- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
254

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
254
colonial impression, chiefly no doubt, owing to its low
timber houses, its broad and regular streets and the
flat country. If we except the splendid churches and a
number of other large buildings, it really does not appear
to be any more than a very big village, of the same
kind as those we had seen before. It consists chiefly
of low, square timber houses, sometimes of two stories
but just as often of one; the same low, square roofs of
boards, the same windows, the same enclosed yards
with big gates in front of them—and then these broad
streets. There is space enough here, ground costs
nothing, so why should they not build well away from
one another and make the streets roomy and easier
for driving ; there was no paving that cost any money.
For the most part they seemed to drive over the ground
just as it was before the town was built, and then no
doubt a certain amount of road-metal or gravel had been
laid down. The mud and the ruts were just as deep as
in the villages, only there was not so much cowdung.
Along the side planks were laid down to walk on ;
otherwise walking in these streets on wet days is a
somewhat troublesome business, unless one does not
mind being covered with mud. And for this reason
most people prefer to drive.
The town has about 12,000 inhabitants. From of old
it has been the centre of trade with the northern dis
tricts, and its proximity to the gold-fields, from which
large revenues have poured into the town, has not been
the least important factor in its prosperity. As no
railway touches the town, communication is mostly
by river, southward to Krasnoyarsk and northward to
Turukhansk and beyond. The traffic is considerable,
and there are a number of steamers, besides lighters.
But now there is much talk of a railway to Tomsk,
or else to Achinsk.

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