Novosibirsk (Russian: Новосибирск; IPA: [nəvəsʲɪˈbʲirsk]) is the third most populous city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg and the most populous city in Asian Russia, with a population of 1,473,754 (2010 Census). It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District. The city is located in the southwestern part of Siberia on the banks of the Ob River and occupies an area of 502.1 square kilometers (193.9 sq mi).
Novosibirsk, founded in 1893 at the future site of a Trans-Siberian Railway bridge crossing the great Siberian river of Ob, first received the name Novonikolayevsk (Новониколаевск), in honor both of Saint Nicholas and of the reigning Tsar Nicholas II in place of Krivoshchekovskaya village, was founded in 1696. The bridge was completed in the spring of 1897, making the new settlement the regional transport hub. The importance of the city further increased with the completion of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway in the early 20th century. The new railway connected Novosibirsk to Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.
At the time of the bridge's opening, Novonikolayevsk hosted a population of 7,800 people. Its first bank opened in 1906, with a total of five banks operating by 1915. In 1907, Novonikolayevsk, now with a population exceeding 47,000, was granted town status with full rights for self-government. The pre-revolutionary period saw the population of Novosibirsk reach 80,000. During this period the city experienced steady and rapid economic growth, becoming one of the largest commercial and industrial centers of Siberia and developing a significant agricultural processing industry, as well as a power station, iron foundry, commodity market, several banks, and commercial and shipping companies. By 1917, Novosibirsk possessed seven Orthodox churches and one Roman Catholic church, several cinemas, forty primary schools, a high school, a teaching seminary, and the Romanov House non-classical secondary school. In 1913, Novonikolayevsk became one of the first places in Russia to institute compulsory primary education.
The Russian Civil War took a toll on the city, with wartime epidemics, especially typhus and cholera, claiming thousands of lives. In the course of the war the Ob River Bridge was destroyed and for the first time in its history the population of Novonikolayevsk began to decline. The Soviet Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies of Novonikolayevsk took control of the city in December 1917. In May 1918, the Czechoslovak Legions rose in opposition to the revolutionary government and, together with the White Guards, captured Novonikolayevsk. The Red Army took the city in 1919, retaining it throughout the rest of the Civil War.
Novonikolayevsk began reconstruction in 1921 at the start of Lenin's New Economic Policy. It was a part of Tomsk Governorate and served as its administrative center from December 23, 1919 to March 14, 1920. Between June 13, 1921 and May 25, 1925, it served as the administrative center of Novonikolayevsk Governorate, which was separated from Tomsk Governorate. The city was given its present name on September 12, 1926.