Siberia: a Land of Immense Proportions and Striking Natural Beauty

Katun River in SiberiaSiberia (Russian: "Sibir"; from the Tatar word for "sleeping land") is a vast region of Russia and northern Kazakhstan constituting almost all of Northern Asia. It extends eastward from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and southward from the Arctic Ocean to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan and the borders of both Mongolia and China.

With an area of over 3,727,000 square miles, Siberia makes up roughly 75 percent of the total territory of Russia. If Siberia were to secede from Russia, it would be the world's second-largest country, with only Canada being larger. Major geographical zones include the West Siberian Plain and the Central Siberian Plateau.

While more than thirty recognized nationalities live in Siberia, among them Buryats and Mongolians, Siberia still is a vastly underpopulated region mostly consisting of wilderness areas untouched by modern civilization. Many native Siberians still practice nomadic herding (in the northern regions) or live as farmers and hunters in the region's isolated areas. Just imagine this: Siberia is so immense that a person standing on a beach in Maine, USA, is closer to Moscow than a person standing on the Pacific coast of Siberia.

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