As we’ve already seen, Siberia is a region of huge contrasts and far from being an entirely barren wasteland, there is a rich and fertile landscape that houses some spectacular natural attractions including Lake Baikal and some impressive mountain ranges.
The geographical split
Essentially, Siberia can be divided into two main regions, the western Siberian plain and the central Siberian plateau. Both are similar in most respects but the difference lies mainly in the natural features of each region.
Location and dimensions
Siberia as a whole accounts for around 75% of Russia’s overall land surface and the central Siberian plateau is situated in the Krasnoyarsk kray region which is in the Irkutsk oblast
The plateau is bordered by the Sayan and Baikal mountain ranges in the east, the Yennisey River in the West and it stretches up to the Putoran mountains in the north.
Overall, the central Siberian plateau measures some 600,000 square miles (1,500,000 square km).
Climate and natural features
The central Siberian plateau has what can be called a continental climate in that is has mild but very short summers that, by contrast are followed by long and extremely cold winters that are in keeping with most peoples’ perception of Siberia as a whole.
Aside from the mountainous areas that prevail in some parts of the plateau, much of the area is covered with conifer trees and by the Siberian Spruce that is indigenous to the overall region.
Outstanding natural sights
The border areas of the plateau supply much of the outstanding areas of natural beauty here and the Putoran Mountains in particular are most spectacular.
The highest mountain in the range is Mount Kamen which reaches 1700 metres at its highest point and in keeping with much of Siberia, the area is rich in mineral deposits. Nickel in particular is one element that can be found in abundance in the Putoran range.
There is also a stunning nature reserve here which was partly set up to protect the world’s largest herd of reindeer.
The Yennisey or Yenisei river is in the middle of three large rivers that flow out of Siberia and into the Arctic Ocean. As with much of Siberia, there is evidence of Gulag based workmanship here including large hydroelectric dams which are used to fuel many industries in Russia.
In keeping with much of Siberia, where there is an average of one person inhabiting every 3 square kilometres of land, the central Siberian plateau is very sparsely populated.
Much of the area here is mountainous or it forms part of the Russian Taiga so there is very little opportunity for large settlements in much of the plateau itself.
As a sparse landscape, the central Siberian plateau is a fascinating region and while it may not appear on many tourist maps, this is an excellent place to come and explore some areas of outstanding natural beauty.