Information About Siberia & the Trans-Siberian
Some say the name comes from the old Turkic word “Siber” meaning “beautiful” others that it was the ancient name of the tribe of nomads that lived here but whatever the reason it a place that most people have heard of but know little about and this is part of the allure of taking the world’s longest train ride, the Trans Siberian.
It instantly conjures up images of freezing cold temperatures and cold barren landscapes left in the memory from things you heard as a child and while it does get very cold in the winter and it is very empty, it also is a lush warm landscape the rest of the year and that landscape can be, quite simply, stunning.
With a total size of 13.1 million square miles it takes up three quarters of Russia’s total size and a tenth of the whole world’s surface area but despite this it’s population is less than half of the United Kingdom at less than 30 million, to put that into physical terms, there’s only three people for every square km!
Trans-Siberian Railway Crossing Siberia
The Trans Siberian Railway is the only way to get through this sparsely populated area and a Trans Siberian tour will allow you to see this spectacular landscape, whether it be in the throws of winter, brutally cold but so peacefully serene or in the more more popular time to travel, the summer. It doesn’t have to be just sitting on a train for a week crossing Siberia. There are many stop off points along the way and stunning features such as Lake Baikal that make the journey a really pleasant trip and one of the must-do journeys of the world.
The Peoples of Siberia
There isn’t a great deal known of the early history of the peoples of Siberia except that it has been an area lived in by nomadic peoples. The first time we really have much of a knowledge of the area is after it was conquered by the Mongols and by the early 13th Century Genghis Khan had subjugated all the Mongol and Turkic tribes. By the end of the century they’d conquered much of Central and Eastern Siberia and under Kublai Khan the area came under the control of the Yuan Dynasty that controlled China.
Eventually it would be the turn of the Russians to colonize the land and they did this in a much comparable way to the Western Europeans did with the Americas. They were attracted to the area for it’s furs and the native tribes, once subjugated, were forced to pay tributes in the form of fur.
One of the most famous events connected to Siberia is the Tunguska Event that occurred in 1908. It was a powerful explosion that is believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteor or comet about 5-10 km above the earth’s surface.
Article originally posted by Phil Stanley: 16th December 2013