West Siberia Region
Due to its abundance of natural resources such as coal, oil, timber and water, the West Siberia Region of Russia is important from an economic point of view. From a tourism viewpoint this region is one of rugged beauty and a treasure trove of ancient history and fascinating traditions and culture. The West Siberian Region is one of Russia’s twelve economic regions and consists of nine sub-regions, namely Altai Krai, Altai Republic, Kemerovo Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Tomsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Altai Krai with its sweeping grasslands, lakes, rivers, foothills and mountains, is predominantly an agricultural area. The administrative center of Altai Krai is the city of Barnaul, located on the banks of the Ob River. The city is known as the scientific center of the West Siberia Region and has a number of theaters and museums - including the Museum of Local Lore founded in 1823 - offering insight into the history and culture of the area. Bordering Altai Krai is the Altai Republic with Gorno-Altaysk as its administrative center. The Altai Republic incorporates part of the majestic Altay Mountain Range and has more than 20,000 rivers, tributaries and waterways flowing through it, creating scenes of breath-taking natural beauty.
Located in the area where the South Siberian Mountains meet the West Siberian Plain, the Kemerovo Oblast has the city of Kemerovo as its administrative center. Beautiful old buildings such as the Central Post Office, City Council Building and the Drama Theater stand alongside modern hotels and shopping malls in this bustling city.
The Tyumen Oblast has the city by the same name as its administrative center. In addition to being one of the wealthiest federal subjects of Russia, it has a wide variety of flora and fauna, including walrus, Arctic fox and a genetically distinct Polar bear sub-species. The city of Tyumen was the first to be established in Siberia and has a wealth of fascinating architecture, museums and other cultural centers for visitors to explore. The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is incorporated into the Tyumen Oblast of the West Siberia Region, taking its name from the people native to the area – the Khanty and Mansi – and while Russian is the official language of the okrug, the languages of the people are given special status. The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, generally referred to simply as Nenets or Yamalia, also falls under the jurisdiction of the Tyumen Oblast, with the town of Salekhard as its administrative center. Salekhard claims to be the only town in the world that is situated on the Polar circle and has an impressive Arctic Circle monument in the town in honor of its unique location.
The neighboring oblasts of Tomsk and Omsk are rich in natural resources and between them have around 50 research institutes and higher education institutions, as well as superb examples of historic architecture, museums and theaters in their administrative cities of Tomsk and Omsk.
The Novosibirsk Oblast of the West Siberia Region is located between the Ob and Irtysh Rivers, with a large portion of its area covered in ancient woodlands. The administrative city of Novosibirsk has a world-class zoo with more than 4,000 species of animals, which is visited by up to 700,000 people each year. Other attractions of this city, which is the third largest in Russia, includes the temple of St Alexander Nevsky and the Mikhail Glinka Conservatory.