Belgorod region overview
Belgorod oblast (region) (also spelled Belgorodskaya) is a federal subject of the Russian Federation, part of Central Federal District. The region is located about 500-700 km south of Moscow on the border with Ukraine. The administrative center of the region is Belgorod.
Belgorod region population is about 1,541,000 (2012) on the territory of 27,134 sq. km.
Belgorod region history
From the 8th century, the territory of current Belgorod region was a part of Khazar khaganate. After Kievan Prince Svyatoslav Igorevich attacked Khazar khaganate in 965 the Slavic tribe union of northern people residing also in upper river Seversky Donets became a part of ancient Russian state.
From the 12th century, the territory was a part of Chernigov principality. Tatar-Mongol invasion entailed desolation of the region. In the 15th century, Chernigov-Severskaya land including lands along the Donets and Oskol rivers was won back from Golden Horde by Great Lithuanian Principality. In 1500, Vassily Ivanovich Shemyachich who owned these lands came to serve Moscow Great Prince Ivan III Vassilyevich.
Since that time Donets-Oskol forest-steppe (the territory of present Belgorod region) played a great role in defending the country from Crimean Tatars as main steppe roads of Tatars met here.
In 1571, All-Russian guard service began its activities in Donets-Oskol forest-steppe to fight attacks from Crimea. At that very time there was the first attempt to mark the boundaries of the Russian state with Crimean khanate and this was the start of Russian frontier guard and frontier troops. At the end of the 16th century, the first three fortresses were built here: Belgorod, Stary Oskol and Valuyki.
In 1650, the fortress Belgorod was transferred to the right bank of the river Severny Donets where the center of the city is located now. On this territory processing industry developed in the 19th century as well as production of building materials for local needs.
In 1708-1727, the territories of the region were parts of Kiev and Azov guberniyas (regions). Belgorod guberniya was formed in 1727 and was a separate administrative district until 1779.
During the World War I, Polish 20,000 infantry regiment stayed in Belgorod. After Brest peace treaty was signed by April 1918, the German troops occupied several districts of the region.
Till January 1919, these lands were a part of Ukrainian state of hetman P.P.Skoropadsky. In the southern part of the region the Red Army fought the troops of Armed Forces of Russian South in 1919.
The territory of present Belgorod region became a part of newly formed Central-Chernozyomnaya oblast (on May 14, 1928), on June 13, 1934, it was divided into Voronezh and Kursk regions. In 30s and 40s of the 20th century, the iron-ore deposits of Kursk magnetic anomaly were started to commercially developed.
During the World War II, the region was occupied by German troops (1941-1943) and it was set free during Kursk battle in 1943. The area of Belgorod region settlement Prokhorovka became the place of the largest tank battle ever happened during Kursk battle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union armies.
On January 6, 1954, Belgorod oblast was formed. 23 districts of Kursk and 8 districts of Voronezh regions became parts of the new region.
Belgorod region nature
Belgorod region nature view
Belgorod region landscape
Belgorod region features
Belgorod region has about 40% of known Russian deposits of iron ores. There are also deposits of bauxites, apatites, mineral waters. The region has highly developed industry and agriculture. Its economy is based on immensely rich soils and natural deposits.
The climate of the region is of continental type with mild enough winter with snowfalls and thaws and long summers.
The largest cities and towns are Belgorod (374,000), Stary Oskol (260,000), Gubkin (86,000), Shebekino (46,000), Alekseevka (39,000). Belgorod region is an important transport junction of the region including federal highway M-2 “Crimea”, railway line “Moscow-Kharkov-Sevastopol”.
The region traditionally has strong ties with economy and agriculture of neighboring Ukraine. In spite of its small size it makes about 5% of current goods turnover of the Russian Federation and Ukraine.