Chelyabinsk city, Russia

The capital city of Chelyabinsk oblast.

Chelyabinsk - Overview

Chelyabinsk is one of the largest industrial, economic, cultural, and business centers of Russia, the administrative center of Chelyabinsk Oblast. This city is located on the geological border of the Urals and Siberia, in the Asian part of Russia, on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains, on both banks of the Miass River, about 1,800 km east of Moscow.

The population of Chelyabinsk is about 1,200,000 (2018), the area - 500 sq. km.

The phone code - +7 351, the postal codes - 454000-454930.

Chelyabinsk city flag

Chelyabinsk city flag

Chelyabinsk city coat of arms

Chelyabinsk city coat of arms

Chelyabinsk city map, Russia

Chelyabinsk city map of Russia

History of Chelyabinsk

Foundation of Chelyabinsk

In 1736, the fortress named Chelyaba (most likely, a Bashkir word) was founded on the Miass River. One of the reasons for the construction of this and several other fortresses located nearby was the threat of attacks of the Bashkirs on caravans with supplies. The fortress became part of the Ufa Province.

In 1748, the first stone church was laid in the fortress. In 1781, it received the status of a town called Chelyabinsk. In 1782, the coat of arms of Chelyabinsk was approved by decree of Empress Catherine II. A loaded camel depicted on it meant that trade routes passed through this town located in the Asian part of the Russian Empire. In 1795, the population of Chelyabinsk was about 2,700 people.

By the middle of the 19th century, this town played an important role in trading in the Urals. Until the end of the 19th century, Chelyabinsk remained a small town. In 1882, its population was about 7,700 people. The second birth of Chelyabinsk took place in 1892 - after the completion of the construction of the Samara-Zlatoust Railway, which connected Chelyabinsk with the European part of the Russian Empire.

After 1892, the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway continued further to the east of the country. In 1896, the further development of Chelyabinsk was facilitated by the commissioning of the branch of the Ural Mining Railway, which connected Chelyabinsk with Yekaterinburg. In just a few years, the town became one of the leaders in bread, butter, meat, and tea trade in the Russian Empire. Chelyabinsk was unofficially called “The Gateway to Siberia”.

More historical facts…

Chelyabinsk in the first half of the 20th century

In just a decade, the population of the town grew significantly (in 1897 - about 20 thousand people, in 1910 - more than 60 thousand), and the territory increased by one third. For rapid growth at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, similar to American cities, Chelyabinsk was sometimes called “Chicago beyond the Urals”.

The armed rebellion of the Czechoslovak Corps after the events at the Chelyabinsk Railway Station on May 14, 1918 and the capture of the city on the night of May 26 to 27, 1918, led to its participation in the Civil War in Russia on the side of the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly and later on the side of A. V. Kolchak (one of the leaders of the White Armies opposing the Reds (Bolsheviks)). In July 1919, the Reds occupied Chelyabinsk and Bolshevik authorities began to form in the city. In 1923, the population of Chelyabinsk was about 54,300 people.

On September 3, 1919, Chelyabinsk became the center of the Chelyabinsk province. On November 3, 1924, it was transformed into the Chelyabinsk district of Ural Oblast. On January 17, 1934, Ural Oblast was divided into three separate regions - Sverdlovsk Oblast with a center in Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast with a center in Chelyabinsk, and Ob-Irtysh Oblast with a center in Tyumen.

In 1937, there were discussions about renaming the city of Chelyabinsk in Kaganovichgrad in honor of Lazar Kaganovich, a Soviet politician and administrator. During the first Soviet five-year plans, Chelyabinsk became one of the largest industrial centers of the USSR. From the beginning of the 1930s, tractor, abrasive, ferroalloy, electrode, machine tool, and zinc plants began to operate. In 1939, the population of Chelyabinsk was about 273,000 people.

Chelyabinsk during the Second World War

During the Second World War, Chelyabinsk played a very important role as a production base. The population of the city grew rapidly from 270 to 650 thousand people. On the basis of more than 200 enterprises evacuated from the western regions of the USSR that merged with local industries, several giant plants were opened: the Chelyabinsk Forge and Press Plant, the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant, and the Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant.

After combining the capacities of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant with two evacuated enterprises - the Leningrad Kirov Plant and Kharkov Engine-Building Plant, mass production of tanks (KV-1, IS-2, T-34) and self-propelled guns (SU-152 and ISU-152) began. In total, during the war, about 60 thousand tank diesels and 18 thousand fighting vehicles (20% of all Soviet fighting vehicles) were produced in Chelyabinsk. By the end of the war, every third Soviet tank and combat aircraft had Chelyabinsk steel. The city acquired a new unofficial name - Tankograd (The City of Tanks).

During the war years, about 220,000 people were sent from the front to Chelyabinsk for treatment, 78% of them returned to service after healing their wounds. In 1941-1944, the Kiev Medical Institute, evacuated from the capital of Ukraine, was training medical doctors in Chelyabinsk. In 1944, the Chelyabinsk Medical Institute was established on its basis.

Chelyabinsk in the second half of the 20th century and beyond

In the post-war period, Chelyabinsk became a supplier of equipment, machinery, and specialists for the reconstruction of Stalingrad, Donbass, DneproGES, and other industrial centers. In 1947, a new development plan was approved, which provided for multi-storey buildings in the city center and areas adjacent to industrial enterprises. This radically changed the panorama of Chelyabinsk.

By 1960, there were already about 15 thousand students in Chelyabinsk. In 1976, Chelyabinsk State University was founded - the first classical university in the South Urals. By the 1980s, the capital of the South Urals became a major scientific center of the USSR with 7 universities and about 40 research and design institutes.

On October 13, 1976, a millionth resident was born in Chelyabinsk. By 1980, its enterprises produced more than 50% of Soviet stainless steel, 20% of pipes, 30% of ferroalloys. At this time, the new building of the Chelyabinsk Drama Theater with 1,200 seats was opened, the Chelyabinsk Puppet Theater gained all-Russian fame. In 1986, Chelyabinsk celebrated its 250th anniversary. In honor of this, a geological museum, a chamber and organ music hall were opened.

The first half of the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR and the transition to a market economy, was a difficult time for Chelyabinsk and its huge plants. From the second half of the 1990s, industry gradually resumed production, and a lot of plants entered the world market.

In 2004, the pedestrian street of Kirovka was opened. It has become a favorite place for walks of Chelyabinsk residents and guests of the city. In 2006, the new building of the State Historical Museum of the South Urals was opened. In 2009, the ice arena “Tractor” with a capacity of 7,500 spectators was built. In the 2010s, after the recession of the 1990s, construction and commissioning of new housing intensified.

On February 15, 2013, a large meteor with a diameter of about 17 meters and a mass of about 10 thousand tons entered the atmosphere in the vicinity of Chelyabinsk (the Chelyabinsk Meteor). Fortunately, it exploded in the sky relatively high above the city. However, 7,320 buildings were damaged and 1,613 people were wounded as a result. Its debris fell into Lake Chebarkul, from where the largest fragment was later raised and delivered to the Chelyabinsk Museum of Local Lore.

Chelyabinsk views

Winter in a residential area in Chelyabinsk

Winter in a residential area in Chelyabinsk

Author: Andrey Kalachev

Trinity Bridge in the center of Chelyabinsk

Trinity Bridge in the center of Chelyabinsk

Author: Angelina Galimzyanova

Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Virgin near the Chelyabinsk Railway Station

Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Virgin near the Chelyabinsk Railway Station

Author: Aleksey Podbelsky


Chelyabinsk - Features

Chelyabinsk, one of the ten largest cities in Russia, is located almost in the center of the continent of Eurasia (about 1,400 km from its geographical center), east of the Ural Mountains, 216 km south of Yekaterinburg.

This city is located on the border of the Urals and Siberia. That is why it is also informally known as “The Gateway to Siberia”. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, after the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, a lot of travelers bought postcards at the railway station of Chelyabinsk and sent them around the world as evidence of their stay in Siberia. Leningrad Bridge connects the Ural and Siberian banks of the Miass River, thus it is a bridge from the Urals to Siberia.

On the coat of arms of Chelyabinsk you can see a loaded camel, as a sign that important trade routes passed through it, and a fortress wall showing that Chelyabinsk was founded as a fortress.

The climate of Chelyabinsk is temperate continental (transitional from temperate continental to sharply continental). Winters are long, moderately cold, and snowy. The average temperature in January is minus 14.1 degrees Celsius. Summers are moderately warm and dry. The average temperature in July is plus 19.3 degrees Celsius.

Due to the fact that Chelyabinsk is an industrial city with a large number of factories, the environmental situation in the city is poor. The level of air pollution is high. The city has an increased level for a number of diseases compared with the average for Russia.

Chelyabinsk is one of the largest industrial centers of Russia. The main industries are metallurgy, manufacture of finished metal products, engineering. Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant is the largest ferroalloy plant in Russia. Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant produces about 2% of the world and 60% of Russian zinc. Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant is the largest producer of stainless steel in Russia.

Through Chelyabinsk, traffic flows from the European part of Russia to Siberia. In particular, this city is the final point of the federal highways M5 Ural (Moscow - Chelyabinsk), R254 Irtysh (Baikal) (Chelyabinsk - Novosibirsk), A310 (Chelyabinsk - Kazakhstan). Public transport is represented by buses, trolleybuses, trams, and minibuses. The international airport “Chelyabinsk” offers flights to several large Russian cities, mainly to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Chelyabinsk has historically developed as a center of several cultures: first of all, the cultures of the indigenous inhabitants of the region - the Bashkirs, Tatars, and Russians. There are Orthodox churches and mosques, a Catholic church, several Protestant churches, and a synagogue in the city.

Main Attractions of Chelyabinsk

Kirovka Pedestrian Street - an analogue of the pedestrian street of Arbat in Moscow. Here you can see a number of interesting monuments (“Zero Milestone”, the monuments to volunteer tankers, Alexander Rosenbaum, the founders of Chelyabinsk), as well as sculptures (“The Boy with the Camels”, “The Artist at the Mirror Easel”, “The Saxophonist”, “The Coquette”, “The Beggar”, “The Merchant”, and others).

Also on this street there are shops, cafes, entertainment facilities, buildings of the early 20th century, and the business center “Chelyabinsk-City”.

Aloye Pole (Scarlet Field) - a park located in the very center of Chelyabinsk, one of its most popular holiday destinations. In the 19th century, it was a square where the city fair was held. In 1905, a demonstration of workers was dispersed by force here. That’s why the place got a new name - “Scarlet Square”. In 2000, the park received the status of a historical place.

Central Park of Culture and Rest named after Yury Gagarin. This park adjacent to the relict pine forest is the most beautiful park in Chelyabinsk with rides, sports grounds and playgrounds, a contact zoo, a summer movie theater. Fresh air, thick crowns of trees, blue expanse of ponds, comfort, and cleanliness attract residents and visitors of the city.

Chelyabinsk Zoo. On an area of 8 hectares, more than 130 species of animals live, of which more than 80 are listed in the Red Book including polar bears, Amur tigers, leopards. There is also a contact zoo on the territory, where children can also feed animals and play with them. Truda Street, 191.

Historical Museum of the Southern Urals. There are three permanent exhibitions dedicated to nature and ancient history, folklife, and history of the 20th century. The museum has old photographs, documents, books, paintings of the 18th-20th centuries, household items and clothing of Russians, nomads, and Tatar-Bashkir tribes, Zlatoust engravings, ancient coins, mineralogical collections, bones of extinct animals, and stuffed animals.

The museum also exhibits the largest (weighing half a ton) of the found fragments of the Chelyabinsk Meteor that exploded in the sky above the city at an altitude of about 15-25 km in 2013. Truda Street, 100.

Museum of Fine Arts. This museum has several thousand exhibits of Western European, Eastern, and Russian art. Here you can see the works of world-famous artists: Aivazovsky, Levitan, Shishkin. Also there is an interesting collection of icons of the 16th-19th centuries. Truda Street, 92a.

Museum of Arts and Crafts of the Urals. Here you can see the whole range of folk art crafts of the Southern Urals: products of the Zlatoust weapons factory, exhibits demonstrating the skill of local carvers and jewelers, hand-painted utensils, porcelain products of the South Ural factory, etc. Revolution Square, 1.

Chelyabinsk Railway Museum. The museum exposition is located in two places: in the building #63 on Tsvillinga Street, where more than 14 thousand exhibits are stored, and at the Chelyabinsk Railway Station (Zheleznodorozhnaya Street, 1/1), where you can see various railway equipment: steam locomotives, electric locomotives, modern trains, military trains, and special equipment. In the exhibition halls, you can see rails, station bells, old tickets, lights, signaling devices, and other items.

Museum of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant - the largest and most popular museum in the region. It is dedicated to the history and activities of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. The museum has several thousand photographs, documents, personal belongings of employees, posters, newspaper clippings. It is better to visit this museum with a thematic tour, during which you can not only learn interesting facts, but also feel the true spirit of the plant and the city of Chelyabinsk. Lenina Avenue, 19.

Holy Trinity Church (1914) - the largest church in Chelyabinsk built of red brick and topped with a green roof. The main feature of this building is a large number of arched windows on all tiers and an abundance of decorative ornaments on the facade. Inside, the walls and ceiling are painted with murals on biblical themes. Kirova, 60?.

Monument to Kurchatov. Igor Kurchatov, the famous Soviet scientist and creator of the first atomic bomb in the USSR, was born in the town of Sim of Chelyabinsk Oblast in 1903. In 1986, in honor of the 250th anniversary of Chelyabinsk, the monument “Split Atom” was erected in his honor on Nauki (Science) Square. It consists of two vertical platforms 27 meters high, which symbolize an elementary particle, and the figure of Kurchatov standing in the middle. Lenina Avenue, 86.

Chelyabinsk city of Russia photos

Sights of Chelyabinsk

Palace of Pioneers and Schoolchildren in Chelyabinsk

Palace of Pioneers and Schoolchildren in Chelyabinsk

Author: Yuri Palmin

Circus in Chelyabinsk

Circus in Chelyabinsk

Author: Nico Kaiser

Stele to the Defenders of the Fatherland in Chelyabinsk

Stele to the Defenders of the Fatherland in Chelyabinsk

Author: Olga Kopp


Pictures of Chelyabinsk

Stele at the entrance to Chelyabinsk

Stele at the entrance to Chelyabinsk

Author: Alexander Sapozhnikov

Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Soothe My Sorrows in Chelyabinsk

Church of the Icon of the Mother of God Soothe My Sorrows in Chelyabinsk

Author: Angie Ambrosio


The questions of our visitors

sharon asks: Is Chelyabinsk university in the same city where the radiation leak was in 1957
Expert's answer:
Chelyabinsk State University is located in Chelyabinsk. Radiation leakage occurred in another city - Chelyabinsk-40 (known as Ozersk today).

The comments of our visitors

Bill A
Chelyabinsk city
I agree with the previous comments about having a 2013 exploding meteor museum. I would take my family from the US to visit, including the hundreds of lakes in the region. You hear that Chelyabinsk? Spend a little, and gain a lot! ;)

Heinrich Bueb
Chelyabinsk Meteor
I fully agree! Why not produce jewellry with bits of the meteor. I, for instance, was presented a piece of Meteor by friends from Chelyabinsk. I let fox it onto a ring and whenever asked about it I tell the whole story about the Chelyabinsk meteor and in addition the story when it came into being during the development of the universe. A stunning story which fescinates everybody here in Germany. And in June 2017 I fly back to Chelyabinsk and visit Lake Chebarkul where I stayed for a couple of days in July 2012. What an amazing story!

David Irvin
The ways to draw tourists to Chelyabinsk

I heard an interview with a woman from Chelyabinsk several days after the meteor exploded over your city on February 15th, 2013. She said "We should use this meteor to bring people to our city. We need our own Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty".

I think the meteor could help your city draw tourists, if the city is willing to invest money to make this happen. Specifically, you could build a museum that would:

- show off actual fragments of the meteor
- discuss what it was made of, is it unusual, is it like other meteors that have hit the Earth in the past?
- have large photographs of the damage done at Tunguska in 1908
- compare your meteor with the Tunguska meteor
- have large photographs of Lake Manicouagan (Canada) or Meteor Crater (Arizona, USA), monstrous deformations of the Earth created by meteors or short films of these places seen from airplanes to show their size
- show film clips from American disaster movies involving meteors in a separate room with a very good sound system: "Meteor" (1979) - this involves US/Russian cooperation to stop a meteor from hitting the Earth; "Armageddon" (1998) - an asteroid is heading for Earth; "Deep Impact" (1998) - this one also involves US/Russian cooperation (more scientifically accurate than "Armageddon"), etc.
- have an exhibit about the extinction of dinosaurs 65,000,000 years ago, probably due to a meteor, allowing mammals to develop
- show what would happen if sunlight was blocked for a long period of time
- show that a global nuclear war might do the same thing, this is the "nuclear winter" (and that's why the US and Russia are reducing the number of their atomic bombs)
- have short films of nuclear explosions and compare the power of these with the power of the Tunguska/Chelyabinsk/Arizona meteors

Besides the museum, have boat rides on the lake where pieces of the meteor broke through the ice.

To support the museum (and tourists) year-round, would it work to put together ski packages, transporting skiers to the Urals by bus via the M5 highway (or others) during the day and bringing them back to Chelyabinsk at night? Can you improve air connections US-Europe-Moscow-Chelyabinsk? Add a few restaurants? Etc.

A meteor like yours hits the Earth once a century. If you want it, you could make Chelyabinsk a tourist destination. It's worth a try. David Irvin


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