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Belgorod is one of the youngest “oblasts” or regions and came into its present existence in 1954. It is one of the most ancient Russian regions with rich cultural past and many historical events to its name as well as being an appealing provincial town that holds many tourist-attractions. 1000 years in existence, Belgorod City is the capital of the region. Belgorod is located in western Russia, in the basins of rivers Donets, Oskol and upper Vorskla. The region meets Ukraine border in the south while to the north is the Kursk region with Voronezh along its eastern boundary.
Population & Climate
The region’s population is estimated to be in excess of 1.5 million; mostly rural. Russian is official language of Belgorod region. In terms ofthe climate, Belgorod is mostly temperate with quite mild winters but long summers. Here, the average winter temperature goes down to –5°C to -7°C. Region’s average summer temperature remains between +18°C to +20°C.
The region is nestled in a forest-plain with deeply rich soils. Earlier, the land was covered with deciduous forest and prairieland that has now given way to agriculture land. One can still see some oak groves dotting river borders. About 1% area of the region is occupied by rivers, small lakes and marshes. The number of small rivers as well as streams is more than 480. There are also 1,100 ponds and 4 man-made reservoirs which get covered with ice in cold seasons. Belgorod region is spread in an area of around 10,500 square miles (or 27,100 square km).
Belgorod region has a highly advanced industrial-agrarian economy, with abundant mineral resources and fertile, unique black soils. Traditionally, the region had strong ties with Ukraine’s agro-industrial economy. Even though it is a small region, Belgorod region makes one fifth of the total trade turnover between Ukraine and Russia. It has rich fields of iron deposits. Over 40% of Russia’s iron ore reserves are concentrated in this region.
The region has highly developed agriculture activities. It has main crops of corn (maize), wheat, millet and barley. Sunflower and sugar beets are also grown in large quantities. It also contains many orchards.
The capital city of Belgorod is small, but has many beautiful, 16th century cathedrals and a famous diorama-museum related to the Battle of Kursk is also one of the many attractions of this city. There are other interesting sites worth visiting in and around the region’s town of Prokhorovka in the north.