Altai region overview
Altai krai (region) (also spelled Altay, Altaisky) is a part of Siberian federal district of the Russian Federation. The city of Barnaul is its administrative center.
In the south and west the region borders on Eastern Kazakhstan and Pavlodar regions (provinces) of Kazakhstan. Altai krai is located in the south-east of Western Siberia.
Altai region has the population of about 2,399,000 (2012) on the territory of 167,996 sq. km.
Altai region territory features
The territory of Altai region stretches 600 km from west to east and 400 km from north to south. The territory refers to 2 regions - West-Siberian lowland and Altai-Sayany.
The mountainous part borders with lowland in eastern and southern parts - Salairsky mountain-ridge and Altai foothills. Western and central parts are mostly lowlands - Priobskoye plato, Biysko-Chumyshskaya hill and Kulundinskaya steppe. All nature zones are presented - steppe and forest-steppe, taiga and mountains.
The climate of the region is of moderate type, close to continental, it is formed as a result of often air changes coming from Atlantic, Arctic Sea, Eastern Siberia and Middle Asia. The absolute amplitude of air temperature within a year reaches 90-95 degrees Celsius.
The water resources of the region are presented by surface and underground waters. The largest rivers among 17,000 are the Ob, Biya, Katun, Chumysh, Aley and Charysh. Among 13,000 lakes the largest is the Kulundinskoye Lake (728 sq. km.). The main river Ob flows 493 km only within the territory of the region, it is formed by 2 rivers - Biya and Katun - flowing together. The Ob basin takes 70% of the krai territory.
The mineral deposits of Alati krai are presented by complex ores, salt, soda, coal, nickel, cobalt, iron and precious metals. Altai is famous for its unique deposits of jasper, purple, marble, granite, mineral waters, natural curing mud and ochre.
Altai region nature
Altai region nature scenery
Altai region history
The upper Ob and Altai foothills were inhabited by Russians starting with the second half of the 17th century. The Altai development started after 2 fortresses were built for the sake of protecting from aggressive nomads - Beloyarskaya (1717) and Bikatunskaya (1718) fortresses.
Reconnaissance groups were sent to Altai for ore prospecting. Mining industry being the main one in the district was in crisis in 1861. Eventually agriculture became the basis of Altai economy.
Various crops (wheat, oats, rye) were grown as well as potatoes, bee-keeping began developing. In the early 20th century dairy-farms and butte-dairies were leading ones. The Altai butter was exported to the countries of Western Europe.
At the end of the 19th century, a part of Siberian railway went through the north of the district, by 1915, the Altai railway was constructed connecting Novonikolayevsk, Barnaul and Semipalatinsk. Stolypin reform on land promoted migration to Altai and hence the economic growth of the region started.
The events of 1917-1919 ended in Soviet power establishing in Altai. In July, 1917, the Altai gubernia was founded with the center in Barnaul and it lasted till 1925. From 1925 till 1930, Altai was a part of Siberian krai, from 1930 till 1937 - of West Siberian krai (the center was Barnaul).
The World War II urged to restructuring all the economy. Altai accepted over 100 evacuated plants from western regions of the country including 24 plants of All-Union importance. After the collapse of the USSR the economy of the region was in long crisis caused by absence of state ordering in industry and non-profitable agriculture.
Till 1991, the region included Gorno (mountainous) Altai autonomous oblast which at present is the Republic of Altay of the Russian Federation.
Altai region views
Altai region economics
The main industry of Altai region is machine-building producing tractors and plows, steam-boilers, cargo carriages, diesels, tires, presses, mining equipment, automobile and tractor generators. A big part of industry is of military character and food industry - crops working, meat- and milk-producing, alcohol and beverage producing.
The region is historically a producer of crops, milk, meat as well as beats, sun-flower, hop, rape and soy. Vegetable growing is of local importance for inner use.
The railway network is developed in Altai. The longest line of the krai is Novosibirsk - Barnaul - Semipalatinsk, which takes transit cargoes from western part of Russia to Middle Asia.
Federal highways M-52 and A-349 cross Altai krai as well as the road P 380. The airport in Barnaul has connection with 30 cities of other regions of Russia and foreign countries.
Main waterways of the region are rivers Ob, Biya, Katun, Chumysha, Charysh. The main cargo is crops, construction supplements, timber and coal. There are specialized landing-stages and river ports on the rivers.