Kurgan is a city in Russia, the capital of Kurgan oblast, standing on the Tobol River banks, 2044 km east of Moscow. It is an important economic, scientific and cultural center of the Urals, a major transport hub and industrial center.
Kurgan population is about 326,000 (2015), the land area - 393 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 3522; the postal codes - 640000-640032.
The exact date of foundation of Kurgan is unknown. The official date is 1679. At that time, it was known as Tsaryovo Gorodishche. In 1695, the settlement was moved eight kilometers downstream of the Tobol River and got a new name - Tsarekurganskaya (Tsarevo-Kurganskaya) sloboda (settlement).
At the beginning of the 18th century, it turned into a military fortress. In 1782, by decree of Empress Catherine II, the settlement became the town of Kurgan. In 1804-1898, Kurgan was the administrative center of the Kurgan county, the Tobolsk province. At the beginning of the 19th century, the town received the first school, hospital, and a fire station with a lookout tower.
Given the distance from the center of Russia, the town was used by the authorities as a place of exile. Over the years, thirteen Decembrists were exiled to Kurgan. William Kiichelbecker, Andrew Rosen, Michael Naryshkin were among them.
More Historical Facts…
Kurgan became the center of trade in agriculture and animal husbandry products (bread, meat, oil, leather). Industry was represented mainly by the enterprises for processing of agricultural raw materials.
In 1856, Kurgan had 3576 inhabitants, two stone churches, seven stone houses. At the end of the 19th century, a telegraph station, the first photographic institution, an insurance company, an orphanage, a dining room for the poor were opened in the town.
In 1894, the Trans-Siberian Railway passed through Kurgan linking it with the center of Russia. The town acquired economic importance and began to grow rapidly. In 1897, the town had 10,063 residents. In 1904, the population amounted to 19,912 people. In 1914, the first power station was commissioned. In 1917, the population of Kurgan was about 40 thousand people.
Kurgan continued to grow during the Second World War. The city received fifteen industrial enterprises evacuated from the western regions of the USSR, and about 20 thousand people. Kurgan oblast was formed in 1943, and Kurgan became its administrative center.
In 1947-1952, the current view of Kurgan city center was formed. In 1998, the current flag and coat of arms were adopted.
Kurgan received its name after monumental nomad burial places (“kurgans”). The city is located almost in the center of Eurasia, east of the Ural Mountains, in the southwest of the West Siberian Plain, in the basin of the middle reaches of the Tobol River (the Ob River basin), about 75 meters above sea level.
It has a favourable geographical location. Major transport ways from Central Russia to Siberia (the Trans-Siberian Railway and the federal highway “Baikal”) pass through Kurgan. The federal highway R258 “Baikal” connects the city with Chelyabinsk, Omsk, and Novosibirsk, the highway R327 - with Kostanay (Kazakhstan), and the highway R354 - with Ekaterinburg. Kurgan Airport offers flights to Moscow. The city has more than 30 hotels of different levels of service.
The climate is transitional from temperate continental to sharply continental (cold winters with little snow and warm dry summers). The average temperature in January is minus 15.2 degrees Celsius, in July - plus 19.8 degrees Celsius.
Major industries: machine building and metal processing, power generation, medical industry. Kurgan Machine-Building Plant is the most recognizable brand of Kurgan city worldwide. Infantry fighting vehicles manufactured by “KurganMashZavod” are in service around the world. Today, the company produces BMP-3M infantry fighting vehicles and other military vehicles on its base. “KurganStalMost” company is no less important for the economy of the city. This plant produces about 25% of all bridge structures in Russia.
More about architecture of Kurgan…
The outlook of Kurgan changed together with political epochs changes. Before the events of 1917, Kurgan consisted mostly of wooden houses. After collectivization process started, the city began to grow rapidly, but prevalence of the so-called “private sector” remained till the 50s of the 20th century.
High-rise buildings started being constructed, after the Second World War. First 3- and 4-storey buildings were built in the center. At this time, the ensemble of the Central Square was formed.
The final outlook of the central streets was determined in the 1960s-1970s. Zaozyorny district was constructed in this period.
Since the late 1990s, there were two tendencies in Kurgan construction: cottage districts and infill development. The 21st century began with the developing of Zaozyorny district and high-rise buildings construction - 17-storey ones (before that, the building of the tax police, built in the Soviet era, was the only skyscraper in Kurgan).
MiG-21 on a pedestal in Kurgan
Kurgan places of interest
Kurgan has more than 120 objects of cultural heritage (monuments of history and culture), including 4 objects of cultural heritage of federal importance. The historic center is situated in the area of Klimov, Kuibyshev, and Sovetskaya streets.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, located in the Kurgan city garden was conceived shortly after the death of Emperor Alexander III, who issued a decree on the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The memory of his services to Russia was immortalized in the construction of the church in the name of Alexander Nevsky, because Alexander III was named in his honor.
Church of the Epiphany. This is a new cathedral that embodies the best features of Russian church architecture of the end of the 17th - the beginning of the 18th centuries. Church of the Nativity of the prophet John the Baptist in Uglich was used as a prototype. The church was built on the Tobol River, in the alignment of Krasin and Klimov streets.
The Alley of Glory in Kurgan is dedicated to the memory of soldiers who died on the battlefields of the Second World War.
Railway Station Square is the first thing seen by tourists who come to the city. They can immediately see two water towers standing in the immediate vicinity of the platform.
Victory Park is an island of peace and quiet in the midst of the bustling city.
The central square of Kurgan, as in many other Russian cities, is called “Lenin Square”. The compositional center of the square, as expected, is a monument to Lenin.
Trinity Square received its name in honor of the Trinity Church, which stood there until 1957. This square, located in front of the Kurgan Regional Philharmonic, is used to host various celebrations, ceremonies, and performances.
Museums and Theaters…
- Kurgan Regional Art Museum (Gorky Street, 129),
- Kurgan Regional Museum of Local Lore (Pushkin Street, 137),
- History Museum of Kurgan City (Kuybyshev Street, 59),
- Kurgan Aviation Museum (Gagarin Street, 41),
- Kurgan Museum of the Decembrists (Klimov Street, 80a),
- V.K.Kiichelbecker House Museum (Kuybyshev Street, 19),
- Regional Cultural and Exhibition Center (Gogol Street, 30),
- Eurasian Center for Contemporary Art (Gorky Street, 129).
- Kurgan State Drama Theater (Gogol Street, 58),
- Kurgan Puppet Theater “Gulliver” (Sovetskaya Street, 104),
- Kurgan theater-studio “Saturday” (Gorky Street, 36),
- Kurgan theater of fire “Jarra” (2nd microdistrict, 21),
- Kurgan Regional Philharmonic (Trinity Square, 1).