Beginning from the 15thcentury Russians began moving to the east of the Ural Mountains: first they investigated and settled in Western Siberia, and then – in Eastern Siberia. Geographical division of Siberia to Western Siberia and Eastern Siberia is rather arbitrary and is historical in nature.

Western Siberia

Western Siberia can be outlined by the Ural Mountains from the west, and the valley of the Yenisei Riverfrom the east; its length from west to east is about 1,500 km. In the south, Western Siberia hits the Kazakh steppe, and in the north it reaches the Kara Sea (Arctic Ocean); its length from south to north is 2,500 km.

Western Siberia includes such modern regions of Russiaas the Republic of Altai, the Altai Krai, Kemerovo region, Novosibirsk region, Omsk region, Tomsk region, Tyumen region (including Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District and the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District).

High-altitude meadows in bloom. Altai, near Belukha Mountain

High-altitude meadows in bloom. Altai, near Belukha Mountain 

Some facts about Western Siberia.

1.            The size of Western Siberia is 2.45 million sq. km. That means that Western Siberia is only slightly smaller than Kazakhstan (No. 9 among the largest countries).

2.            In Western Siberia there are the largest in Russiaoil and gas areas.

3.            In Western Siberia there are the most fertile lands in Siberia – in the south of the region in the steppe zone.

4.            The climate in Western Siberia is continental: in winter the temperatures from north to south rangefrom -15 to -30 degrees Celsius, and in the summer they rangefrom +20 in the south and + 5 in north.

5.            The rivers Ob and Irtysh form a water system that is included in the list of the 10 largest rivers in the world.

6.            Taiga occupies about 62% of the territory of Western Siberia. Taiga forests are part of the so-called “lungs of the planet.”

7.            The region has a large number of swamps which are explained by excessive watering and poor water drainage – permafrost and flat terrain.

Eastern Siberia

The territory of Eastern Siberia can be defined as the mountainous region between Western Siberia and the Russian Far East.

The region was annexed to Russia later than Western Siberia.

The region includes such modern Russian territories as the Republic of Buryatia, Trans-Baikal territory, Irkutsk Region, Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Khakassia, Tuva and Yakutia.

Sayan mountains in autumn. Clouds on the mountain ridge of Tunkinsky bold peaksSayan mountains in autumn. Clouds on the mountain ridge of Tunkinsky bold peaks

Some facts about Eastern Siberia:

1.            The region has the square area of about 7.28 million sq. km. That means that this Russian territory is only slightly smaller than Australia. Another example – 13 countries of the size of France could fit in it.

2.            Most of the territory of East Siberiais occupied by taiga.

3.            In Eastern Siberia, covered predominantly with mountainous terrain and mountain plateaus, there are plenty of large rivers, including the rivers Yenisei and Lena which are in top 10 largest rivers in the world.

4.            The territory of Eastern Siberia isone of the most sparsely inhabited in the world.

5.            The climate is distinctly continental. The difference between the average temperatures of the coldest and warmest months in different areas ranges from 40 to 100 … (!) and more degrees Celsius. That means that winter is very cold, and summer is warm or even hot.

6.            In Eastern Siberia gold, diamonds, aluminum, tungsten, nickel, molybdenum, tin monoxide, antimony, lead, zinc, mica, fluorspar, graphite and salt are mined.

7.            In Eastern Siberia there is the deepest lake in the world – Lake Baikal, which holds the largest volume of fresh water in the world.


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