Cherepovets (Черепове́ц) is the largest city in Vologda Oblast, Russia, located on the bank of the Rybinsk Reservoir of the Volga River. Population: 311,869 (2002 Census); 310,463 (1989 Census). It is served by Cherepovets Airport.
Strategically located in the cross-roads of major Volga-Baltic waterway, West-East railroads, and gas pipelines, and between two Russian federal cities—Moscow and St. Petersburg, Cherepovets is considered the ideal place for the natural resource-consuming industries. The city is home to Severstal, one of the largest iron-and-steel plants in Russia, as well as some other large factories.
Among the local historians there have been a lot of debates upon the origin of the word "Cherepovets". According to one of the versions the town supposedly received its name from the word "skull" ("cherep" in Russian). In antiquity there was a pagan sanctuary in honor of God Veles on the hill at the confluence of the Sheksna and the Yagorba. The top of the hill was called "skull". Another version suggests that the word "Cherepovets" originates from the name of the tribe "ves" (весь), who inhabited the Sheksna banks. According to some legends, "Cherepovets", in the language of local indigenous Veps, means "Veps' fish hill".
The foundation of Cherepovets is traditionally ascribed to the monks Feodosiy and Afanasiy. In 1362 they founded the Resurrecton Cathedral, near which a small village Fedosyevo appeared. The historians consider the former village of Fedosyevo to be the heart of modern Cherepovets. It has developed throughout the centuries into the important regional center of trade, manufacture and transportation. It was given the official town status in 1777 by the order of Empress Catherine the Great. In 1811 Cherepovets was granted a coat of arms.
The construction of the Mariinskaya system was one of the most significant events in the city life. The Mariinskaya system connected Cherepovets with the Volga and the Baltic Sea. But in spite of that fact the city developed very slowly. In 1863 the population of the city was only 3,300 people (as compared with more than 300,000 people nowadays). In the 19th century the city brickworks with only seven workers was the sole industrial enterprise in Cherepovets.
Nowadays complex production processes of iron and steel making are highly mechanized and automatically operated. The works' shops have been modernized according to the latest achievements of engineering and technology of metal production. The joint stock company Severstal is one of the global exporters of ferrous and non-ferrous metals: iron, steel, hot-rolled plates, cold roll-formed shapes and other products.
The passing years have left their mark on the city's appearance. Large scale housing and industrial construction has been carried out in the city. Over the past years hundreds of new multi-storey blocks of flats as well as detached and semi-detached houses have been built in Cherepovets. Cherepovets is not only an industrial city; it is also a centre of culture, education and sport. Professional associations of local writers, poets, actors, painters, composers, journalists function there. The displays of the Cherepovets museum of local history and arts can is rather popular with the citizens. Over the past few years some up-to-date cinema-houses have appeared in the city; the "Kinomir" and the "Royal-Vio" are among them. The cinema halls are perfectly designed and fitted out with the newest hi-fi video and stereo equipment. Cherepovets has a lot of educational infrastructures: a state university (the Cherepovets State University), a lot of branches of Moscow and St. Petersburg high schools, technical and vocational schools and etc. The Cherepovets State University is the most prominent among the other educational institutions in the city. The University graduates a lot of specialists for the city enterprises: engineers, economists, managers, interpreters, spin doctors and many others.
Cherepovets is famous for its sport achievements. The joint stock company "Severstal" regularly holds competitions in the twelve sports. The Cherepovets sportsmen annually take part in the International and All-Russian competitions. The hockey club "Severstal" has steady connections with the NHL and is one of the leading hockey clubs in Russia. The basketball team "Sheksna" as well as the chess players' team is included into the Russia Major League. Severstal Cherepovets is an ice hockey team based in Cherepovets, playing in the Russian Hockey Super League.