Truthfully, I think this may be the only postcard I've ever received from Russia that was not from St. Petersburg or Moscow. I received it quite a while ago, and it has only now occurred to me that maybe it would be nice to learn a little more about Russia outside of its two major cities. This map shows the Russian krai (province) Krasnoyarsk, and let me tell you, it's a lot bigger than you think it is. It's located in Central Siberia, and it is the second largest Russian krai, comprising 13% of the country's total landmass - that makes it 3 1/2 times the size of Texas, or about the size of the North African nation of Algeria. The administrative center of the krai is Krasnoyarsk (city), located in the extreme south of the province.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Because the Krasnoyarsk krai is so big, it displays a wide assortment of geographical features, which this map so kindly lays out for me. :) The white area of the map refers to the tundra area of Krasnoyarsk, tundra referring to a region where the subsoil never thaws and only very hardy shrubs, grasses, mosses, and lichens can grow. The dark green area of the map is taiga - also a harsh climate, but with a long enough warm season to provide nutrients for hardy coniferous trees, as well as some birch, aspen, and other sturdy trees. There are more animals in this region, especially plant-eaters, rodents, and other small mammals. The light green section of the map shows the area dominated by the beautiful Sayan Mountain Range and Putoran Plateau. Running the length of the krai is the mighty Yenisey River, the world's fifth largest by length and volume.
In 1908 a nuclear-sized explosion occurred 3-6 miles over the surface of the earth in present-day Tunguska Nature Reserve in Krasnoyarsk krai. The area is so remote that reports of the explosion only trickled into towns from the talk of the native people of Siberia. Although still a great mystery, scientists now hypothesize that the explosion was caused by a large meteroid or comet fragment. The explosion flattened over 500,000 acres (2,000 square kilometers) of pine forest.
Krasnoyarsk city in the southern part of the province is most often visited as a stop along the Trans-Siberian Railway. The city is situated along the Yenisey River, with picturesque views of the river, the Sayan Mountains, and the taiga forest. Krasnoyarsk is rich with history, founded in 1628 by Russian Cossacks as a border fort. The most popular visitor spot around Krasnoyarsk is Stolby nature reserve, home to unusual rock formations popular with extreme rock climbers, and currently under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.