Barnaul name origin

More information about Barnaul.

Barnaul name origin overview

The earliest known documents with the name of current Barnaulka River are five maps made by Tobolsk draftsman Semen Remezov at the turn of the 17th-18th centuries. They were based on the not preserved documents of the end of the 17th century.

The four drawings had the river named Boronour, in one case Boronur. In the written sources of the second decade of the 18th century the reference to the river occurs twice.

Barnaul name origin main versions

From the words of Turkic-speaking population of the Upper Ob region its name was recorded as Russian Bornoul (1716) and Boranaul (1717).

Like many other rivers of Siberia and Altai, present Barnaulka was called in the male gender. Official documents preserved this tradition until the 19th century, but in the spoken language at that time already existed the option with female gender. “Barnaulka” River was mentioned in the travel guide of 1735, and appeared on the map under that name in 1788.

Important information about the name of the river contained in the materials of academic expedition that visited the region in September 1734. In the diary of the traveler Johann Georg Gmelin, published in 1751, Barnaulka because of its small size was cited as a stream - “Bach Barna aul”.

The most complete information about the early titles of Barnaulka was given in the papers of Gmelin companion - Gerard Frederick Miller, in which the river was referred to as “Barnaul”.

He noted on his map the former Mongol name of Barnaulka: “in Kalmyk language Boro-nor”. The word “nor” or “nuur” in Mongolian means “lake”. Thus the name of the river was reconstructed in Boro-Nuur. Miller also gave the first scientific explanation: “It means in these words nothing else but Gray Lake”.

However, the researchers have no single answer to the question of transformation of the last letter in the word - “r” in “l”. According to one version, some people in the past simply distorted the original Mongol name in accordance with their Turkic language: Boronuur / Boronour become a Boranaul / Bornoul, and in Russian language has become a city of Barnaul. However, in this case the name is not of Turkic origin.

Another option proposed by historian A.P.Umansky, is still considering the roots of the name of the river of Teleut language. There is a relation revealed between Mongolian words “baraa(n)” - “dark” and “bor” - “gray” with Turkic words “paraan” / “baraan” - “dark” and “poro” / “boro” - “gray”. The second part of the word - “ul”, according to scientists is translated as “river” or “water”. As a result, Umansky supposedly restored Turkic name Porongy-Ul or Borony-Ul with a meaning “turbid water”.

Tomsk professor A.P.Dulzon suggested that the name of the city consists of two ancient Turkic words. The initial form of the toponym is “Boronoul”, where “boro” part goes to Turkic and Mongolian languages meaning “wolf”, and “ul” in the Turkic languages means “river”.

Thus, “Barnaul” - a “wolf river” or perhaps “wolf lake”. This variant is supported by the fact that the forests that surrounded Barnaulka in the past were populated by numerous wolfs, and in the source of the river there were many lakes.

Also, the wolf was considered a sacred animal among the inhabitants of the Altai. Over time, the word was adapted to Russian speaking and gave the name of the city - Barnaul.

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