About Setting: The Ural Mountains

Perhaps this tank I photographed in Zhytomyr, Ukraine
was built in Tankograd, aka Chelyabinsk

I haven’t been to the Ural Mountains, but it’s on my wish list. The mountain range forms the border between Europe and Asia. During the Second World War, Stalin moved his major industries more than 1700 kilometers east of Moscow to the mountains, (about the same distance as Winnipeg to the Rockies) in order to protect his war machine factories from the Nazi invasion. Today, we know Tankograd as Chelyabinsk . . . still a major industrial complex.

Not only did the Ural Mountains offer a natural protection from invaders, but the Urals are rich in minerals—especially the coal needed for creating electricity to run the factories. Other minerals mined in the area include gold, diamonds, platinum and copper. 

Canadian Mountains
for a Canadian Goose

But besides war-machine industries, the Ural Mountains are rich in natural beauty . . .a place for adventure tourists. Here’s a quick comparison of the Ural Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.

The Rockies run about 2500 km, north to south. The Urals? About the same, also north to south.

Highest peak in the Urals? Mount Payer at 1472 meters in the far north. Highest peak in the Rockies? Mount Albert at 4400 meters in Colorado.  Highest peak in Europe? Mont Blanc at 4800 meters.

Age difference? The Urals are old! 250-300 million years vs. Rockies at 55-80 million years. That might explain the height difference.

Besides my mom’s unfortunate time as a POW in the Urals, two other events highlight the area for me. One, the Chelyabinsk meteor crash in 2013 and two, the 1959 Dyatlov Pass mystery, which was finally solved and shared in January, 2021. 

For me, the Urals—part of Crow Stone’s setting—must remain a second-hand experience for now. At least I’ve been to the Rockies, to the Alps, and have had a generous dose of cold winters . . . the rest I’ve had to mine from books and my mom’s memories. 


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