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Kemerovo – Commercial Hub of the Kuznetsk Basin

With a population of more than half a million people, the city of Kemerovo is the administrative center of Russia's Kemerovo Oblast in Western Siberia. Located at the confluence of the Tom and Iskitim Rivers northeast of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo is primarily an industrial city, and serves as the business and commercial center of the Kuznetsk Basin – one of the world's largest coal mining areas. Serviced by a branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Kemerovo International Airport, the city is easy to access both for business and leisure.

The history of Kemerovo is tied to a number of older settlements, with the first recorded being Verkhotomsky. Founded in 1657 on the road running between the Kuznetsk fortress and Tomsk, the settlement served as a stopover point for travelers. By 1701 the settlement of Shcheglovo, located on the Tom River, had grown into a village, and by 1859 seven separate villages had sprung up in the area which is now occupied by the city of Kemerovo. Coal was reportedly discovered in the area in 1721, but it wasn't until 1907 that the first coal mines were established. This was followed by the founding of the chemical works in 1916, and by 1917 the local population had grown to an estimated 4,000. With the expanding population, the villages started to amalgamate under the name of Shcheglovo. Kemerovo was a suburb of the Shcheglovsk municipality until 1932, when the entire settlement was renamed Kemerovo. In 1943 the expanding city became the administrative center of the Kemerovo Oblast.

Visitors to Kemerovo will find that the pleasant continental climate makes outdoor activities appealing, and if local legends are to be believed, hikers should look out for a Yeti-type creature in the surrounding mountains. The city of Kemerovo is known for its enthusiastic support of the sport of bandy – an ice-skating winter team sport played in various countries, including England, Russia, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Kemerovo was one of the first places to have an indoor arena dedicated to bandy, and was host to the 2007 Bandy World Championship. Kemerovo is home to five institutions of higher education, and counts a number of Russian celebrities among its former and current residents, including professional boxing champion Yuri Arbachakov, football player Andreas Beck, operatic mezzo-soprano Marina Domashenko, champion race walker Vyacheslav Ivanenko, pop singer Masha Rasputina, and actor and director Andrei Vladimirovich Panin.

 



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