Ufa is the Russian city and the capital of Bashkortostan. The population of the city exceeds one million people. Ufa is located in a mouth of the rivers Ufa and the Dema where they are connected with the river Belaya. The city is divided into seven administrative districts.
According to the archeological excavations, the territory of modern Bashkortostan was occupied by ancient tribes as far back as the days of Paleolithic. Archeologists continue to find stone working instruments, the wooden and bone weapon, it testifies that the main occupation of the ancient people was hunting. Finds of later period speak about frequent attacks on tribes. Possibly, it was the reason that people preferred to settle down on the banks of the rivers.
One of the ancient settlements, named «the Devil's site of ancient settlement» was found on the bank of the river Ufa. The excavation of this place showed, that town-dwellers grew up pets, also they were engaged in agriculture and hunting. A lot of preserved weapon and powerful fortifications of ancient settlement prove the theory about frequent attacks on this territory.
At the third century AD the nomadic tribes, that distinguished themselves by aggression, began to occupy this territory. As a result, tribes living here (more often they are named ancient bashkiry) had to leave their settlements. Only few of them ventured to remain on their places. During several centuries the territory remained without any population, there were the settlements of farmers and cattle-farmers but very seldom. The nomads moved about on the rest of the territory.
The colonization of modern Bashkiria began in the thirteenth century. Local tribes were subdued by Tatar-Mongolians approximately at the beginning of 1220s. Martial nomads created the settlements and outposts in the southern part of Zauralye that facilitated them a task of further conquering the new territories. The local population tried to return the lands to itself for several times, that’s why the battles with Mongols often happened. In the fourteenth century Bashkirs had an opportunity to found new settlements in the territory of former ones.
After disintegrating the Golden Horde on khanates, Bashkiria was divided between three of them. In the middle of the sixteenth century the first Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible ordered to seize the Kazan khanate. In 1552 the khanate’s capital was conquered, and the local population had to submit the Russian tsar. The Bashkirs who depended earlier on the Kazan khan, also acted in such way. In 1557 Bashkirs acquired the right to possess the land and to get the Russian tsar’s defense.
In 1574 the leader of the Russian armies sent for protection the Bashkir, ordered to construct a military fortress on the bank of the river Belaya. In 1579 near to a fortress the stone church of Our Holy Lady of Smolensk was constructed. By 1586 the formed settlement was surrounded with the small wooden Kremlin and three watchtowers. The Kremlin became a basis of the future city Ufa. The initial name of the settlement was «Imen Kala», that meant «the Oak city» in translation from the Bashkir language. Such name appeared because all buildings inside the Kremlin, walls and towers of the Kremlin were constructed of the oak.
The name "Ufa" appeared in 1586, according to one of the hypotheses, Bashkirs use the name of the river to call the settlement. In the same year Ufa received the status of the administrative centre of Bashkiria. In spite of it, the city continued to function only as a frontier fortress. The population consisted of Russian army’s soldiers, but Bashkirs who accepted Orthodoxy also lived in the city.
In the seventeenth century the city was surrounded with new settlements. For example, right at the beginning of the century the village New Suburb (it was renamed later in the village «Bogorodskoe») was founded. Approximately at the same time, one more settlement, which soon became a part of the city, was formed near to the walls of the Kremlin. Later on, the village Chernikovka was formed, Ivan Chernikov became its founder; he arrived at Ufa on the tsar’s order to serve. Thus, during one and a half centuries (till the middle of the eighteenth century) Ufa expanded, the new houses and settlements arose around the city.
In the middle of the seventeenth century the city Ufa received the status of the center of Bashkiria, thus, Ufa began to be engaged in regulating all political and economic questions. Voivod was at the head of the government. This post was nominated by the Moscow tsar. Voivods were sent to Ufa for the term of three years, and then the new person was nominated. The situation was changed in the middle of the eighteenth century when the Orenburg province was created. Ufa was included into its structure, and all rights concerning of the province’s operating were taken off from the city. In 1722 the municipal regulatory body – magistrate, which was engaged in proceedings and economic questions, was created in Ufa.
In 1759 there was the strongest fire which destroyed the most part of the city. The reason of a fire became a lightning which hit directly in a tower of the Kremlin. The fire passed on the adjoining constructions, as a result, several city’s districts (more than two hundred houses) burnt to the ground.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Ufa actively developed. A lot of new houses arose. It was the reason of confusions because new buildings were situated out of the development’s plan. As a result, in 1819 there was a first approved plan of the city’s reconstruction according to which, Ufa must extend. In the first half of the eighteenth century the fine buildings which were preserved till our time, for example, the House of the governor and a building of Nobiliary assembly, were constructed.
In the nineteenth century active development of the industry began in Ufa. The main branch was leather working. In 1870 the branch of the railway passed through Ufa and the regular navigation on the river Belaya was opened. In this connection there began the development of shipbuilding, mechanical engineering and wood working. At the end of the nineteenth and at the beginning of the twentieth centuries the city was large industrial centre of Bashkiria. In Ufa over 30 plants and factories were opened. In the middle of the twentieth century oil was found in the bashkir territory. The Ufa oil refinery which brought huge profits was constructed at once. Nowadays, in Ufa three oil refinery work. The city continues to actively develop.
Read also on our website
The National Museum of Republic Bashkortostan|