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Siberia: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)


Siberia: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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."


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.

About the Author

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 and Acknowledgements

Introduction: Heaven and Hell; Landscape of Extremes; The Humdrum and the Bizarre.

Chapter One--Cradle of Civilizations: Bronze-Age Cultures; The Scyths; Turkic and Mongol States; The Khanate of Sibir; Indigenes before Russian Colonization; Yermak's Conquest.

Chapter Two--A Frontier Beyond: The Urals and Yekaterinburg; Travel on the Sibirsky Trakt; Beyond the Watershed of Imagination; Stroganovs, Demidovs and the Industrial Heritage of Nevyansk; Yekaterinburg: Minerals and Mining; A Walk through Yekaterinburg; The Romanov Murders and Church-on-Blood; From Voznesenskaya Gorka to the Opera.

Chapter Three--Tyumen: Dallas in Siberia; From Fortress to Metropolis; Holy Trinity Monastery: Missionaries and Indigenous Colonization; Towards Historical Square and Central Square; Rasputin: The Mystic from Pokrovskoe.

Chapter Four--Tobolsk: From "Sodom in the Taiga" to a Cultural Heartland; The Kremlin Complex; Banishing the Bell; Siberian Administration; Outside the Kremlin: Decembrists and Dostoevsky; The Lower Town (86); Abalak and the "Pious Work."

Chapter Five--To the Frozen Ocean and Stalin's Railway of Death: Khanty-Mansiysk: Boom Town (96); Berezovo and Salekhard; The Railway of Death.

Chapter Six--Omsk and the Baraba Steppe: Revolution and Civil War; Exploring Omsk; The Baraba Steppe.

Chapter Seven--Over the Top: The Northern Sea Route: Exploring Siberia's Seas; The Second Kamchatka

Expedition; Nordenskjöld's Expeditions; Joseph Wiggins and Helen Peel; Nansen and the Drifters.

Chapter Eight--Novosibirsk and the Trans-Siberian Railway: Building Russia's Railway; Novosibirsk: Bridge over the Ob; Around Novosibirsk; The Mammoths of Akademgorodok.

Chapter Nine--The Altai Region and Republic: Mystics, Mountains and Nomads: Barnaul and the Altai; Industrial Heritage; Prospekt Lenina: Urban Archaeology; The Altai Republic: Spiritual Landscape; Altai Nationalism; The Katun River and Mount Belukha.

Chapter Ten--The Yenisey River: From Steppes to the FrozenTundra: Khoomei: Throat Singing and Cultural Identity; The Tuvans and their Burial Complexes; The Yenisey River North; Khakassia and the Steppe Cultures; Krasnoyarsk; North to the Arctic; Yeniseysk: Churches and Fairs; Turukhansk: Saints and Exiles.

Chapter Eleven-- Irkutsk: The "Paris of Siberia": Foreign Visitors; Central Irkutsk: Monuments, Museums and

Monasteries; Remembering the Decembrists.

Chapter Twelve--Lake Baikal: Siberia's Sacred Sea: The World's Largest Freshwater Lake; Irkutsk to Listvyanka; The Circumbaikal Railway; Olkhon Island: Where Spirits and Cultures Meet.

Chapter Thirteen--The Archipelago of Exile: Magadan: House of the Dead; The Gulags: Company Town.

Further Reading

Index of Historical and Literary,Names

Index of Places and Landmarks

Product Details

Haywood, A J
Oxford University Press, USA
Haywood, A. J.
Siberia (Russia) Civilization.
Siberia (Russia) History.
Europe - Former Soviet Republics
History, World | Russia
Former Soviet Union
Russia-Post Soviet Republics
History, World | Russia & Former Soviet Union
Landscapes of the Imagination
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
49 halftones; 2 maps
5.4 x 8.1 x 0.9 in 0.813 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Russia » Post Soviet Republics
History and Social Science » Russia » Siberia
History and Social Science » World History » Asia » General
History and Social Science » World History » Russia
Travel » Russia and Independent States » Russia

Siberia: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination) New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199754182 Reviews:
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