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Surgut

Posted Monday, April 5th, 2010 at 10:47 am | Comments Off

tower

When I heard that we would travel to Surgut I wanted to know where and what was it like – Andrei says it was a 21/2 hour flight from Yekaterinburg to northwestern Siberia. It is at the end of human development where Russia mines the oil and gas. The name’s meaning something to do with “fish guts” as the large river Ob passes by. So my imagination drew quite a picture of this city. But to my surprise, I was amazed to find a beautiful city within thousands of pine trees and a population of 350,000. The architecture is new, modern and has many glossy headquarters for the various gas and oil companies.

hotel

A small boutique hotel “Catherine’s Yard” was our second surprise. Our 2-story room was decorated in a semi-baroque, turn-of-the-century style which must fit the demands of oil “tycoons.”

bed

The attraction of the city is around oil and most people are transient workers who also have apartments elsewhere in Russia. Oil money brings in lots of famous concert singers and pop stars. The irony is that the oil reserves are located on tribal lands. The biggest company, Surgutneftegas, recently purchased 70 outboard motors and boats to donate to tribal leaders which reminded us of the bitter/sweet relationship our country has had with our First Nation tribes.

As we learned more about the various tribes in area, we discovered that Surgut’s meaning may also be translated into “fish beds” due to all the swamps along the river. No matter what meaning, we were impressed with Surgut.

Hopefully someday in the summertime we will return and explore the surrounding rivers, tiaga and villages. We found that we would love to come back…

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