What do the foreigners think of Russian Siberia? What images come to the mind of other countries’ nationals when they are asked about Siberia? It is first of all associated with the great scope and scale as Siberia occupies 77% of Russia's territory.
The next stereotype is extreme cold and generally inhospitable climate ( but in fact climate of Siberia varies dramatically).
Some admit Siberian nature is incredibly beautiful. Which is true indeed. No other land in Russia can boast powerful rivers, magnificent mountain ridges, depthless crystal pure lakes, vast woodlands, boundless taiga plains and silent arctic deserts.
Many think Siberia is much different from Russia. It is, as this land occupies almost all of Northern Asia and is settled by Russians, Buryats, Tuvinians, Khakases, Altaians, Tatars, Evenki, Dolgans, Nenets, Yakut, Nganasans, Enets, Khanty and Selkup, Shors, Teleuts. Each of those nations has unique culture that contributes to the bright ethnic composition of the Siberian region.
Siberian natural recourses are another icon of this land. Siberia houses some of the world's largest deposits of nickel, gold, lead, coal, molybdenum, gypsum, diamonds, diopside, silver and zinc, as well as extensive unexploited resources of oil and natural gas. Almost everyone has heard about the Khanty-Mansiysk oil fields, Norilsk nickel and palladium mines.
Due to its remoteness, Siberia played an important role during WWII. After industries had been evacuated there, Siberia along with Central Asian and Ural regions became the a base for the home-front industries and a main arsenal for the Red army.
For many Siberia is often a synonym to exile. In the 19th century, around 1.2 million prisoners had been sent to Siberia. In the times of the Soviet Union, the earlier katorga system of penal labor camps was replaced by the new one, administered by the GULAG state agency. Major industrial cities of the Northern Siberia, such as Norilsk and Magadan, were originally camps built by prisoners and run by ex-prisoners.
Siberia is known for its scientific potential. British and American scientist cooperate with Novosibirsk Akademgorodok - educational and scientific centre of Siberia.
People view Siberia as an under populated area - 28% (40 million people) of Russia's population live there. Siberian District of Russia, however, historically includes Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Buryat Republic, Zabaykalsky Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Kemerovo Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Tomsk Oblast, Tuva Republic, Republic of Khakassia. Some of industrially, scientifically and historically important Russian cities are located here: Novosibirsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Omsk, Barnaul and others.
Novosibirsk has a population of 1,473,737 which makes it the third most populous city in Russia after Moscow and Saint Petersburg and the biggest city east of the Urals.
Its foundation in the 19th century was connected with the construction of Trans-Siberian Railway. Nowadays Novosibirsk is a major transportation junction.
During Stalin's industrialization push, Novosibirsk secured its place as one of the largest industrial centers of Siberia. The city retained its industrial potential and in 2008 Novosibirsk took third place in the list of the cities of Russia most attractive to business. It is a headquarters' of a number of large Russian companies.
The city’s remote location and economy made Novosibirsk an ideal site of the multi-facility scientific research complex of Akademgorodok built in 1950th. It still carries a world-wide reputation within the scientific community. Construction of Technopark in Novosibirsk Academgorodok, dedicated to developing IT technologies, started in 2010 and is in full scale. Within Akademgorodok is Novosibirsk State University, one of the most famous and highly rated universities in Russia.
Major cultural center of Siberia, Novosibirsk is a home for the largest theatre in Russia - Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre and hosts the annual Mayovka music festival.
Omsk is Russia's second-largest city east of the Ural Mountains, and seventh by size nationally. Founded as a fortress in 1716 to guard the southern Russian borders, the city was referred to as the Gates of Siberia later when Trans-Siberian Railway was built.
Compared to ancient Russian cities Omsk is young but famous for its centuries-old military tradition. Siberia's first Cadet Corps was founded in 1826 to prepare officers to protect the territory. A series of honorable people of Russia like G. Potanin, G. Katanaev, Tch. Valikhanov, V. Kuybyshev, L. Kornilov, D. Karbyshev graduated from this oldest military school.
The city served as the capital of anti-Communist White Russian leader, Admiral Kolchak, in the civil war from 1918 to 1919 and was titled the capital of Russia.
Omsk became a leader in Soviet military production during WWII as it hosted about 100 industrial enterprises that were evacuated from the European part of the USSR. The city stayed closed to foreigners until 1990. Omsk remains the important industrial center, whose oils refinery is one of the world’s largest oil processing facilities.
The city is a unique combination of an industrial, agricultural, cultural and scientific center. It is particularly famous for the exile history of the tsarist regime, which was described by Fyodor Dostoevsky in his books “Buried Alive:, or ten years of penal servitude in Siberia” and “The House of the Dead”. Another famous, name associated with the city is Mikhail Vrubel who was born in Omsk.
Omsk boasts its rich cultural traditions, theatrical life, beautiful architecture – marvelous old cathedrals, monasteries and 19th century Siberian Baroque buildings neighbor newly erected sculptures, numerous bridges and modern sky-scrapers. Omsk is a home to several universities. It has a busy nightlife and plenty of entertainment options which makes it an attractive tourist destination.
During his journey through Siberia Anton Chekhov called Krasnoyarsk the most beautiful city in Siberia. Stretching on the 4 000 km from the North to the South along the banks of the Yenisei Krasnoyarsk is indeed a beauty and pride of Siberia. Not only unique landscapes, mountain views, majestic Siberian forest and well-known Stolby Nature Reserve, which is the main sight of the city, make it attractive.
Despite severe local winters several years in succession, Krasnoyarsk has been recognized as one of the most ‘comfortable’ cities in Russia. It is a major transport junction, is a prominent scientific and educational center of Siberia, with over 30 higher education facilities.
It has rich cultural traditions, is proud for its sports achievements and an excellent base for preparing the athletes
The city has an actively developing business infrastructure, takes the leading position in Siberia by volume of per capita industrial production, constantly increasing the standards of urban environment.
One of the icons of the city is Krasnoyarsk Dam, completed in 1972. Krasnoyarsk is also famous for its bridges: Railway Bridge over the Yenisei, most technically significant construction in the city is a World Heritage Site, Communal Bridge is one of the city symbols. Other Krasnoyarsk attractions include St. Paraskeba Chapel, Karaulnaya Gora hill, Krasnoyarsk carnival held on the city day.
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