Barnaul is a city in Russia, an administrative center of Altai krai located in the south of Western Siberia at the place where the Barnaulka River flows into the Ob.
It is a big industrial, cultural and educational center of Siberia: nine state institutions of higher education, five theaters, museums, architectural monuments of the 18th-20th centuries.
Barnaul population is about 635,500 (2015), land area - 322 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 3852; the postal codes are 656000-656099.
According to archaeological research, the first settlements on the territory of present Barnaul existed in the Stone Age. 63 archaeological monuments are preserved till nowadays.
These are the sites of ancient settlements and burial mounds located mostly on the left bank of the Ob - in Nagorny part of Barnaul, in settlements Mohnatushka, Kazyonnaya Zaimka, Gonba and Nauchny Gorodok. During the Horde epoch, before the Russians migrated to Siberia, there was an ancient town-fortress Abaksha.
The official foundation date of Barnaul is 1730, when Akinfiy Demidov, the owner of mines, brought 200 peasants to Altai to build metallurgical works. But the documents found prove only 1739, when Demidov began the construction of copper- and silver-melting works which promoted the settlement growing around them.
In 1749, the mountainous district office was transferred from Kolyvan to Barnaul plant. In 1766, the inventor Ivan Polzunov built the first steam machine on the bank of the river Barnaulka, and, in 1771, Barnaul received the status of a “mining town.” Due to this status, it kept growing in spite of being so far from the capital of Russia.
By 1835, over 9,000 people lived in Barnaul which was built after the architectural model of Saint-Petersburg. In 1764, a technical library was opened, in 1786 - a theater, and, in 1827 - the first printing house.
The abolition of serfdom and exhaustion of natural resources entailed the end of Barnaul plant in 1883. The town became a large trade center, some other industries came into being: leather-dressing, candle-making, beer brewing, fur-coat making, timber and others.
May 2, 1917, a large fire broke out in Barnaul, 40 blocks burned down, a lot of wooden buildings were completely destroyed.
The revolutionary events of 1917 prevented the restoration of the historical center of Barnaul: from December 7, 1917, till December 11, 1919, the power in the city changed several times, it was taken either by the Bolsheviks or by the White Army.
In 1920s-1940s, Barnaul development was determined by industrialization and collectivization. People from small villages moved to the city.
In 1937, Altai krai was formed and Barnaul became its administrative center. During the Second World War, the city hosted about 100 industrial plants from Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa, Kharkov and other occupied cities.
These plants became the industrial basis of the city. According to some data, about 50% of all cartridges used by the Red Army during the war were produced at the local machine-tool constructing plant. The postwar period was a boom of city construction, the territory of Barnaul doubled.
In the 1990s, because of the collapse of the USSR, the largest industrial plants of the city were at the edge of bankruptcy.
Barnaul being preferably an industrial center turned to other branches of economy such as: trade, services, construction and food industries.
Old wooden house in Barnaul
Originally Barnaul was constructed after Saint-Petersburg model which greatly determined the outlook of the central part of the city.
It is located in the forest-steppe part of West-Siberian lowland, in the north-eastern part of Priobsky plateau. The distance to Moscow is 3419 km. The nearest large city is Novosibirsk (239 km).
Frosty, moderate severe winters with little snow and warm summers are typical for the local climate. The coldest month is January (the average temperature is -17,5 degrees Celsius), the warmest - July (+19,8 degrees C).
Barnaul - a large transportation hub
The city stands on the branch of the federal highway M52 “Chuysky trakt” (Novosibirsk - Mongolia), the highway A349 (Barnaul - Rubtsovsk - Kazakhstan) starts here.
Barnaul is connected by bus with all 60 districts of Altai krai, as well as with neighboring regions: the Republic of Altai, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk regions. Regular buses run to Kazakhstan (Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk, Ust-Kamenogorsk and Almaty).
Two branches of West-Siberian railway cross the city: South-Siberian and Tukestan-Siberian railways.
Barnaul international airport is located 17 km to the west of the city.
There is a river port on the Ob River.
Barnaul places of interest
There are over 20 monuments of architecture and history of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries built in the style of classicism: a unique silver-melting plant, Demidov Square - an example of administrative squares, Petropavlovskaya line. One of the remaining churches is Pokrovsky Cathedral.
In 1930s, the buildings were mostly of constructionism style. The buildings of 1930s-1950s on Lenin Avenue - the main street of the city - are also rather interesting. Lenin Avenue is one of the most favorite places among locals, its boulevard part stretches from Leo Tolstoy Street till October Square.
In Nagorny Park, there are restored graves of famous people and historical personalities of Altai region and Barnaul.
7-meters high white letters “BARNAUL” are installed there, they can easily be seen by people coming to the city by Noviy (New) bridge. Many people say that these letters resemble the sign “HOLLYWOOD” on Hollywood hills.
In 2010, Barnaul zoo was opened (Enthusiasts Street, 10a), which had begun its existence as a small zoo in the city park “Lesnaya Skazka” (“Forest Fairy Tale”).
Barnaul modern architecture
Barnaul architectural monument
Altai State History Museum (Polzunov Street, 46) is the oldest museum in Siberia opened in 1823.
In 2012, next to the museum, in the building which is an architectural monument of federal importance, the museum “Mountain pharmacy” was opened.
- The National Museum of the History of Literature, Art and Culture of Altai (Tolstoy Street, 2),
- The State Art Museum of Altai Krai (Gorky Street, 16).
Local museums have exhibitions dedicated V.M.Shukshin, mining business in Altai, wildlife of Siberia and others.
Barnaul has a large number of theaters. The largest of them are:
- Altai Regional State Theater of Musical Comedy (Komsomolsky Avenue, 108),
- Altai Regional Drama Theater named after V.M.Shukshin (Molodezhnaya Street, 15),
- Altai State Youth Theater (Kalinin Street, 2),
- Altai State Puppet Theater “Fairy Tale” (Titov Street, 50a).
The State Philharmonic of the Altai Krai (Polzunov Street, 35) has the only organ in the region.
Barnauk movie theaters
The city has a network of modern movie theaters operating in the walls of the Soviet era movie theaters after reconstruction:
- The concert and entertainment complex “Mir” (Pobeda Square, 1),
- miniplex “Rodina” (Lenin Avenue, 19),
- multiplex “Europe-Kinomir” in the shopping center “Europe” (Pavlovsky Tract, 251v),
- multiplex “Ogni-Kinomir” in the shopping center “Ogni” (Anton Petrov Street, 219b).
In 2015, a large movie theater with 8 screens was opened in the shopping center “Arena” (Pavlovsky Tract, 188). “Arena Kinomir” has the only in the province IMAX screen.