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|Print version. Published on site Rusnet.NL 18 December 2003
Also called The Urals, Russian Uralsky Khrebet, or Ural, mountain range forming a rugged spine in west-central Russia and the major part of the traditional physiographic boundary between Europe and Asia.
Extending some 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometres) from the bend of the Ural River in the south to the low, severely eroded Pay-Khoy Ridge, which forms a 250-mile (400-kilometre) fingerlike extension to the northern tip of the Urals proper, the mountains constitute the major portion of the Uralian orogenic belt, which stretches 2,175 miles from the Aral Sea to the northernmost tip of Novaya Zemlya.
The Mughalzhar Hills, themselves part of the Uralian orogenic belt, are a broad, arrowhead-shaped southern extension in north-western Kazakstan that form the divide between the Caspian and Aral basins.
The north-south course of the Urals is relatively narrow, varying from about 20 to 90 miles in width, but it cuts across the vast latitudinal landscape regions of the Eurasian landmass, from Arctic waste to semidesert; the Urals also are part of the Ural Economic Region, a highly developed industrial complex closely tied to the mineral-rich Siberian region, and are the home of peoples with roots reaching deep into history.