each of 21 days. In total it could accommodate 18-21 squads and service personnel. There could be a total of 750 children in one shift.
I think, along with the educators, medics, cooks, guards, there were about a thousand people here.
The children had a rest not only in the camp, but also went to the woods, swam in the lake, and often interacted with local children, who came to the camp to dance and have a showdown.
The abandoned camp Orlyonok in modern Ukraine
After the collapse of the USSR, the camp continued to exist. Not only the children of Yuzhmash factory workers, but also those who bought a trip here on a commercial basis could go there.
The camp worked during the first decade of already independent Ukraine, but gradually lost its power and appeal. The enterprise paid less and less attention to its Orlyonok. Production was decreasing, energy resources were becoming more and more expensive. It became costly to maintain such a huge facility, especially in winter, when heating is needed to keep the buildings in good condition. The 2001 or 2002 season was the last for Orlenok (somewhere around this time).
All the furniture, linen, and equipment were taken out, and the stairs in the buildings were cut down. I think this was done intentionally, so that stalker travelers wouldn’t get hurt and nothing would be stretched by local scrap metal seekers.
Thus ended the active life of one of the best children’s health camps in the Soviet Union.
Novotroitskoye and Camp Orlenok now (2021)
In today’s Dnepropetrovsk region there is no Znamenovka for a long time – it was renamed Novotroitskoye. Salty Liman has shrunk in size – the lake often dries up, but there is still a resort and health resort. It is a large modern building, there are still unfinished complexes nearby.
Orlyonok stands alone in the woods and is accessed first by a dirt road and then by the remnants of a concrete road. The entrance gate is closed and wrapped with barbed wire. It says so on them, “No passage allowed!” On the way to the camp there are piles of garbage – it was the locals arranged the dump. There is tall grass and its smell everywhere, even in the fall.
We didn’t know if it was an intimidating sign or if there really are guards there, so we went through a hole in the fence. We soon found out that there really are guards on the grounds. They have several dogs on a leash and they live in an enclosure somewhere.
We thought the guards would turn us away, but they let us walk around (though they prohibited us from taking pictures).
Now the camp is heavily overgrown. The early buildings, it can be seen they are not made of brick and low – are already falling apart, but the buildings made of brick are standing. There are even buildings where the glass is still intact. The asphalt is cracked or completely gone. Only the legs are left of the benches near the residential buildings, there are some rooms where you can make out the furniture, propaganda posters. But there are not many of them. From the boiler room and the transformer room near the sports complex grinding metal remnants of machines. The canteen in bright colors is sagging.
It seems that everyone has forgotten about Orlenok, but it still lives its own life. First of all, these are the memories of those who were here – children who became adults, stalkers and travelers who visit here.
When we were there, we noticed remnants of grenades and stretchers on the grounds. There had been some kind of competition here recently with an interesting legend.
And in general, this place does not give the impression of some fatal abandonment.
How to get to the children’s camp Orlyonok
If you take a bus from the bus station on the route Dnipro city – Soly Liman, you need to stop at the terminus in Novotroitsk. Then go past the sanatoriums on Gersimenko Street and at the first intersection turn left. Then on the dirt and concrete road go straight. Soon there will be two entrances to the children’s camp. The third is on the side of the forest. Total walk about 20 minutes from the village to the camp.
Google Maps – Children’s Camp Orlyonok, Solony Liman.