|Ethnic Groups:||Russian;Tatar; Bashkir; Jewish|
farm and military vehicles
|103° 05' E
The city of Chelyabinsk, which grew up around the fortress of Chelyaba, was a
center of military production during the Soviet era, and as such was closed to
foreigners until the early 1990's.
Chelyabinsk has long been associated in the Western press with pollution. In
the 1950's, an accident at a nearby nuclear plant released a cloud of
radiation, contaminating a large unpopulated area. Some restrictions have been
eased on access to the area, but people are still advised not to pick
mushrooms or go fishing in the rivers there. The accident came under
international scrutiny long after it actually occurred -- not until the
Chernobyl disaster was any light shed on the affair.
For all it's bad reputation, Chelyabinsk itself is a relatively pretty place,
with three small lakes, a river and a sizable patch of forest within
the city. Like most Russian cities, it has its share of factories and acres of
boxy Soviet apartment buildings, but the center of town is pleasant and
compact. Chelyabinsk boasts a large concert hall, sports complex, circus and a
number of museums, notably the geological museum, which has a sprawling rock
garden by the river.
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