25 April 2003, 18:20


Centre of Stavropol kray (region), 1,621 km south of Moscow. Located in the central part of Ciscaucasia, on the Stavropol Upland in badlands, in the headstream of the Tashla River (the basin of the Eastern Manych). Continental climate. Mild winter; the temperature in January averages to -5?С; unstable snow cover. Summer is very warm; the temperature in July averages to 22- 25?С. Spring is short; autumn is warm and lasting. Precipitations of about 350 mm a year. Connected to the Kavkazskaya - Divnoye - Elista line by a railway branch (12 km). A motor road junction, including the highway of Stavropol - Elista - Astrakhan; 52 km from the highway of Rostov-on-Don - Makhachkala - Baku (Azerbaijan). Airport. Population (1992 est.) 331.8 thousand,(1897 est.) 41.6 thousand, (1926 est.) 59 thousand, (1939 est.) 85 thousand, (1959 est.) 141 thousand, (1970 est.) 198 thousand, (1979 est.) 258 thousand.

Founded in 1777 as one of 10 Azov-Mozdok line fortresses erected to protect southern borders of Russia and roads to the Don and the Volga (in 1779, construction of the fortifications was inspected by А.V. Suvorov). In 1785, the settlement at the fortress was recognised as an uyezd (canton) city of the Caucasian Government. In 1822 Caucasian government was transformed into oblast (province), and Stavropol became its centre; since 1847, its was the centre of Stavropol government included into Caucasian vicegerency (in 1898, Stavropol government was administratively separated from the Caucasus). In the late 18th and the early 19th centuries, Stavropol was passed by the general post road connecting the Caucasus with central districts of European Russia. Stavropol served as an agency of command of the whole Caucasian line and the Black Sea coast. The city intensively developed until traffic along the Vladikavkaz railway made more than 50 km south of Stavropol began in 1875. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Stavropol was mainly a merchant city; it primarily traded in bread and cattle. In 1897, Stavropol was connected to the Vladikavkaz railway by a railway branch. In 1914, the city had 61 industrial establishments, including 2 small iron workshops, a raillery, 4 steam mills, 2 power stations. A considerable part of the Stavropol population was engaged in agriculture, primarily, trucking; there were a lot of gardens in the city. There were 17 churches and Nunnery of St. John and St. Mary. In 1935-1943, the city was called Voroshilovsk; in 1937-1943, it was the centre of Ordzhonikidze kray (region). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the city was heavily damaged by Nazi troops, which occupied it from August 1942 to January 1943.

Present Stavropol is the large industrial, administrative and cultural centre of North Caucasia. Machine industry and metal working (a machine-tool constructing production association, Kinotekhnika production association; a crane-truck works, a trailer plant, Elektroavtomatika factory, a toolmaker, etc.); chemical industry (Anilin production association, a factory of chemical reagents and luminophores, a factory of technical carbon); flavouring industry (a meat-processing plant, a mill, a confectionery, several wineries, breweries and dairies), light industry (a tanning factory, a shoe factory, a clothes factory). Production of furniture and building materials. An integrated printing works, etc. Institutes: medical, pedagogical, polytechnic, agricultural; a branch of Belgorod Co-operative Institute; 2 higher military schools (a school of communication and an air school). A number of planning and designing offices; research institutes: vaccines and serums, hydraulic engineering and land reclamation, North Caucasian Research Institute of natural gases, luminophores and especially pure substances, etc. M.Y. Lermontov Drama Theatre, a puppet-show. G.К. Prave Museum of Local Lore (founded in 1904, has been functioning in the present building since 1913; known for its rich palaeontological and archaeological collections, including subjects of Scythian, Sarmatian, Alani cultures). Museum of fine arts (opened in 1961; Russian art of the 18th-20th centuries, including works by D.G. Levitsky, I.I. Levitan, V.D. Polenov, М.S. Saryan, S.Т. Konenkov). Literary museum of North Caucasian peoples with the memorial house of К.L. Khetagurov, an Ossetian poet and public figure, who lived in Stavropol.

Krepostnaya Gorka (the Fortress Hill) with the surviving fragment of the vallum (dated 1770-1780) in the central part of the city is the historical core of Stavropol. Since 1833, Stavropol was built up under the regular plan, taking into account difficulties of the mountain relief. Building up of the main municipal arterial road at the bottom of Gorka including buildings of the former Gostiny Dvor (a trade yard), public offices, a grammar school (all of them dated the middle and late 19th century) and a parkway (laid in 1848), as well as building-up of the former Soldatskaya sloboda (settlement) to the south of the fortress with a Classic complex of a military hospital (1840, architects Giovanni and Giuseppe Bernardacci) largely escaped destruction. Since 1950, modern residential construction has been going on mainly in the outskirts of the city (Ossetinskaya Polyana housing estate, Yugo-Zapadny microdistrict, etc.).

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