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Magnitogorsk (English)
Магнитогорск (Russian)
—  Inhabited locality  —
Nasa ww magnitogorsk.png
Satellite Image
Map of Russia - Chelyabinsk Oblast (2008-03).svg
Location of Chelyabinsk Oblast on the map of Russia
Magnitogorsk is located in Chelyabinsk Oblast
Location of Magnitogorsk on the map of Chelyabinsk Oblast
Coordinates: 53°23′N 59°02′E / 53.383°N 59.033°E / 53.383; 59.033Coordinates: 53°23′N 59°02′E / 53.383°N 59.033°E / 53.383; 59.033
Coat of Arms of Magnitogorsk (Chelyabinsk oblast).png
Coat of arms
Flag of Magnitogorsk (Chelyabinsk oblast).svg
Administrative status
Country Russia
Federal subject Chelyabinsk Oblast
Municipal status
Municipal Status Urban okrug
Mayor Evgeniy Karpov
Representative body City Duma
Population (2002 Census) 409,417 inhabitants[1]
Rank 43
Time zone YEKT/YEKST (UTC+5/+6)
Founded 1743
Postal code(s) 455000
Dialing code(s) +7 +7 3519
Official website

Magnitogorsk (Russian: Магнитогóрск, roughly translated as magnet-mountain city) is a mining and industrial city located by the Ural River in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, with one of the largest iron and steel works in the country, Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.

It was named for the Magnitnaya mountain that was almost pure iron, a geological anomaly. Geographically it lies at 53°25′N 58°58′E / 53.417°N 58.967°E / 53.417; 58.967Coordinates: 53°25′N 58°58′E / 53.417°N 58.967°E / 53.417; 58.967, on the eastern (Siberian) side of the extreme southern extent of the Ural Mountains. Population: 418,545 (2002 Census); 440,321 (1989 Census). It is the second largest city in Russia which does not serve as an administrative center of either a federal subject or an administrative division.

Magnitogorsk is located in the Yekaterinburg Time Zone (YEKT/YEKST). The city's postal code is 455000, international dialing code: +7 (3519).



Former coat of arms

The rapid development of Magnitogorsk stood at the forefront of Joseph Stalin's Five-Year Plans in the 1930s. It was a showpiece of Soviet achievement. Huge reserves of iron ore in the area made it a prime location to build a steel plant capable of challenging its Western rivals. However, a large proportion of the workforce, as ex-peasants, typically had few industrial skills and little industrial experience. To solve these issues, several hundred foreign specialists arrived to direct the work, including a team of architects headed by the German Ernst May.

A steel production facility in Magnitogorsk in the 1930s
Magnitogorsk State Technical University

According to original plans Magnitogorsk was to be inspired by Gary, Indiana and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the time the most prominent centers of steel production in the United States. It was to have followed the linear city design, with rows of similar superblock neighborhoods running parallel to the factory, with a strip of greenery - or greenbelt - separating them. Planners would align living and production spheres so as to minimize necessary travel time: workers would generally live in a sector of the residential band closest to the sector of the industrial band in which they worked.

However, by the time that May completed his plans for Magnitogorsk construction of both factory and housing had already started. The sprawling factory and enormous cleansing lakes had left little room available for development, and May, therefore, had to redesign his settlement to fit the modified site. This modification resulted in a city being more "rope-like" than linear. Although the industrial area concentrates on the left bank of the river Ural, and the most residential complexes are separated and located on its right bank, the city inhabitants are still subjected to noxious fumes and factory smoke.

In 1937 foreigners were told to exit and Magnitogorsk was declared a Closed city. There is not much reliable information about events and development of the city during the closed period.

The city played an important role during World War II because it supplied much of the steel for the Soviet war machine and its strategic location near the Ural Mountains meant Magnitogorsk was safe from seizure by the German Army.


Later years

During perestroika the closed city status was removed and foreigners were allowed to visit the city again. Years after perestroika brought a significant change in the life of the city, the Iron and Steel Plant was reorganized as a joint-stock company Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MISW or MMK), which helped with the reconstruction of the railway and building a new airport.

With the depletion of the substantial local iron-ore reserves, Magnitogorsk has to import raw materials from Sokolvsko-Sarbaisky deposit in northern Kazakhstan.


The city is connected by the Magnitogorsk International Airport, and by railway. Public transport includes trams, buses and taxi.

Education and culture

There are three establishments of higher education in Magnitogorsk: Magnitogorsk State Technical University (MSTU), Magnitogorsk State University (MaSU), and Magnitogorsk State Conservatory (MSC). There are also three theatres: Pushkin Drama Theatre (the oldest in the city), the Opera and Ballet House, and the Puppet Theatre.


Metallurg Magnitogorsk is an ice hockey team based in Magnitogorsk, playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins used to play for the club and is a Magnitogorsk native. The town's football team is FC Magnitogorsk. Located in the vicinity of the city, Abzakovo is a popular mountain skiing base built by the MMK (see the URL below).


Magnitogorsk was mentioned in the Blacksmith Institute's 2006 survey of the world's worst polluted cities, placed in the report's unranked list of the 25 most polluted places outside the top ten. Pollutants include lead, sulfur dioxide, heavy metals and other air pollutants. According to the local hospital, only 1% of all children living in the city are in good health. The Blacksmith Institute says that, according to a local newspaper report, "only 28% of infants born in 1992 were healthy, and only 27% had healthy mothers."[2]


  • Scott, John, Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia's City of Steel, Indiana University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-253-20536-0
  • Degtyarev A. G., Letopis' gory Magnitnoy i goroda Magnitogorska, 1993.

The book is about Magnitogorsk, its history and natural resources

Two excellent sources are books by Princeton University Professor Stephen Kotkin. Steeltown, USSR provides a detailed look into Gorbachev era society through a detailed look at all aspects of everyday life in Magnitogorsk. Magnetic Mountain provides a detailed account of the construction of Magnitogorsk and its development through the reign of Stalin.


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Russia : Urals : Chelyabinsk Oblast : Magnitogorsk

Magnitogorsk (Магнитогорск) is a city in Russia. It is named after what was once its chief feature, a mountain that was almost entirely composed of iron ore. the mountain was heavily mined and the iron smelted in Magnitogorsk throughout the 1930s, during the days of Stalin's Five-Year-Plans. The mountain's mines have been mostly exhausted by the present day, but Magnitogorsk still sees heavy smelting activity processing ores from other parts of Russia and former Soviet republics. The years of smelting have taken an ecological toll on the city.

Get in

By Flight

There are two flights per day to Magnitogorsk from Moscow's Vnukovo airport and Domodedovo International Airport (Utair).

By train

There is only one train from Moscow to Magnitogorsk, and on on odd days.

By car

You can reach Magnitogorsk by car by routes M7 or M5 through Ufa.

Stay Safe

Be aware that Magnitogorsk is a heavily polluted town, where it is estimated that only 1% of all children born are born healthy.

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