Salekhard, city (1989 pop. 32,300), capital of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area, NW Siberian Russia, on the lower Ob River. It is a river port and has fish canneries, lumber mills, and shipyards. The population is mainly Russian. Founded as Obdorsk in 1595, the city was renamed in 1930. It is also spelled Salegard.

Salekhard (Салеха́рд; Nenets: Саля'харад, lit. house on a peninsula) is a town and the administrative center of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia. It is believed to be the only town in the world that is located right on the Polar circle. Population: 36,827 (2002 Census); 32,334 (1989 Census). It is served by Salekhard Airport.


A settlement of Obdorsk (Обдорск) was founded in 1595 in the place of a Khanty settlement Polnovat-Vozh (Полноват-вож) by Russian settlers who followed the conquering of Siberia by Yermak Timofeyevich. It was situated by the Ob River, and its name supposedly derives from that.

The land around Obdorsk was referred to as Obdorsky krai, or Obdoriya in the full address of Russian tsars.

On December 10, 1930, it became the administrative center of the new Yamal (Nenets) National Okrug (Ямальский (Ненецкий) национальный округ).

It was renamed Salekhard in 1933 and granted a town status in 1938.

Salekhard is the northeast terminus of the west Russian railway system. From 1949 to 1953 the Salekhard-Igarka Railway project made an unsuccessful attempt to extend it to Igarka, claiming the lives of thousands of Gulag prisoners.


Yamalia is Russia's most important source of natural gas. The company Novatek, the country's second largest supplier of gas, is headquartered in the city.

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