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Novosibirsk (Russian: Новосибирск) is Russia’s third largest city, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast. It is located in the southwest of Siberian Federal District, at 55°01?N 82°56?E. Population: 1,425,508 (2002 Census).

It was founded in 1893 as the future site of the Trans-Siberian railway bridge crossing the great Siberian river Ob. Its importance further increased early in the 20th century with the completion of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway connecting Novosibirsk to Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.

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 22°C, in winter -18 to -20°C, but can reach -40°C in winter and 35°C in summer. The difference between the highest and the lowest temperature is 88°C. Most of the time the weather is sunny, with an average of 2880 hours of sunshine per year.

Industries include 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 also has the distinction of being the hometown of Alexander Karelin, the 9 time World Champion Greco-Roman wrestler (including 3 Olympic gold medals), voted by FILA as the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of the 20th Century.

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