Abakan

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Abakan (Russian: Абака́н; Khakas: Ағбан) is the capital city of the Republic of Khakassia in Russia. It is located in the central part of Minusinsk Depression, at the confluence of the Yenisei and Abakan Rivers, at approximately the same latitude as Hamburg and Minsk. Population: 165,197 (2002 Census);[1] 159,000 (1994 est.).

Contents

History

Abakan stockaded town (Абаканский острог) was built at this location in 1675, also known as Abakansk. In the Russian Empire, it was a part of Yeniseysk Governorate. During 1823–1931 the grown settlement was known as Ust-Abakanskoye, 1914–1925: Abakan, 1925–1931: Khakassk. It received the status of town and its current name in 1931.

Chinese exiles

In 1940, Russian construction workers found ancient ruins during the construction of a highway between Abakan and the nearby district center village of Askyz (Аскыз). When the site was excavated by Soviet archaeologists during 1941-45, they realized that they had discovered a building absolutely unique for the area: a large (1500 square meters) Chinese-style, likely Han Dynasty era palace. The identity of the high-ranking personage who lived luxuriously in Chinese style, far outside of the borders of the Han Empire, has remained a matter for discussion ever since. Russian archaeologist L.A. Evtyukhova surmised, based on circumstancial evidence, that the palace may have been the residence of Li Ling, a Chinese general who had been defeated by the Xiongnu in 99 BC, and defected to them as a result.[3] While this opinion has remained popular, other views have been expressed as well. More recently, for example, it was claimed by A.A. Kovalyov as the residence of Lu Fang (盧芳), a Han throne pretender from the Guangwu era.[4]

Lithuanian exiles

In the late eighteenth and during the nineteenth century, Lithuanian participants in the 1794, 1830–1831, and 1863 rebellions against the Russian czarist rule were exiled to Abakan. A group of camps was established, and prisoners were forced to work in the coal mines. After Stalin's death, Lithuanian exiles from the nearby settlements moved in[5]

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