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Novosibirsk (Russian Новосибирск, pop. 1,600,000), after Moscow and Saint Petersburg Russia's third largest city, was founded in 1893 as the future site of the Trans-Siberian railroad bridge crossing the great Siberian river Ob. From 1893 until 1925, Novosibirsk was called Novonikolayevsk, after the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

The city lies along the Ob River in the West Siberian Plain. The climate is sharply continental, with very severe, cold and snowy winters and hot and dry summers. Temperatures in summer range from 20 to 22C, in winter -18 to -20C, but can reach -35C in winter and 35C in summer . The difference between the highest and the lowest temperature is 88C. Most of the time the weather is sunny. The spell of sunny weather is 2880 hours an year.

The industry includes machine manufacturing and metallurgy. It is the home of one of Russia's best universities (situated in a nearby Akademgorodok, a number of institutes and a scientific research center. Novosibirsk boasts opera and ballet companies, several theaters, museums, and art galleries, and numerous sports facilities. Novosibirsk is the third city in Russia (after Moscow and Saint Petersburg) in which a subway system was established (The Novosibirsk Metro, opened in 1985).

Novosibirsk Oblast (1995 pop. 2,748,500 est.) is located in the SE Western Siberian plain, at the foothills of low Salair ridge, between Ob and Irtysh rivers. At west the Novosibirsk oblast borders to the Omsk oblast, at north to the Tomsk oblast and at east to the Kemerovo oblast. The southern and the southwestern borders of the Novosibirsk oblast are the Altai oblast and the state of Kazakhstan. The territory of the region is 178,200 km² it extends for more than 600 km from west to east, and for more than 400 km from north to south. Novosibirsk region is mainly plain; at south the steppes prevail; at north enormous tracts of woodland with great number of marshes prevail. There are many lakes, the largest ones located at the south. The majority of rivers belongs the Ob basin, many of them falling in dead lakes. Largest lakes are Chani, Sartlan, Ubinskoe and some others.

Russians make the majority and number some 2,5 million. Germans are the second in number - about 60,000. The area is also populated by some 50,000 Ukrainians, 28,900 Tatars, 12,100 Kazakhs, 12,900 Byelorussians, 1,9000 Estonians, 1,000 Latvians, 1,400 Poles and by people of some other nationalities. There are 30 administrative units and 14 cities.

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