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Rich copper deposits were discovered in the Altai mountains, and first local copper-melting plant was built. That was historical situation, preceding founding of Barnaul. In 1730 people of famous manufacturer Demidov chose a place for new larger plant to be the entry of the river Barnaulka. The choice proved to be successful. Plants of those times were highly dependant on water, which moved machines and mechanisms, and wood all of those was in plenty. However, copper deposit wasnt next door, but deposits were rarely located near water reservoirs and forests.

Copper was not the only Altais treasure. When silver was discovered near Mt. Zmeinaya, Altai became the richest silver reservoir of the Russian Empire. In 18th century Altai plants gave 90% of Russian silver, and Barnaul silver-melting plant was deservedly considered to be the largest at Altai. Well, it was not an accident, when Barnaul became one of the largest Siberian cities in a short time.

In 1846 the city acquired the coat-of-arms, which displayed a salient white horse and working silver-melting furnace. The 19th century was notable for many famous travelers and scientists, who visited Barnaul: Alexander Humboldt, Carl Friedrich von Ledebour, Alfred Brehm and etc. These people mentioned Barnaul in their travel diaries as the splendid city with high level of culture and education. The city had talented architects, who built many beautiful buildings.

It was Barnaul, where I. Polzunov built first ever vapour-atmosphere continuous engine in 1763-1766. Many other eminent engineers and scientists lived in the city. The abolition of serfdom, depletion of natural resources and failure of plant management to work under new conditions led to collapse of mining and shutdown on the Barnaul plant in 1893. City life froze, but not for long. Barnaul quickly reoriented and became a large trading centre. Citizens exported butter to Europe and Scandinavia. Handy Barnaul dwellers sold coats and felt boots, which were famous for their quality.

On May 2, 1917, the city was almost destroyed by a giant fire. The city recovered very slowly, since October Revolution and civil war didnt help it. During New Economic Policy (NEP) Barnaul trade started recovering, but soon NEP ended. In 1932 the largest European mélange plant was established in Barnaul. At the same time, the city authorities started massive construction activities residential areas, kindergartens, schools, medical institutions, hotels cinemas, etc were built. However, thirties of the twentieth century were times of not only creation. Sixteen Orthodox churches (all churches in the city), as well as a mosque, a synagogue and a Lutheran church, were demolished by communists.

During the Great Patriotic War, Barnaul hosted several important industrial enterprises from Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities, occupied by fascists. After the war ended, the city met rapidly developing chemical industry. City dwellers started moving from wooden huts to new 5-storey houses.




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  (Altai Territory)

Cities of the region



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