Krasnoyarsk (Красноя́рск) is the administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, and the third largest city in Siberia. Krasnoyarsk lies on the Yenisei River and is an important junction on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The city is served by Krasnoyarsk Yemelyanovo Airport. During the Cold War it was home to Krasnoyarsk Northeast air base, which has been turned into apartment blocks since then. Population: 909,341 (2002 census); 912,629 (1989 census).
The city was founded in July of 1628 as a Russian border fort. The group of service class people led by the Cossack Andrey Dubenskoy arrived to the confluence of the Kacha River with the Yenisei River and constructed fortifications intended to protect the frontier from attacks of native peoples who lived along Yenisei and its tributaries. In the letter to Tsar the Cossacks reported:
The fort had been named "Krasny Yar" (Кра́сный Яр) after the local Turkic name of the place it was built by: "Kyzyl Yar", meaning "Red Ore" or "Krasny Yar" in Old Russian. The name "Krasnoyarsk" was later given when the village of Krasnyy Yar had received town status.
An intensive growth of Krasnoyarsk began with the arrival of the Moscow Postroad (the road M53 nowadays) in 1735 to 1741 which connected the nearby towns of Achinsk and Kansk with Krasnoyarsk and with the rest of Russia. Growth continued with the discovery of gold and the arrival of a railroad in 1895.
In 1749, 145 miles south of Krasnojarsk, was found meteorite mass of about 700 kg. It was seen by Peter Simon Pallas in 1772 and transported to Krasnojarsk. The Krasnojarsk meteorite is important because was the first pallasite ever studied and the first meteorite ever etched.
In the 19th century Krasnoyarsk was the center of the Siberian Cossack movement. In 1822 it had gained the status of town and had become the capital of the Yenisei Guberniya. By the end of the 19th century Krasnoyarsk had several manufacturing facilities, railroad workshops and an engine-house.
In the Russian Empire, Krasnoyarsk was one of the places to which political exiles were banished. For example, eight Decembrists were deported from St. Petersburg to Krasnoyarsk after the failure of the revolt.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917 during the periods of centralized planning (pyatiletkas) numerous large plants and factories were constructed in Krasnoyarsk: Sibtyazhmash, the dock yard, the paper factory, the hydroelectric power station (now the fifth largest in the world and the second in Russia), and the river port.
During the epoch of Stalinism, Krasnoyarsk was a major center of the Gulag system. The most important labor camp was the Kraslag or Krasnoyarsky ITL (1938-c.1960) with the two units located in Kansk and Reshyoty. In the city of Krasnoyarsk itself, the Yeniseylag or Yeniseysky ITL labor camp was prominent as well during World War II (c.1940-41).
During World War II dozens of factories were evacuated from Ukraine and Western Russia to Krasnoyarsk and nearby towns, stimulating the industrial growth of the city. After the war additional large plants were constructed: the aluminum plant, the metallurgic plant, the plant of base metals and many others.
In the late 1970s, the Soviet Union began constructing a phased array radar station at Abalakova, near Krasnoyarsk, which allegedly violated the ABM Treaty. Beginning in 1983, the United States demanded its removal, until the Soviet Union admitted the radar station was a violation in 1989. Equipment was slowly removed from the site and by 1992 it was officially declared to be dismantled. The equipment from the site was likely relocated to a new site near Komsomolsk-na-Amure.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and beginning of the privatization many large plants and factories, such as the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant, many became owned by alleged criminal authorities and oligarchs while others were declared bankrupt. The economic transition resulted in a dramatic raise in unemployment and numerous strikes.
The best known financial scandal of the second half of 1990s happened when ownership of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant by a known Krasnoyarsk businessman Anatoliy Bykov had been cancelled after he was accused of murdering his partner, Vilor Struganov. The accusation eventually turned out to be false.
Since the election of Pyotr Pimashkov as the mayor of Krasnoyarsk in 1996, the city's appearance has slowly improved. Old historical buildings have been restored, asphalt walkways have been replaced with paving-stone, and numerous squares with fountains have been constructed. Now the majority of the city bears only a few traces of its pragmatic Soviet look.
The first version of the Krasnoyarsk coat of arms was approved on March 12, 1804. The coat of arms was divided horizontally into two parts, the upper part containing the coat of arms of the Tomsk Guberniya, and the lower part picturing the Krasny Yar cliff on a silver background.
A revised coat of arms, approved on November 23, 1851, had the golden figure of a lion placed on a red heraldic shield with a spade in the right fore paw and a sickle in the left fore paw, both made of the same metal. The shield was topped with the golden crown of the Russian Empire.
The current coat of arms (see above) approved on November 28, 2004 contains the same red shield with a slightly changed figure of the lion topped with the golden five-tower status crown of a federal subject center. In 2005, a tall pillar with a bronze statue of the Krasnoyarsk heraldic lion upon its top was erected at the Krasnoyarsk Railway Station square.
The total area of the city, including suburbs and the river, is . The average air temperature in January is ; in July, . The lowest temperature ever recorded was ; the highest, .
The Yenisei River flows from west to east through the city. Due to the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric dam upstream, the Yenisei never freezes in winter and never exceeds in summer through the city. Near the city center, its altitude is above sea level. There are several islands in the river, the largest of which are Tatyshev and Otdyha Isles, used mainly for recreation.
To the south and west, Krasnoyarsk is surrounded by forested hills averaging in height above river level. Further south are the gigantic rock cliffs of the Stolby Nature Reserve rising from the surrounding hills. The western hills form the Gremyachinskaya Griva crest, starting from the Nikolayevskaya Sopka hill (notable for its ski jumping tracks) and extending westwards up to the Sobakina River. The terrain north of town is rather plain, with forests to the northwest and agricultural fields to the north and east.
The major rivers located in the Krasnoyarsk area are:
Due to the specifics of the relief, few natural lakes exist in the Krasnoyarsk neighborhood.
The nearby towns are (with distances from Krasnoyarsk and directions):
Krasnoyarsk is divided into seven administrative districts:
Population count by districts (2002 census):
The population of Krasnoyarsk includes a number of peoples, the most numerous are Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Germans, and Belarusians. Lately the number of Tajiks, Uzbeks and other Central Asian and Caucasian peoples has grown extensively because of the vast, often illegal immigration in search for work.
Another populous immigrant group is the Chinese who, unlike other foreign workers, are employed in much more lucrative areas and often form business partnerships with local companies. Many Chinese trade at the bazaars, and there is even a special large Chinese bazaar named Sodruzhestvo (Russian for fellowship), and the Chinese Trading Town (known in Russian as Китайский торговый город) or colloquially Kitai-gorod situated at Strelka.
There are a number of historical buildings in Krasnoyarsk, the oldest of them is the Intercession Cathedral (Покровский собор, 1785 to 1795, restored in 1977 to 1978). Other locally significant samples of Russian Orthodox architecture are the Annunciation Cathedral (Благовещенский собор, 1802-12), the St. Trinity Cathedral (Свято-Троицкий собор, 1802-12), John the Baptist Church (Церковь Иоанна Предтечи, 1899, former episcopal residence), and the new Michael the Archangel Church (Церковь Архистратига Михаила, 1998 to 2003).
On the top of the Karaulnaya hill, originally a pagan shrine, later occupied by the Krasnoyarsk fort watchtower, the St. Paraskeba Chapel (Часовня Параскевы Пятницы, 1804, rebuilt in 1854 to 1855) still stands. The chapel, displayed on the 10-ruble note, is one of iconic images of the city. The chapel was abandoned and fell into disrepair during the Soviet era and only when the Perestroyka came it had been regained by the Yenisei bishopric.
Another unofficial symbol of Krasnoyarsk is the incomplete 24 storey tower located at Strelka. Construction of the tower had been started just before Perestroyka and then frozen due to the administrative crisis. The outline of the tower is clearly seen from many places in the city.
A bridge near Krasnoyarsk carries the Trans-Siberian Railway across the Yenisei. This structure, one of the longest at the time, was constructed between 1893 and 1896 to an award-winning design by Lavr Proskuryakov. When approved for the inscription on the World Heritage List in 2003, the bridge was described by the UNESCO as "an early representation of a typical parabolic polygonal truss bridge in Russia" which became "a testing ground for the application of engineering theories and the development of new innovative solutions, which had numerous successors" ().
Among other notable buildings are the mansions of the merchant Nikolay Gadalov (beginning of the 20th century), the Roman-Catholic Transfiguration Chapel (Преображенский собор, 1911, also known as the Krasnoyarsk Organ Hall), the Krasnoyarsk Krai Museum stylized as an Ancient Egyptian temple, the Krasnoyarsk Cultural/Historical Center and the triumphal arch at the Spit (2003), the Krasnoyarsk Mira 110 krai admin.jpg flanked with two towers known as the "Donkey Ears".
There are a number of 2-storey wooden houses in the city built mostly in the middle of the 20th century as temporary habitations. Many urbanized villages located inside the city keep the remnants of the traditional Russian village architecture: wooden houses with backyards, many somewhat dilapidated now but still inhabited.
Next to Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk is a very prominent scientific and educational center of Siberia, with over 30 higher education facilities, many of which are the branches of the Russian Academy of Science, and about 200 high schools. The most notable higher education institutes are:
Like Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk has a special city district called Akademgorodok (Academic Town in Russian) where several educational institutes are located. Krasnoyarsk's Institute of Biophysics is known for a 1973–1985 experiment on ecological isolation of human beings (the "Bios Experiment").
There are several museums in Krasnoyarsk. Krasnoyarsk zoo is a major attraction for residents and tourists.
An underground system (three lines) has been in planning and construction phases in Krasnoyarsk for decades. The first three stations have not been opened yet, but several construction sites around the city are visible. The system is expected to be finally opened in 2010-2012.
Krasnoyarsk lies on the Yenisei River and historically has been an important junction on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Krasnoyarsk is considered a stronghold of rugby union in Russia. Two Krasnoyarsk clubs, Krasny Yar and Enisei-STM, participate in the national Professional Rugby League. Matches are covered by local media, and the intra-city derby match between Krasny Yar and Enisei-STM can attract large crowds. Many players of the Russian national rugby team hail from the area.
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