Siberia: A Cultural History

Frontcover
Oxford University Press, 2010 - 297 Seiten
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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.
  

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Inhalt

CRADLE OF CIVILIZATIONS
1
A FRONTIER BEYOND THE URALS AND YEKATERINBURG
21
TYUMEN DALLAS IN SIBERIA
51
TOBOLSK FROM SODOM IN THE TAIGA TO A CULTURAL HEARTLAND
73
TO THE FROZEN OCEAN AND STALINS RAILWAY OF DEATH
93
OMSK AND THE BARABA STEPPE
103
OVER THE TOP THE NORTHERN SEA ROUTE
125
NOVOSIBIRSK AND THE TRANSSIBERIAN RAILWAY
145
THE YENISEY RIVER FROM STEPPES TO THE FROZEN TUNDRA
189
IRKUTSK THE PARIS OF SIBERIA
227
LAKE BAIKAL SIBERIAS SACRED SEA
245
THE ARCHIPELAGO OF EXILE MAGADAN
265
FURTHER READING
281
INDEX OF HISTORICAL LITERARY NAMES
289
INDEX OF PLACES LANDMARKS
293
Urheberrecht

THE ALTAI REGION AND REPUBLIC MYSTICS MOUNTAINS AND NOMADS
167

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Über den Autor (2010)

A. J. Haywood is a journalist and author whose published works includes guidebooks and articles on Russia, Austria, and Germany, as well as short stories and translations.

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