/chi tah"/; Russ. /chyi tah"/, n.
a city in the SE Russian Federation in Asia. 349,000.

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also spelled  Čita 

      city and administrative centre of the former Chita oblast (region), far eastern Russia. In 2008 Chita region merged with Agin-Buryat autonomous okrug (district) to form Zabaykalsky kray (territory).

      The city lies at the confluence of the Chita and Ingoda rivers. It was founded in 1653 as a wintering camp, and a fort was built there in 1690. Chita then became a centre for trade with China, along the caravan route that was later followed by the Chinese Eastern Railroad. The Decembrists (Decembrist), exiled there after a plot in December 1825, developed the town, but a greater spur to its growth was the coming of the Trans-Siberian Railroad to the locality in 1900. The modern city, an industrial and cultural centre of eastern Siberia, has spread from the river valleys up the lower slopes of the Chersky Range. Nearby is the junction of the Trans-Siberian with the former Chinese Eastern Railway to Harbin and Shen-yang (Mukden), opened in 1903. This junction led to the establishment of large locomotive and rolling-stock repair works in the city. Chita also has a machine-building factory and produces textiles, sheepskin, and leather goods and a range of foodstuffs. Lignite is mined in its suburb, Chernovskye Kopi. Pop. (2006 est.) 306,239.

also spelled  Čita 

      former oblast (region), far eastern Russia; in 2008 it merged with Agin-Buryat autonomous okrug (district) to form Zabaykalsky kray (territory). The region is centred on Chita city. Its terrain is marked with a complex series of mountain ranges (principally the Yablonovo), plateaus, valleys, and broad basins. Most of the region is in coniferous forest, chiefly of Dahurian larch; in southern depressions there is forest-steppe and steppe vegetation. The climate is dry and severely continental. Apart from the Buryat peoples there are a few Evenk, but the bulk of the population consists of Russians who settled the area in the mid-17th century. In 1654 Nerchinsk was founded as a major trading centre with China. After the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk (Nerchinsk, Treaty of), which halted the Russian advance down the Amur River, the Chita region remained a frontier area and a place of exile and penal labour for criminals and political prisoners in the silver mines east of Nerchinsk. There was little free settlement until the coming of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in the 1890s. The railway remains the main axis of communication. Today mining and primary-ore processing dominate the economy and include gold (at Baley), tin, tungsten, molybdenum, lead, zinc, fluorspar, lithium, tantalum, and some lignite (brown coal). Timber working is widespread. Petrovsk-Zabaykalsky is a metallurgical centre of regional significance. Agriculture, despite much new plowing in the 1950s, is poorly developed, and livestock raising, especially of sheep, is dominant. Fox and squirrel furs are produced on fur farms. Area 159,300 square miles (412,500 square km). Pop. (2006 est.) 1,128,238.

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Universalium. 2010.

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