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    Chelyabinsk Region

The Chelyabinsk Region is situated at the slopes of the South Urals and in the Trans-Urals. The administrative centre is Chelyabinsk, which is 1919 km away from Moscow. The region borders on the Orenburg Region in the south, the Bashkortostan Republic in the west and north-west, the Sverdlovsk Region in the north, the Kurgan Region in the north-east and Kazakhstan in the east and south-east. The region is a part of the Ural Federal District.

The population of the Chelyabinsk Region is about 3 million and 508 thousand people, with 81 per cent of them living in the urban area. Russians make about 82 percent of the population, followed by the Tatars (5.7 per cent), the Bashkir (4.6 per cent) and other nationalities.

The major cities of the region are Chelyabinsk (1092,5 thousand people), Magnitogorsk, Zlatoust, Miass, Kopeisk, Ozersk, and Troitsk.

Economically the Chelyabinsk Region is one of the biggest bodies of the RF and among the most industrially and agriculturally developed regions of Russia with comparatively high standard of living. By volume of industrial production it is second to the Sverdlovsk Region only. The area is rich in various nature resources, first of all deposits of coal, iron ore, and non-ferrous metal ores. Ferrous metallurgy stands out in the industry structure of the region and provides about half of the production output. It is followed by mechanical engineering.

The major drawbacks of the region are the low level of transport infrastructure development, deficiency of water resources and adverse ecological situation in some of the cities. Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, and Karabash are on the black list of the most polluted Russian cities of the region. Some part of the territory suffered radioactive contamination caused by an accident at the nuclear wastage reprocessing enterprise Mayak back in the 1950s.

Nature. The major rivers are the Ural (its upper reaches) and the Miass. The region has numerous freshwater and salt lakes (the biggest of them are Uvildy, Irtyash, Turgoyak, Bolshie Kasli, Chebarkul) and several reservoir storages. The climate there is continental, with average January temperature of minus 16 to 18 centigrade and average July temperature of plus 17 to 20 centigrade. As for vegetation, the western part of the land is mixed forest, and the eastern part is wooded steppe and steppe. However, woods nowadays take only about 20 per cent of the total area. In spite of that, the Chelyabinsk Regions boasts several national park reserves, namely Ilmensky, Zuratkul and Taganai. Ilmensky nature reserve, the most famous of them, is located in the eastern foothills of the South Ural (Ilmenski Hills), nearby Miass. The nature reserve was founded in 1920 as mineralogical one, having about 200 types of minerals, and transformed into a complex national park in the 1930s.

Archeological discoveries. Arkaim. From times immemorial the South Ural attracted people. Numerous Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements discovered there by archeologists give evidences to the fact. Paleolithic picture gallery in the Ignatievskaya Cage (there are less than ten similar sights in entire Eurasia) and other traces of primeval art were found in the region. A world sensation of the 20th century was the discovery of the so-called Land of Towns - around 20 monuments of proto-urban civilization, which are remnants of one of the oldest civilization on the planet (17th -16th cc BC). One of such towns, Arkaim contemporary of the Egyptian Pyramids - has now become a popular reserve museum.

History. In the Middle Ages the South Ural was a frontier of the Gold, Blue and White Hordes and the Kazan, Siberian and Nogay Khanates, and later of Bashkir and Kazakh tribes.

The administrative formation of the region started in the 18th century and was prompted by the policy of Peter the First in developing production powers of Russia and expansion of its borders. It found reflection in the Orenburg Expedition that founded a range of fortresses for military and trading purposes. In 1737 Iset Province was established there, with Chelyabinsk as its centre. In the late 18th century active formation of the mining zone of the South Ural started. Mining factories later developed into towns, such as Kasli (1747), Zlatoust (1754), Kyshtym (1757), Miass (1773), etc.

The mid 19th century saw active exploration of the steppe lands of the South Ural by Orenburg Cossacks to establish a new line of fortresses. The settlements founded there were named after places of victorious battles of the Russian troops: Paris, Borodino, Varna, Fershampenuas, and others. In 1919 the Chelyabinsk Province was formed.

Tags: Russian tourism Russian regions Chelyabinsk Region Russian history  


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