Novokuznetsk is a fast developing industrial city in South West Siberia, with a population of approximately 600,000. ‘Old Kuznetsk’ was founded at the beginning of the 18th century on the east bank of the River Tom. ‘New Kuznetsk,’ on the west bank, was built in the 1930s and soon outsized its predecessor.
The vast mineral resources of the Kuznetsk basin – namely coal and iron - provide the basis for the recent impressive economic growth. Steel and aluminium are still produced in the same plants where raw materials for approximately half the Russian army’s heavy weaponry were produced during WWII.However, these days the mines and plants are run by private companies which employ a significant percentage of the local population.
Novokuznetsk is an exciting mix of old and new Russia, with its myriad of USSR memorials, impressive Stalinist architecture and shops with the latest world brands in fashion and consumer products. In addition, the famous Russian ski resort of Sheregesh is only 180km away and is a popular weekend destination for locals. Another popular place to visit is the spectacular Altai Mountain range, which is only 300km away.