The climate is relatively dry. Average rainfall in the area is 538 mm (21 in) per year, 75% of which occurs during the region's warmer season.
Barnaul was one of the earlier cities established in Siberia. Originally chosen for its proximity to the mineral-rich Altai Mountains and its location on a major river, the site was founded by the wealthy Demidov family in the 1730s. In addition to the copper which had originally attracted the Demidovs, substantial deposits of silver were soon found as well. In 1747, the Demidovs' factories were taken over by the Crown, and soon became the major silver center of Russia.
By the 18th and early 19th centuries, 90% of Russian silver was produced in the Altai region. Barnaul was the site of the country's largest silver-smelting factory, and as production expanded, so did the population. In 1771, the once-small settlement acquired the status of a mining town that was one of the largest in Siberia.
By the 1900s, Barnaul had grown into a major center for trade and culture of the region, especially after the construction of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway.
Economically speaking, Barnaul benefited during the World War II period as a result of the relocation of major Soviet factories from the west of Russia and Ukraine to areas less likely to be overrun by enemy forces in Siberia.
As a legacy of this period, today Barnaul continues to be home to one of the largest ammunition factories in Russia.
Barnaul is an important industrial center in Western Siberia. There are more than 100 industrial enterprises in the city, employing approximately 120 thousand people. Leading industries in the city work with diesel and carbon processing; as well as production of heavy machinery, tires, furniture and footwear. It is also home to a newly established diamond faceting industry, which the city hopes will expand and become a major source of revenue in the future. Barnaul is currently one of the only locations in Russia which has an industry specializing in diamond-faceting.
The main business street of the city is Leninsky Prospect, which runs southwest from the Ob River through the center of the city. Thanks to the currently surging Russian economy, a number of new high-end shopping centers have appeared in recent years to meet demand for products desired by the city's nouveau riche. Another industry quickly changing the face of Barnaul's downtown area is the restaurant industry: while choices had been extremely limited until recently, a growing number of eating establishments catering to people of differing income levels are becoming available, coinciding with the upturn in the region's economy.
Barnaul airport is distant about an hour from the center of the city, which offers daily flights to and from Moscow and Saint Petersburg among other more local flights. Barnaul is approximately four hours by plane to Moscow, and slightly longer to Saint Petersburg. It also takes approximately four hours by plane to reach Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Russia.
Any part of the city can be reached using public transport, whether one decides to use the city's many buses, trolleys, or taxis.
The Renaissance Cosmetics cosmetics producer in Barnaul in eastern Russia's Altai region is seeking to establish a joint venture with an American partner in order to develop new cosmetics brands and produce high quality products based on modern technologies.(European News)(Brief Article)
Feb 13, 2004; THE RENAISSANCE Cosmetics cosmetics producer in Barnaul in eastern Russia's Altai region is seeking to establish a joint...