Angara River

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Coordinates: 52°25′42″N 104°06′18″E / 52.42838°N 104.10507°E / 52.42838; 104.10507

Angara River
Angara River2.jpg
The Angara River at Irkutsk
Physical characteristics
Source Lake Baikal
Mouth Yenisei River
Length 1,779 km (1,105 mi)
 ⁃ average 4,530 m3/s (160,000 cu ft/s)

The Angara River (Buryat and Mongolian: Ангар, Angar, lit. "Cleft"; Russian: Ангара́, Angará) is a 1,779-kilometer-long (1,105 mi) river in Siberia, which traces a course through Russia's Irkutsk Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Krai. It is the river that drains Lake Baikal and is the headwater tributary of the Yenisei River.[1] It was formerly known as the Lower or Nizhnyaya Angara (distinguishing it from the Upper Angara).[2] Below its junction with the Ilim, it was formerly known as the Upper Tunguska (Russian: Верхняя Тунгуска, Verkhnyaya Tunguska, distinguishing it from the Lower Tunguska)[3][4] and, with the names reversed, as the Lower Tunguska.[5]

Leaving Lake Baikal near the settlement of Listvyanka (at 51°52′01″N 104°49′05″E / 51.867°N 104.818°E / 51.867; 104.818), the Angara flows north past the Irkutsk Oblast cities of Irkutsk, Angarsk, Bratsk, and Ust-Ilimsk. It then turns west, enters the Krasnoyarsk Krai, and joins the Yenisei near Strelka (at 58°06′07″N 92°59′28″E / 58.102°N 92.991°E / 58.102; 92.991, 40 kilometres (25 mi) south-east of Lesosibirsk).

Dams and reservoirs

Four dams of major hydroelectric plants - constructed since the 1950s - exploit the waters of the Angara:

The reservoirs of these dams flooded a number of villages along the Angara and its tributaries (including the historic fort of Ilimsk on the Ilim), as well as numerous agricultural areas in the river valley. Due to its effects on the way of life of the rural residents of the Angara valley, dam construction was criticized by a number of Soviet intellectuals, in particular by the Irkutsk writer Valentin Rasputin - both in his novel Farewell to Matyora (1976) and in his non-fiction book Siberia, Siberia (1991).


The Angara at Talzy, near Lake Baikal

The Angara is navigable by modern watercraft on several isolated sections:[6][7][8]

  • from Lake Baikal to Irkutsk
  • from Irkutsk to Bratsk
  • on the Ust-Ilimsk Reservoir
  • from the Boguchany Dam (Kodinsk) to the river's fall into the Yenisei.

The section between the Ust-Ilimsk Dam and the Boguchany Dam has not been navigable due to rapids. However, with the completion of the Boguchany Dam, and filling of its reservoir, at least part of this section of the river will become navigable as well. Nonetheless, this will not enable through navigation from Lake Baikal to the Yenisei, as none of the existing three dams has been provided with a ship lock or a boat lift, nor will the Boguchany Dam have one.

The historical significance of the Angara and the Ilim as water routes is attested by a chain of villages along them (many of which, as well as the town of Ilimsk, were flooded by modern dams) on this map from 1773. Note that the lower course of the Angara is labeled as Nizhnyaya Tunguska – the name which is currently applied to another river

Despite the absence of a continuous navigable waterway, the Angara and its tributary the Ilim were of considerable importance for Russian colonization of Siberia since ca. 1630, when they (and the necessary portages) formed important water routes connecting the Yenisey with Lake Baikal and the Lena River. The river lost its transportation significance after the construction of an overland route between Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk and, later, the Trans-Siberian Railway.


The Angara has the following tributaries: Taseyeva (formed by the merging of rivers Biryusa and Chuna), Irkut, Oka, Iya, Ilim, Kova, Chadobets and Irkeneyeva.

See also



  1. ^ "Angara River". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
  2. ^ EB (1878).
  3. ^ ВЕРХНЯЯ ТУНГУСКА (Verkhnyaya Tunguska, in the dictionary of Russia's place names).
  4. ^ Tunguska, in Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
  5. ^ See, e.g., the 1773 Kitchen map above.
  6. ^ Angara River, southeast-central Russia
  7. ^ Енисейское пароходство: Ангара – судоходство и грузоперевозки (Yenisei Shipping Company: Angara — navigation and cargo shipping) (in Russian)
  8. ^ Особенности движения и стоянки судов по внутренним водным путям Восточно-Сибирского бассейна Archived March 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (Special navigation rules for the internal waterways of the Eastern Siberia Basin) (in Russian)


  • "Upper and Lower Angara" , Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. II, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878, p. 26.

External links

  • Angara River, southeast-central Russia
  • Angara River
  • Angara River photo
  • Map of region showing mouth of Angara River
  • Map book of region showing mouth of Angara River
  • Photo of river and dam
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