Novosibirsk is the capital of Siberia, the third largest city in all of Russia and the largest located East of the Urals. The city was originally founded in 1893 as a transfer station on the Trans-Siberian railway, and was named Novonikolaevsk after the Czar Nikolai Romanov II. Although the name was changed in 1925, there is still a gold-domed chapel in his name that rests on a traffic island on what has been calculated to be the geographical center of Russia. The chapel was, in fact, destroyed in 1933, but was rebuilt in 1993, on Novosibirsk's one hundredth anniversary. Since the city lies on both banks of the Ob river, the day when construction of the new bridge across the Ob was started is considered to be the exact day on which Novosibirsk was founded.

70 years after it was founded, the population of Novosibirsk hit the 1 million mark, and today it hovers at around 1.6 million. The city has a thriving metallurgy and machinery manufacturing industry, and boasts the largest opera house in all of Russia. It has the biggest station on the Trans-Siberian route, the biggest library, and is considered the business hub of Siberia, with the largest Siberian banks, as well as the Siberian Stock and Commodity Exchanges.

In 1943, the Academy of Sciences opened up its Siberian branch in Novosibirsk, which signalled the beginning of the city's transformation into the educational center of Siberia. Novosibirsk can boast more than 16 institutions of higher education, in spite of the fact that it is located only 30 km North of Akademgorodok (Academic City), a city founded in the 1950s specifically for the purpose of housing elite scientists.

Novosibirsk is segmented into 10 administrative districts. Leninsky and Kirovsky are situated on the left bank of the Ob river while Zaeltsovsky, Zheleznodorozhny, Dzerzhinsky, Tsentralny, Oktyabrsky, Kalininsky, Pervomaysky and Sovietsky are on the right bank. The mayor of Novosibirsk is Victor Tolokonsky.

In Siberia by Colin Thurbon, 1999

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