In 1893 the village of Gusevka was founded during the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and ten years later it was already granted town status. It grew quickly for it was the transit point for settlers going into the Atlai area or further on into Siberia. Along the banks of the Rivers Ob and Kamenka wooden houses were springing up like mushrooms and at the point where the railway crossed the Ob both trade and transport encouraged the growth of the town.
The church of St. Alexander Nevsky was a landmark on the Siberian route eastwards and it welcomed new settlers. Novosibirsk has sometimes been compared to an American city for the way its population increased. In 1897 there were 7800 inhabitants, 20 years later 69,000, in 1937 400,000, and now there are over a million. Between 1927-9 alone, nearly 5000 buildings went up in the town.
Local industry took on its first real importance during the early five-year plans of the 1930's, and during World War II industrial plant evacuation from the European part of Russia increased local industry ten times over. Now the city is one of the country's biggest machine-building centers but there is also considerable mettalurgy, chemical, food and light industries.
Since the Academy of Sciences opened its Siberian branch here in 1943 Novosibirsk has been the educational centre of Siberia. It has 13 higher educational establishments. It is also a vital railway junction where the Trans-Siberian joins the lines to the Atlai and Kuzbas areas and is an important river port.
Tourists to Novosibirsk are proudly shown many different things which are record-breakers--the railway station built in the 1930's which is the largest on the Trans-Siberian, the Opera House which is bigger even than Moscow's Bolshoi Theater and one of the country's largest airports. In the Sovietsky Region of the city on the R. Ob is a hydro-power station built in 1950-9 with a total output of 400,000 kilowatts. The Novosibirsk Reservoir is 1070 sq. miles in area, 200 km. long, and 17 km. across at its widest point.
The city itself is Russia's third largest, after Moscow and St. Petersburg. Most of it lies on the right side of the R. Ob and its tributaries, the Kamenka and the Yelsoka, but many new blocks of flats are going up on the left side too, in the industrial part of the city known as the Kirov Region, formerly the village of Krivoschyekovo.
The main thoroughfare is Krasny (Red) Prospect, which crosses the city from the mouth of the Kamenka to the airport. It serves as a shopping street and has administrative and office buildings of the Regional and City Executive Committees, and also the banks and theaters, some of them built here in the early 1930's. The Academy of Sciences and the Drama Theater are both on Lenin St. and from Sovietov Sq., which joins Krasny Prospect, there is a good panoramic view from the high bank of the Ob across the river to the Kirov Region on the left bank.