Located on the banks of the Rivers Ob and Kamenka, Novosibirsk is the third largest city in Russia and the chief city of Western Siberia.
Novosibirsk was founded in 1893 during the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and quickly grew to be an important transit point for settlers moving further into Siberia.
It was named Novonikolayevsky to mark the accession of Tsar Nicholas II in 1895. Owing to the proximity of coalfields, industry developed quickly and the population grew from 7,800 in 1897 to 400,000 in 1937. In 1917 the Soviets seized power and during the subsequent civil war White Guards captured the city. A series of struggles over the territory led to a decline in the population as war and epidemics took their toll.
The city made some recovery with the start of Lenin’s new economic policy in 1921. After the Bolsheviks formed the vast Siberian Region in 1925 it became an administrative centre and its name was changed to Novosibirsk, meaning New Siberia. During Stalin’s push for industrialization Novosibirsk expanded to become an industrial centre.
Local industry burgeoned during the 5-year plans of the 1930s, and in World War II industrial plants from the European part of Russia were re-located there. In 1943 the Academy of Sciences opened its Siberian branch in Novosibirsk and in 1957 construction of the satellite town of Academgorodok incorporated 14 research institutes and a university. Building began on Novosibirsk’s underground railway in 1979, with the first line opening in 1985.
Novosibirsk is one of Russia’s largest machine-building centres, with metallurgy, chemical and food processing among its most important industries. The city is an important rail hub. There are two airports providing services throughout Russia. Public transport within the city includes buses, trolleybuses and trams.
There is the Novosibirsk State University and several specialized institutes of higher education.
Places of Interest
The main thoroughfare is Krasny (Red) Prospect, a shopping street crossing the city from the Kamenka river to the airport. Novosibirsk has the largest railway station on the Trans-Siberian network. It also has one of Siberia’s largest galleries, a zoo and a museum of regional studies. There is an active arts scene, with an opera house and several theatres.