Where is the capital of Siberia; which city is recognized as the best for living; and where are the oldest wooden houses preserved?
1. Novosibirsk (1.6 mln)
Novosibirsk is Russia's third largest city after Moscow and St. Petersburg. It's called "Siberia's Capital" because many leading corporations are based in the city. Moreover, Novosibirsk also has its "Silicon Valley", called Akademgorodok. Local scientists work in a wide variety of fields, from studying the properties of metals to the domestication of foxes.
2. Omsk (1.12 mln)
Locals joke (or not) that no one has ever been able to leave Omsk. How can you leave it when it has the SHORTEST subway line in the world - with only one station? In fact, residents have already turned it into a meme.
Well, seriously, Omsk is one of the largest cities in Russia in terms of population, and back in the Soviet era it was called the "city of science" and "the city of youth". Today, Omsk is still home to the largest institutes and petrochemical plants in Siberia.
3. Krasnoyarsk (1.1 mln)
Founded in 1628 during a gold rush, today it's Russia's easternmost 'million-person' city. The population is growing steadily year by year and the city is home to metal factories, mechanical engineering, and space industry plants.
Krasnoyarsk is also incredibly picturesque! It has the best views of the great Yenisei River, promenades along the Eastern Sayan Mountains, which start right in the city and an island park with a northern beach. Here's a guide from the locals.
4. Tyumen (847,488)
Founded in 1586, Tyumen is the first Russian city founded in Siberia. In recent years, Tyumen ranks consistently among the best Russian cities for living (from 2015 to 2018 it was in first place!). This is not surprising: there are many jobs in the oil and gas sector (the Tyumen Region is Russia's leader in gas and oil production). Also, there are leading scientific and educational institutions with many foreign students, and tourism and recreation at local hot springs are also well developed.
If you find yourself in Tyumen, don't miss the opportunity to visit the neighboring city of Tobolsk, which was the capital of Siberia until the 19th century.
5. Barnaul (630,877)
Barnaul is the capital of the Altai Territory, which is known for its majestic mountains. The city was founded in the 1730s for the workers of a local silver smelting plant and gradually it began to grow. The factory was closed in 1893, but other industries were already flourishing there, from brick factories to brewing. Today, the city is more than an industrial center in Siberia; it also promotes tourism and serves as the starting point for trips to the Altai region.
6. Irkutsk (617,515)
Andrey Sharonov/Getty Images
Founded in 1661, this city also counts among Siberia's oldest cities and it's located near the world's deepest lake, Baikal. The historic center of Irkutsk is also a great place to visit, for example, full of impressive stone houses that were originally built by wealthy merchants. Outside the city is the Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, which looks like a real Siberian fortress (more here).
7. Tomsk (568,508)
Founded in 1604, Tomsk has long been a major hub for transit and trade in Siberia. It beckoned merchants, architects, scientists and doctors to come here. The city is well preserved with old wooden estates (more about its architectural legacy here). Today, the main industries in Tomsk are oil refining and mechanical engineering.
8. Kemerovo (552,546)
Kemerovo is the capital of Russia's mining sector, the center of the coal industry and chemical production. Many of the city sights are associated with the miners' difficult work: these are monuments, and the names of districts, and museums.
9. Novokuznetsk (544,583)
Located in the Kemerovo Region, Novokuznetsk is also Russia's leading coal mining and metallurgical city. In the 1930s, when the Soviet Union set out to industrialize the country, Novokuznetsk became one of the country's first experimental socialist cities - an "ideal" city for workers (read more about such cities here).
10. Ulan-Ude (437,565)
Ulan-Ude is the capital of Buryatia, the Buddhist region of Russia. Interestingly enough, tourists are attracted to Ulan-Ude not only by its traditional culture, but also by the way it neighbors harmoniously with the city's Soviet heritage. Did you know that the city has a huge monument in the shape of Lenin's head?
Here is what a traveler from Great Britain has to say about it.
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