- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
313

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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IRKUTSK TO VLADIVOSTOK
313
whom 591,000 were Russians. There is a large number
of Chinese, including all the workers in the gold-mines.
Over the greater part of Transbaikalia the soil is
perpetually frozen. Another characteristic feature is
that on account of the slight covering of snow in winter,
many rivers and lakes often freeze to the bottom. The
mean temperature for the year is between —1° and —4°
C. (30-2° and 24*8° F.) ; the winter is cold, the mean
temperature in January being between —20Q and —28°
C. ( -4° and —18*4° F.) ; but on the other hand the sum
mer is very warm, the mean temperature for July being
between 15° and 20° C. (59° and 68° F.), and as this is the
most important point for cultivation, the conditions
for agriculture and cattle-raising are quite favourable
in many places, in spite of the frozen soil. True, there
is little precipitation (7*B to 11*7 inches), but most of it
occurs in the summer months. The soil in many
places is very good, especially where there is what is
called forest-steppe (i.e., forest alternating with pasture)
with black earth.
As we travelled up the valley it became quite dark,
and we could see nothing of our surroundings. After
leaving the Selengå at the town of Verkhne-Udinsk,
from which there is a cofmexion with the caravan road
southward to Mongolia and China, the railway follows
a tributary, the Udå, for a while, and then commences
the ascent of the slopes of the Yåblonovi Mountains
(i.e. apple mountains ; the same range is also called
the Stanovoi).
Wednesday, October 1. During the night we passed
the Petrovsk iron works, which belong to the Imperial
Cabinet, and in which many prisoners have had hard
times. It was to this place that a number of the
participants in the military revolt of December 14, 1825,
on the accession of the Emperor Nicholas I (the

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