History and Geography
Novosibirsk is the 3rd largest city in Russia. It has a population of 1.5 million. That makes it a little bigger than Dublin and a little smaller than Birmingham.
Novosibirsk was founded in 1896 at the point where the Trans-Siberian Railway would cross the River Ob. It was originally called Novonikolayevsk in honour of both Saint Nicholas and Tsar Nicholas II. At first the town grew rapidly. Following the Russian revolution in 1917 there was a period of great instability. The town suffered a great deal during the Russian Civil war (1917-1923). There were epidemics and for a while the population declined. In 1926 the town was renamed Novosibirsk (New Siberian City).
Novosibirsk underwent a period of rapid expansion on either side of what we call the Second World War, and the Russians call the Great Patriotic War. The town was not directly involved in the fighting, but became home to heavy industry and many refugees from the war.
Modern Novosibirsk is still growing rapidly. Some of the residents discribe it as “Chicago of Siberia”. It is a modern industrial city. It has skyscrapers, a metro and a well-developed public transport system.
Why Am I doing this?
I learned Russian Feltham School (what is now Feltham Community College). Over the years I continued to be interested in the language and the country. Now that I have time, I have been improving my Russian, but had reached the stage when living in the country for a while seemed the most effective way of making further progress.
I chose Novosibirsk precisely because it is not a tourist destination. It has a language school, but relatively few people there speak English. It is also somewhat cheaper than Moscow or St Petersburg. Further reasons for choosing Novosibirsk were the romance of going to Siberia and the opportunity to visit some nearby places like Academgorodok (Academy Town).
How am I going to get there?
I am going to fly from Heathrow (T1) to Moscow (Domededovo), change planes and fly to Novosibirsk (OVB). The code makes more sense when you know that the airport is actually in the town of “Ob” (same name as the river).