- Nov 2, 2016
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Vozrozhdeniya Island (Ostrov Vozrozhdeniya, which translates as Rebirth Island or Renaissance Island), was an island in the Aral Sea. The former island's territory is split between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In 1954, the Soviet Union constructed a biological weapons test site called Aralsk-7 there. The main town on the island, where scientists and employees of the complex lived, was called Kantubek, which lies in ruins today, but once held approximately 1,500 inhabitants. The official Soviet name of this city was the same as the weapons complex itself: Aralsk-7. It contained simple infrastructure that consisted of a social club, a stadium, a couple of schools and shops. After the Soviet Union dissolved, the idea of mass destruction lost its relevance; Aralsk-7 was closed in November 1991. All people who lived on Vozrozhdeniaya Island were evacuated within several weeks; civil and military infrastructure were abandoned and Kantubek became a ghost town. Many of the containers holding biological agents were not properly stored or destroyed, and over the last decade many of these containers have developed leaks.