Siberia A Cultural History

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-10-25
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Before Russians crossed the Urals Mountains in the sixteenth century to settle their "colony" in North Asia, they heard rumors about bountiful fur, of bizarre people without eyes who ate by shrugging their shoulders and of a land where trees exploded from cold. This region of frozen tundra, endless forest, and humming steppe between the Urals and the Pacific Ocean was a vast, strange, and frightening paradise. It was Siberia. Siberia is a cradle of civilizations, the birthplace of ancient Turkic empires and home to the cultures of indigenes, including peoples whose ancestors migrated to the Americas. It was a promised land to which bonded peasants could flee their cruel masters, yet also a snow-covered "white hell" across which exiles shuffled in felt shoes and chains. In Stalin's era, Siberia became synonymous with the gulag; today, it is a vast region of bustling metropolises and magnificent landscapes: a place where the humdrum, the beautiful, and the bizarre ignite the imagination. Tracing the historical contours of Siberia, A. J. Haywood offers a detailed account of the architectural and cultural landmarks of cities such as Irkutsk, Tobolsk, Barnaul, and Novosibirsk. MAGNIFICENT RIVERS AND LAKES: Lake Baikal, the Ob, Irtysh, Yenisey, Angara, Lena and Amur rivers. Writer Anton Chekhov described some, polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen and the eccentric British merchant captain Joseph Wiggins navigated others. THE CITIES AND THE RAILWAY: High fashion and low life, traffic-choked streets, and chimney stacks. Siberia's cities bring a madding crowd far into the remote taiga-linked by the Trans-Siberian Railway, the nineteenth-century "camel track." MYSTICS, MOUNTAINS AND ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS Nikolay Rerikh sought the mystical kingdom of Shambhala here, Russian writer Valentin Rasputin was confused by its beauty, while local Altaians themselves see their republic of mountains and steppe as a Central Asian heaven on earth.

Author Biography

Journalist and author whose published works includes guidebooks and articles on Russia, Austria, and Germany, as well as short stories and translations.

Table of Contents

Preface & Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introduction Heaven and Hellp. xi
Landscape of Extremesp. xii
The Humdrum and the Bizarrep. xvi
Cradle of Civilizationsp. 1
Bronze-Age Culturesp. 4
The Scythsp. 5
Turkic and Mongol Statesp. 6
The Khanate of Sibirp. 8
Indigenes before Russian Colonizationp. 10
Yermak's Conquestp. 14
A Frontier Beyond: The Urals and Yekaterinburgp. 21
Travel on the Sibirsky Traktp. 24
Beyond the Watershed of Imaginationp. 27
Stroganovs, Demidovs and the Industrial Heritage of Nevyanskp. 29
Yekaterinburg: Minerals and Miningp. 32
A Walk through Yekaterinburgp. 36
The Romanov Murders and Church-on-Bloodp. 42
From Voznesenskaya Gorka to the Operap. 47
Tyumen: Dallas in Siberiap. 51
From Fortress to Metropolisp. 54
Holy Trinity Monastery: Missionaries and Indigenous Colonizationp. 58
Towards Historical Square and Central Squarep. 63
Rasputin: The Mystic from Pokrovskoep. 69
Tobolsk: From ˘Sodom in the Taiga÷ to a Cultural Heartlandp. 73
The Kremlin Complexp. 77
Banishing the Bellp. 79
Siberian Administrationp. 82
Outside the Kremlin: Decembrists and Dostoevskyp. 83
The Lower Townp. 86
Abalak and the ˘Pious Work÷p. 90
To the Frozen Ocean and Stalin's Railway of Deathp. 93
Khanty-Mansiysk: Boom Townp. 96
Berezovo and Salekhardp. 97
The Railway of Deathp. 100
Omsk and the Baraba Steppep. 103
Revolution and Civil Warp. 107
Exploring Omskp. 111
The Baraba Steppep. 120
Over the Top: The Northern Sea Routep. 125
Exploring Siberia's Seasp. 127
The Second Kamchatka Expeditionp. 130
Nordenskj÷ld's Expeditionsp. 133
Joseph Wiggins and Helen Peelp. 135
Nansen and the Driftersp. 140
Novosibirsk and the Trans-Siberian Railwayp. 145
Building Russia's Railwayp. 149
Novosibirsk: Bridge over the Obp. 154
Around Novosibirskp. 157
The Mammoths of Akademgorodokp. 163
The Altai Region and Republic: Mystics, Mountains and Nomadsp. 167
Barnaul and the Altaip. 170
Industrial Heritagep. 173
Prospekt Lenina: Urban Archaeologyp. 177
The Altai Republic: Spiritual Landscapep. 179
Altai Nationalismp. 180
The Katun River and Mount Belukhap. 183
The Yenisey River: From Steppes to the Frozen Tundrap. 189
Khoomei: Throat Singing and Cultural Identityp. 191
The Tuvans and their Burial Complexesp. 195
The Yenisey River Northp. 199
Khakassia and the Steppe Culturesp. 202
Krasnoyarskp. 206
North to the Arcticp. 215
Yeniseysk: Churches and Fairsp. 218
Turukhansk: Saints and Exilesp. 222
Irkutsk: The ˘Paris of Siberia÷p. 227
Foreign Visitorsp. 231
Central Irkutsk: Monuments, Museums and Monasteriesp. 235
Remembering the Decembristsp. 243
Lake Baikal: Siberia's Sacred Seap. 245
The World's Largest Freshwater Lakep. 246
Irkutsk to Listvyankap. 250
The Circumbaikal Railwayp. 256
Olkhon Island: Where Spirits and Cultures Meetp. 260
The Archipelago of Exile: Magadanp. 265
House of the Deadp. 268
The Gulagsp. 272
Company Townp. 277
Further Readingp. 281
Index of Historical & Literary, Namesp. 289
Index of Places & Landmarksp. 293
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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