Friday, 27 June 2014

thinkRUSSIA

thinkRUSSIA


Novosibirsk: Siberia’s unofficial capital

Posted: 27 Jun 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Photo of Novosibirsk residents celebrating the New Year on the city's central square.
Novosibirsk residents and guests celebrate the New Year on the city's central square. © Alexandr Kryazhev, RIA Novosti

Following a stop in Yekaterinburg and Omsk, thinkRUSSIA continues its journey deeper into the Siberian wilderness. Next stop: Novosibirsk!

Facts about Novosibirsk

We have just arrived in Novosibirsk – the third most populated city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg. While being the most populated city in the Eurasian part of Russia, it is also the capital of the Novosibirsk Oblast. Some even claim that the city is the unofficial capital of the whole of Siberia.

Until the 1920s, Novosibirsk was split between two time zones, with half of the city on the left bank of the Ob River, lagging one hour behind the right side situated on the other bank. Nevertheless, this odd situation was never an obstacle for Novosibirsk’s citizens as each half of the city lived autonomously. Even marriages between people living on both sides of the Ob River occurred rarely. Both halves of the city only recently became connected when the bridge crossing it was built in 1955, and in 1958 a single time zone was established to help consolidate the city into one entity.

A center for academic excellence

The city is well known throughout Russia as an academic center with several universities such as:

  • The Novosibirsk State Medical University
  • The Novosibirsk State University
  • The Novosibirsk State Academy of Architecture and Arts
  • Novosibirsk State Conservatoire.

Novosibirsk students and citizens also have the luxury of enjoying one of the world’s largest libraries, with about 14 million items.

Sights to see

Sightseeing in Novosibirsk is very easy as the city has a well developed transportation network including its own metro system

There are plenty of places to visit in Novosibirsk. The State Art Museum, for example, has a great collection including icons and Siberian art. The Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, known to be an architectural masterpiece, is the biggest theatre in Russia, larger than the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg.

Visitors might see the only Museum of the Sun in the world, which presents many artefacts and information gathered by various people and tribes who worshiped the sun. 

Animal lovers, at the same time, might visit the Novosibirsk zoo which has been called one of the most interesting zoo parks in the world. It is home to about 1000 animals of more than 700 different species, some of which are in the Red Book.

Fun facts

  • Novosibirsk is the home city of the famous Greco-Soviety wrestler for the Soviet Union and Russia, Alexsandr Karelin.
  • The city boasts the largest metro bridge in the world, spreading across the Ob river.
  • The Sun Museum is the only museum in Russia dedicated to the signs and symbols of the sun.
  • The temperature in winter can sometimes fall to –40. Fortunately such low temperatures rarely last longer than a few days.
  • Novosibirsk was the first Russian city to introduce compulsory primary education.
  • Driving is on the right-hand side of the road despite most cars also being right-hand drive.

What would you go see in Novosibirsk and its surrounding area?

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