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Regions of Russia - Smolensk 101

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Smolensk shares borders with five other regions of Russia; Pskov, Tver, Moscow, Kaluga and Bryansk. It also adjoins Vitebsk and Mogilev, which belong to the Republic of Belarus while the main administrative center and capital city is Smolensk. Although infused with many remnants of an old world, the region is relatively new compared to nearby regions, having been founded in 1937

Landscape and population

Smolensk is home to many reservoirs for water supply and some cooling power plants which is largely attributed to the presence of the Dnieper River. Smolensk population is just below one million and the largest urban areas in the region include the capital Smolensk, Vyazma, Roslavl, Yartsevo and Safonovo.

Climate

The Smolensk region has a humid climate, similar to the climate of Moscow region. Still, it has slightly warmer weather in winter as it sits further west and then short summers with warm and sometimes rainy days. It has long and cold winters which bring snowfall as well while in January, the average temperatures in this region range between −9 °C to warmer temperatures of 17 °C in July.

Economy and transportation

In this region, the power industry is prominent and it even has nuclear and hydroelectric power plants. Apart from these, machine building and chemical industries also thrive in the Smolensk region. However, it is also known for an excellent food industry and an abundance of natural resources such as brown coal, rock-salt, peat, limestone and calc-tuff.

The Smolensk region has a hugely developed communication and transportation system. Almost 2/3 of Russia’s foreign freight traffic passes through this region which is mainly because the transport and communication services rival those of capitals St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Tourism

Smolensk is dotted with thousands of monuments and there are no less than 400,000 cultural and historical monuments in the region. Famous among these are Michael the Archangel, Saints Peter and St. Paul and St. John the Baptist churches (from the 12th century). The region has also been an important player in Russia’s military history, so one can find a number war monuments as well.  It is a store house of museums and old estates. Of these, Teremok architectural complex is a popular tourist destination. The region’s National park, “Smolensk Poozyorye, and mineral spring “Svyatoy kolodets” are also popular places for visitors.  

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