Ust-Kut is a town in Irkutsk Oblast
Irkutsk Oblast
Irkutsk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in southeastern Siberia in the basins of Angara River, Lena, and Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. The administrative center is the city of Irkutsk. Population: -History:...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Located on a western loop of the Lena River
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

, it spreads out over 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) along the left bank, near the point where the Kuta River
Kuta River
The Kuta River is a Siberian river north of Lake Baikal in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, that flows into the Lena River at Ust-Kut. With its right tributary, the Kupa River, it forms a ‘T’ shape with the flat head pointing west and the point at Ust-Kut....

 joins from the west. The town's name means 'mouth of the river Kuta' in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, with the name Kuta coming from an Evenk
Evenk language
Evenki is the largest member of the northern group of Tungusic languages, a group which also includes Even, Negidal, and Oroqen language...

 word meaning peat bog. Population:


It was founded in 1631 by Siberian Cossack ataman
Ataman was a commander title of the Ukrainian People's Army, Cossack, and haidamak leaders, who were in essence the Cossacks...

 Ivan Galkin, who built an ostrog
Ostrog (fortress)
Ostrog was a Russian term for a small fort, typically wooden and often non-permanently manned. Ostrogs were encircled by 4-6 metres high palisade walls made from sharpened trunks. The name derives from the Russian word строгать , "to shave the wood". Ostrogs were smaller and exclusively military...

 (fort) there. The ostrog's military importance declined in the latter half of the 17th century; however, the settlement was increasingly important as a river port, becoming one of the main starting points for trade along the Lena
Siberian River Routes
Siberian River Routes were the main ways of communication in the Russian Siberia before the 1730s, when roads began to be built. The rivers also were of primary importance in the process of Russian exploration and colonisation of vast Siberian territories...


Mineral springs to the west of the town were reportedly discovered as early as the 17th century by Yerofey Khabarov
Yerofey Khabarov
Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov or Svyatitsky Erofej Pavlovič Chabarov , was a Russian entrepreneur and adventurer, best known for his exploring the Amur river region and his attempts to colonize the area for Russia...

, a spa town
Spa town
A spa town is a town situated around a mineral spa . Patrons resorted to spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word comes from the Belgian town Spa. In continental Europe a spa was known as a ville d'eau...

 was built at the site in 1925.

Ust-Kut also served as a destination for political exile around 1900, including Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....


In 1951, the railway from Tayshet
Tayshet is a town and a railroad junction in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. Population: Here the Baikal Amur Mainline begins, branching northeast from the Trans-Siberian Railway...

 reached Ust-Kut. The town thus became the first and only river port on the Lena served by the railway, and an important railhead through which cargoes could travel to and from the locations along the Lena, such as most of Yakutia. Ust-Kut was given town status in 1954, with the merger of the original settlement of Ust-Kut and the river port suburb of Osetrovo.

Ust-Kut remained the end of the line until 1974, when construction work started to extend the railway, now known as the Baikal Amur Mainline, east toward the Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

 and beyond. The town became the headquarters of the construction of the western section of the BAM.

Economy and infrastructure

Ust-Kut's economy relies mainly on its position as a transport hub, with the connection of road and rail transport with river traffic on the Lena. During the summer months, passenger ferries depart downriver from Ust-Kut to Yakutsk
With a subarctic climate , Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from in July to in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast...

 and Tiksi
Tiksi is an urban locality and the administrative center of Bulunsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia, situated on the Arctic Ocean coast. Population: It is one of the principal ports for accessing the Laptev Sea...

. There is a road bridge over the river in Ust-Kut.

There are also shipyards and food production in the town.

Ust-Kut is spread along the BAM with multiple stations, including the smaller Ust-Kut station and the actual main station Lena near the river port in Osetrovo. At the small settlement of Yakurim a few kilometers further, the railway crosses the Lena via a 500m bridge, currently the last bridge across the river for its entire length.

It is served by the Ust-Kut Airport
Ust-Kut Airport
- Accidents and incidents :*On 5 March 1970, Lisunov Li-2 CCCP-58340 of Aeroflot was damaged beyond economic repair when it departed the runway on take-off....

, located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) northwest of the city center.

External links

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