Birobidzhan, Russia

Description of Birobidzhan

Birobidzhan is the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region, one of the smallest regional centers and the only city in Russia where the names are duplicated in Yiddish, although there are almost no Jews left here, and in previous years there were few of them. It is interesting from an ethnographic point of view according to the principle "whatever happens in the world." There are practically no significant sights in Birobidzhan.

Birobidzhan grew out of the Tikhonkaya station, built on the Trans-Siberian in 1912. The transformation of the station settlement into a city took place in the early 1930s due to the creation of the Jewish Autonomous Region here. At the same time, the name was given in the local spirit, along the river Bira flowing in the city (“bidzhan” in translation from Tungus means “camping ground”). Features and consequences of the creation of the Jewish Autonomous Region are described in more detail in the corresponding article. For Birobidzhan, this meant that settlers suddenly came to an empty place, active construction began in the city, and with it cultural life, which, however, quickly ended due to repressions and the return of most settlers to the European part of Russia. For example, part of the Jewish theater of Solomon Mikhoels, which moved to Birobidzhan from Moscow in the mid-40s, successfully dissolved, and the theater was closed for ideological reasons and due to low demand among the local population. Writer Emmanuil Kazakevich, who arrived in Birobidzhan in 1931, left already in 1938, fleeing repression. The Jews who remained in Birobidzhan safely left for Israel in the late 80s, so now the share of Jews in the population is about 1%, and even in the best, pre-war years, it reached only 21%.

Of course, there is nothing Jewish in the city except for a couple of synagogues, a cultural center and a non-kosher (!) Jewish restaurant. Some official inscriptions are duplicated in Yiddish, but it is at least naive to expect the inhabitants of the city to know any language other than Russian. Several city buildings are listed as architectural monuments, although it is clear that by definition there can be nothing older than Soviet architecture here, and modern architecture is absent due to the small size and insignificance of the city on a Russian scale. The basis of the local industry was the Dalselmash plant, which produced combines. Now it is closed and destroyed, the city's economy is based on light industry. However, Birobidzhan looks quite prosperous, calm and very well-groomed, impresses with beautiful parks and an abundance of greenery. It is pleasant to walk here, although, to be honest, there is nothing outstanding.


Getting in

By plane
The regional airport of Birobidzhan "Yellow Yar" is closed and abandoned. The nearest airport is in Khabarovsk, from where it is best to travel to Birobidzhan by train.

By train
All trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway stop in Birobidzhan: 3-4 times a day to Vladivostok (15 hours), once a day to Blagoveshchensk (11-12 hours), 3 times a day westward to Chita, Irkutsk and more 2 times a day to the north, to Neryungri and Chegdomyn. Any train heading east will take you to Khabarovsk (2 hours), but a ticket at a reasonable price can only be taken in a common car, which is not always and not everywhere. For local trips to Volochaevka or Khabarovsk, it is better to use electric trains (3 times a day, 2 hours and 15 minutes), one of which is called the Erofey Khabarov Express and has two classes of cars: with ordinary benches and with easy chairs. Tickets at a suburban rate, but for some reason with an indication of the seats. There are also electric trains to the west, to Obluchye (2 times a day, 3.5 hours).

1  Railway station (Birobidzhan-I), st. Kalinina, 10. ☎ +7 (42622) 9-17-00. around the clock. Located in the very center of Birobidzhan. Above, the inscription "Birobidzhan" in Russian and Yiddish, but the inscription "Station" (from the side of the city) is no longer duplicated. Upon entering the building, you will enter a central hall with a small amount of seating, a newsstand and a pies stand. To the right is a small ticket office, to the left is a corridor leading to the lounges (tel. +7 (42622) 9-16-05) and a superior waiting room.
There are three dining options: Cafe Express in the station building (09:00–23:00) is a small but rather pleasant canteen with hot food and glass tables. To the left of the station (when viewed from the city) is the Strela canteen (Mon–Fri 8:00–20:00, Sat–Sun 8:00–18:00), where food is about the same, but more spacious and more primitive setting. Finally, Prokhlada, located to the right of the station (Mon–Sat 8:00–29:00, Sun 8:00–18:00), offers salads and inedible hot meals, as well as good locally made cakes. Prices are low everywhere, 50-70 rubles for a hot dish. A 24-hour grocery supermarket is located across the street.

By car
The highway M58 "Amur" (Chita - Khabarovsk) passes through Birobidzhan, 180 km to Khabarovsk, 470 km to Blagoveshchensk. You can also come from China by crossing the Amur in Nizhneleninsky or Amurzet (see Jewish Autonomous Region).

By bus
Bus service in Birobidzhan is poorly developed. Buses mostly run inside the Jewish Autonomous Region, they are absolutely useless for getting into the city. In the direction of Khabarovsk, there are only 6-7 buses per day (2.5-3 hours on the way), one of which then goes to Komsomolsk-on-Amur (9.5 hours). Also, a night bus Khabarovsk-Blagoveshchensk passes through Birobidzhan.

2  Bus station, st. Kalinina, 4. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-95-39, +7 (42622) 6-07-71. 6:00–21:00. The bus station is located 200 m from the railway station, small and uncomfortable. Inside there are 3 rows of 6 seats, cash desks, several kiosks and a snack bar "Minute" (6:00 - 21:00) with warmed pies and disgusting-looking hot food.
Minibuses around the region depart from a small area to the left of the station, next to the monument to the first settlers.


Getting around

Getting around in Birobidzhan is easy. The railroad runs parallel to the river. Approximately in the middle between them is Sholom Aleichem Street - the central street, at the beginning of which there is a pedestrian part, often referred to as "Arbat". A wide boulevard (Gorky and Oktyabrskaya streets) is located perpendicularly, starting from the station and leading to the Philharmonic - this is the city center. You can walk it on foot in 15 minutes, and in half an hour you can easily get from the center to the outskirts.

The main city transport is PAZiki, the routes of which one way or another converge in the center, at the railway station. Travel 15 rubles (2013), payment to the conductor. Routes and timetables.



1 New synagogue, st. Lenina, 19. Built in 2004 with the support of international Jewish organizations. This is quite an ordinary stone building, enclosed by a fence with curious decorations in the form of a menorah with a bunch of grapes. On the same territory is the building of the religious community "Freud" (also new) and a memorial stone in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. In front of the fence is a sculpture of a man resembling a rabbi, who either drinks something from a long horn, or blows a horn - more precisely, a traditional Jewish shofar.
2  Old synagogue, st. Mayakovsky, 9. Located in the eastern part of the city, its origin is unknown. In fact, this is an ordinary one-story wooden house, on which six-pointed stars are hung. The territory is fenced with a wooden fence, inside there is even something like a pool for ablution. Probably, the synagogue itself is not very old, and before it was an ordinary private house, but when exactly it became a synagogue, no one knows for sure. It seems that such synagogues existed in Birobidzhan even under Soviet rule, being in a semi-legal position and moving from house to house. Now the old synagogue belongs to the Litvak movement, in contrast to the new synagogue, where the Hasidim settled.
3  Station and station square, st. Kalinina, 10. The station was built in 1935, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city. There is something of constructivism in its chopped forms, but it is difficult to make an exact attribution of style here. The pre-war architecture of the Far East is generally quite unusual, and in some places even original, and the Birobidzhan railway station is an excellent example of this special Far Eastern tradition. Pay attention to the semicircular elements on the facade, above the entrance - it's hard to say what the author was oriented towards, but there is a passing resemblance to the decor of the synagogue. The sculptures on the forecourt square date back to modern times: this is a menorah with a fountain in the center of the square and a monument to the first settlers sitting on a cart with a horse harnessed to it, standing a little further away. The cart is going east, but evil tongues still claim that the monument is dedicated to those settlers who despaired, packed their bags and decided to go back to the west.
4  City building, st. Lenina, 29. Built in 1934. Along with the station, this is one of the first stone buildings in the city. According to the plaque, the architecture of the building has "elements of the Bauhaus style." However, from afar, it looks more like ordinary constructivism.
5 Editorial office of the newspaper "Birobidzhanskaya Zvezda", st. Lenina, 30. The building was built in 1938 in the spirit of neoclassicism. Quite ordinary Stalinist architecture of the pre-war period. The newspaper itself, published since the beginning of the 1930s and still in print, is published in two languages, Russian and Yiddish. In Soviet times, it was an important tool in the ideological struggle, demonstrating the imaginary equality of fraternal peoples.
6  Monument to Sholom Aleichem, corner of Sholom Aleichem and Pushkin streets. The monument stands at the very beginning of the pedestrian street, named after Sholom Aleichem, by the way. Interestingly, the monument appeared only in 2004, but the street was renamed back in the late 1940s. Of course, Sholom Aleichem had never been to Birobidzhan and could not even guess about its existence, and the writer's heroes would hardly have come here, but the name of Sholom Aleichem is very honored here. On the pedestal are bas-reliefs with scenes from the writer's books.
Embankment of the river Bira


What to do

Museum of Local Lore, st. Lenina, 25. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-83-21. Wed–Thursday 10:00–18:00, Fri 10:00–17:00, Sat–Sun 9:00–17:00, lunch 13:00–14:00. 60 rubles (2013). The museum consists of 6 rooms. On the first floor there are a couple of stone finds from the Jurchen Empire, a rather visual map of the advance of Russian pioneers to the Far East, a nature hall with stuffed animals, a diorama of the Volochaev battle (see Volochaevka) and an exhibition of ritual Jewish objects of unknown origin. On the second floor there are three historical halls with photographs and documents. You won’t learn a lot here (and the museum staff don’t really know anything), but you can understand the context: who went to Birobidzhan in the 1930s, what ideological guidelines it was accompanied by, and how it ended.
Museum of Modern Art, st. Sholom Aleichem, 11 (House of Culture). ☎ +7 (42622) 2-34-85. In the context of Birobidzhan, the collection “The Old Testament through the Eyes of Contemporary Artists” looks curious, but they say that it is not always possible to see it: the museum has only one room with changing exhibitions, and everything is shown there.
House of Culture, st. Sholom Aleichem, 11. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-62-88. Concerts and celebrations.
Cinema "Rodina", st. October, 7. ☎ +7 (42622) 2-30-52. Looks very modern.
Philharmonic, pr. 60th anniversary of the USSR, 14. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-72-85.



Book house, st. Dimitrova, 5. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-80-33.
Bookstore, st. Pushkina, 8. Mon–Fri 9:00–18:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00.
Rynok, The quarter between the pedestrian part of Sholom Aleichem Street and Oktyabrskaya Street. It is a rare case when the entrance to the city market is located right on the central pedestrian street. Inside, a fairly typical picture: a covered pavilion with fish / meat, rows of tables from which they sell vegetables, fruits and all kinds of forest gifts, as well as a predominantly Chinese flea market. Scattered around the market are several cafe-canteens that are not of the most attractive appearance.
TSUM, st. Sholom Aleichem, 5. 10:00–21:00. A shopping center with many small shops selling clothes, shoes and, to a lesser extent, household goods. On the top, fourth floor, there is the Gulliver entertainment center, inside which children's attractions, board games and a good cafe are hidden (see Food). In the same place, but outside the entertainment center, a characteristic Birobidzhan cafeteria with traditional cakes, edible salads and dubious-looking hot food.
Shopping center "Giant", st. Sovetskaya, 58. 10:00–21:00. This shopping center will meet you next to the old synagogue. Its main part is the grocery supermarket "Samberi" - perhaps the largest in Birobidzhan.
TC "Megapolis", st. Sholom Aleichema, 6. Mon–Fri 10:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–18:00. By analogy with the Central Department Store, I would like to say “GUM”, but Birobidzhan still did not dare to use such a loud name, although it would be appropriate here: “Megapolis” is the same Central Department Store, only more modern and chic. As of 2013, part of the retail space is empty, there are no public catering outlets. They only sell clothes and sportswear.



If you have read this far, then you probably understand that looking for traditional Jewish food in Birobidzhan is like going out into the street and addressing passers-by in Yiddish. Traces of national flavor are present in the Simha cafe, which is definitely worth a visit, but if for some reason you need kosher food, even this cafe will not be able to satisfy your requests.

From typical and no longer at all national food, locally produced cakes attract attention, which are literally everywhere: in every diner, canteen, cafe. These cakes are neither low in calories, nor delicate in taste, nor refined in appearance, but they have a certain touch of “old fashion” and are quite typical for small provincial towns in any part of Russia.

1  Sandgasty, st. Sholem Aleichem, 4. 10:00–20:00. From 100 rubles (2013). Subway-style sandwich cafe with almost no seating. The cost of a sandwich is determined by its length.
2 Cafe PitStop, pr. 60th Anniversary of the USSR, 3. ☎ +7 (42622) 2-28-09. 9:00–21:00. Inexpensive restaurant in the city center.
Cafe "Atmosfera", st. Oktyabrskaya, 7 (cinema "Rodina"). 10:00–24:00. The proximity to the cinema leaves its mark: the food here is mainly hamburgers and wraps - what you can quickly eat before a session. However, for those who want to sit in the cafe, there are also pancakes, cute desserts and coffee. Wi-Fi announced.
3 Cafe Kakadu, st. Sholom Aleichem, 9. ☎ +7 (42622) 4-61-80. 10:00–22:00. Hamburgers: 60–70 rubles (2013). Fast food in the center, on the pedestrian street. Looks unattractive, the menu is reduced to hamburgers, chicken fingers and fries.
4 Cafe "Crossroads", st. Sholom Aleichem, 33. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-14-95. Good city dining-cooking with a large selection of local pastries. Food is served in disposable plastic dishes.
Cafe Far Far Away Kingdom, st. Sholom Aleichem, 5 (TsUM, 4th floor). 10:20–30:00. Hot dishes: 100–150 rubles (2013). A cozy cafe located in the entertainment center on the 4th floor of the Central Department Store (not to be confused with the cheaper and much more miserable cafeteria next door). The menu includes several hot dishes, pancakes, inexpensive cocktails. They brew coffee. edit
Also pay attention to the canteens near the station (see How to get there), they have cheap and quite decent food.

Average cost
5  Cafe felicita  , st. Lenina, 15. ☎ +7 (924) 645-70-70. 10:00–24:00. Pasta, salads: 200–300 rubles; pizza: 300–400 rubles (2013). Italian cuisine in assortment. It cannot be said that pasta is cooked here masterfully, but the atmosphere is very pleasant.
6 Cafe-bistro "Ani", Komsomolskaya st. At first glance, this is an eatery with rather high prices. If the name is to be believed, the food must be Armenian. In fact, everything is served here: dolma, pilaf, shurpa and khinkali - it turns out something like a teahouse of Uzbek-Caucasian friendship.
7 "Diamant" cafe, st. Miller, 8 (center). ☎ +7 (42622) 4-07-95. Chinese cuisine.
8   Cafe "Simha", st. Lenina, 19 (next to the synagogue). 10:00–23:00. Hot dishes: 200–300 rubles (2013). Non-kosher Jewish cuisine, which perfectly matches the general state of the Jewish heritage in Birobidzhan. The menu is illustrated with jokes about Jews, the food is mostly ordinary Russian, but all the characteristic Jewish dishes have been added for color - gefillte fish, forshmak, tsimes. The interior is quite modern, although menorahs are also present. On the ground floor there is a "children's cafe", that is, a small coffee shop with an assortment of cakes. In general, this is a very colorful place, so if you have already reached Birobidzhan, you should eat here.
9 Cafe-bakery "Burekas", st. Pioneer, 78a (residential area on the western outskirts). ☎ +7 (42622) 2-51-76. 10:00–22:00. Hot dishes: 200–300 rubles (2013). A nice coffee shop serving, among other things, Arabic dishes that the locals for some reason consider Jewish cuisine, although they at best belong to the modern Israeli tradition, but in no way to Birobidzhan Jews: falafel, hummus, kebabs and shawarma - this set is for Birobidzhan very unusual.
10  Coffee house "Penal", st. Sholom Aleichem, 43. 8:00–22:00. Cakes: from 100 rubles, hot food: 200–300 rubles (2013). Neither the size of Birobidzhan, nor the nature of the local population suggests the existence of a coffee shop in the city, and yet it does exist: quite small, only six or seven tables, but very cozy, with nice wrought-iron furniture and good coffee, which is accompanied by delicious cakes (probably , non-local production) and an assortment of soups, salads, pasta and other hot dishes typical for Russian coffee houses. WiFi.

Restaurant "Korea House", st. Sholom Aleichem, 121 (western outskirts). ☎ +7 (42622) 3-54-05. Good feedback.
Restaurant "Teatralny", pr. 60th anniversary of the USSR, 14 (Philharmonia). ☎ +7 (42622) 4-00-26. Sun–Thursday 12:00–24:00, Fri–Sat 12:00–3:00.
Restaurant "Harbin", st. Sovetskaya, 64 (in the southern part of the city). ☎ +7 (42622) 4-49-87. Sun–Thursday 12:00–24:00, Fri–Sat 12:00–1:00. Hot dishes: from 300 rubles (2013). One of the few Chinese restaurants. Prices are higher than the average for Birobidzhan. You can come in for the sake of color and eat Chinese dumplings, which are relatively inexpensive here.


Night life

Royal Club, pr. 60th anniversary of the USSR, 14B (square in front of the Philharmonic). 19:00–7:00.
XO Club  , pr. 60th Anniversary of the USSR, 3. ☎ +7 (42622) 2-21-20. 🕑 Fri–Sat 20:00–5:00.



Hotel "Barberry", st. Combine builders, 16 (on the western outskirts). ☎ +7 (42622) 7-07-88, +7 (924) 747-08-08, +7 (914) 815-88-60. Double room: from 2500 rubles (2013). From the center 10 minutes by bus or half an hour on foot. A new hotel in an unremarkable two-story building surrounded by wooden barracks and silicate three-story buildings. Inside, however, it is clean and beautiful, there is a sauna and its own cafe. For cheap accommodation, there is a six-bed "economy" room for 6,000 rubles, but it is not known whether it works in hostel mode.
Hotel "Vostok", st. Sholom Aleichem, 1. ☎ +7 (42622) 6-53-30. Double room: 3500 rubles (2013). Central hotel in Birobidzhan. Despite the recent renovation, the rooms look rather modest. The guests are generally satisfied, but the prices are frankly overpriced by the standards of Birobidzhan. Wi-Fi works, but not everywhere.
Hotel "Nika", st. Pioneer, 75-b. ☎ +7 (42622) 3-38-38.
Rest rooms at the railway station, st. Kalinina, 10. ☎ +7 (42622) 9-16-05. 430 rubles / person (2009). According to rumors, the conditions are not bad. Shower for a fee.
Station square is covered with advertisements for daily rent of apartments.



Post Office, 16, 60th Anniversary of the USSR Ave. Mon–Fri 9:00–21:00, Sat–Sun 9:00–18:00. Two computers with internet access.


Precautionary measures

During the day, Birobidzhan looks like a completely calm city, although tourists here, obviously, are infrequent, and therefore a person with a camera will cause some surprise. What happens in the evening is not known for certain (and it’s not a fact that it’s worth spending the night in Birobidzhan), but it’s probably better to be careful. In this sense, Birobidzhan is similar to the average Russian regional center, where usually everyone drinks on their own, and no one cares about you, but imprudent behavior along with excessive drinking by locals can lead to trouble.


History of Birobidzhan

The emergence of the city

The history of the city begins in 1912, when the State Duma of the 4th convocation decided to settle the territories along the railway strip of the Amur railway. Initially, the Tikhonkaya station was opened, which got its name from the settlement that existed at this place - Tikhonkoy's Sopka.

A settlement was founded at the station, which in 1928 was transformed into the working settlement of Tikhonkaya-Station. By 1928, 623 people lived in the village, there were 237 scattered village houses, an elementary school, a post office and a cooperative shop were built. The village of Tikhonkaya was the base for receiving immigrants and supplying the resettlement area.

In March 1928, a resolution was adopted by the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR on assigning to KomZET (Committee for the Land Management of Jewish Workers) for the needs of the continuous settlement of free lands by working Jews in the Amur strip of the Far Eastern Territory. The decision of the Soviet government to choose Tikhonkaya station for Jewish settlement was determined by many factors. The main one was the intention to strengthen the borders of the Soviet Far East due to the proximity of Japan and the possible invasion of the Chinese. The settlement of this region became especially important for the USSR after the Soviet-Chinese conflict in 1929 and the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in 1931. In the late 1920s and early 1930s. the Soviet government was trying to improve relations with the West, and the Birobidzhan project could influence Jewish and pro-Jewish public opinion in Europe and America. The inclusion of Jews in the project of settling the Far East was also aimed at obtaining financial assistance from wealthy Jews living abroad. In addition, such a settlement made it possible to resolve some of the economic difficulties facing the Jews of the USSR. Jewish settlements, created in small settlements, connected the Trans-Siberian Railway with the Amur River valley.

In April 1928, the first settlers began to arrive, in total 856 people arrived during the year. However, due to difficult living conditions and a difficult climate, this process proceeded unevenly. In the early years, a fairly large number of Jewish settlers arrived, but more than half of the settlers who arrived in 1928-1933 left the region. In total, during the first six years of colonization, 19,635 Jews arrived and 11,450 left, leaving only 8,185 people.

In 1928, in connection with the arrival of the first settlers, artels began to be created: tailor, shoe, brick (already in 1929, the first 100 thousand bricks were produced).

In the magazine "Spark" No. 40 of September 30, 1928, an essay by A. Ror "Journey through Bira-Bishan" was published, which visited the village of the first 150 Jewish settlers who lived under the leadership of L. G. Baskin. The essay is illustrated with two photographs.

By a decree of the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of October 10, 1931, the village of Tikhonkoe was classified as a workers' settlement and was given the name Biro-Bidzhan.

On July 20, 1934, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee decided "to form the Birobidzhan region with the center in the workers' settlement of Birobidzhan as part of the autonomous Jewish national region."

The working settlement of Birobidzhan received the status of a city on the basis of the Decree of the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee dated March 2, 1937 No. 17 "On the transformation of the working settlement of Birobidzhan into a city."

As of January 1, 1932, the population of Birobidzhan was 1216 men and 1324 women.

In the early 1930s, about 1400 Jewish immigrants arrived in Birobidzhan from abroad: the USA, Argentina, Europe, Palestine and other countries and regions of the world. By the beginning of 1936, the population of Birobidzhan was already about 12 thousand people.

In the 1930s, small enterprises of the woodworking, light and metalworking industries began to be created, focused on handicraftsmen - immigrants. Among them were furniture artels "Birobidzhan" (production of Viennese chairs) and "Mekhmebelshchik", a wagon-building blacksmith artel "Wheel of the Revolution", a woodworking factory "Detal". The first two workshops of the garment factory were opened. The construction of a wagon plant, plywood, knitwear, shoe and piping factories began. Birobidzhan was a distribution railway center, where goods for the entire region were received. In the second half of the 1930s, public buildings were built: the House of Soviets, a pedagogical school, a library, and the Palace of Culture.

By 1939, railway, pedagogical and medical technical schools had already been organized in the city. In the regional center, the publication of the newspapers "Birobidzhanskaya Zvezda" in Russian and "Birobidzhaner Stern" in Yiddish, the literary, artistic and socio-political magazine "Forpost", broadcasting of the Birobidzhan radio began. The State Jewish Theater named after L. M. Kaganovich, a museum are opened, bus traffic has been launched. Birobidzhan becomes a major regional administrative, economic and cultural center.


Birobidzhan during the Great Patriotic War

During the Great Patriotic War, 11 thousand Birobidzhan residents were called up to the front and left as volunteers, of which 7 thousand did not return home.

The Great Patriotic War rebuilt the life of the city on a war footing. On the first day of hostilities, the Bureau of the Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks adopted a resolution "On the transfer of enterprises and artels to the production of products for defense needs." In the shortest possible time, the city's enterprises began producing products for the front: ammunition, trailers, parachutes, military uniforms, military sanitary equipment, soap, dishes, sledges, skis, etc.

At the convoy plant (in the future, the Dalselmash plant), the production of trailers and carts for the needs of the front was started. In addition, a foundry for the production of bullets was equipped at the plant, and the production of parts for lathes was also mastered.

At the clothing factory, the production of army uniforms was mastered and tailoring and repair of parachutes began.

In September 1941, the 60th Panzer Division was formed in Birobidzhan. In honor of this event, on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War, a monument was erected in the park named after the Hero of the Soviet Union I.R. Bumagin - the IS-3 tank.



According to E. M. Pospelov, the name Birobidzhan comes from the name of the locality Birobidzhan: this is how the space between the rivers Bira (from the Evenki bir - river) and Bidzhan (Evenki bidzhan, bidzhen - permanent camp) was called. However, it should be noted that other data of this author, namely: the former name, the time of assigning the name and assigning the status of a working settlement, the spelling of the name when it was assigned, are incorrect or inaccurate, they contradict the Decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of 10.10.1931 “On partial changes in the administrative territorial division of the Far Eastern Territory and on classifying a number of settlements along the edge as workers' settlements ”and the Great Russian Encyclopedia Birobidzhdan / M. Yu. Evdokimov // Great Russian Encyclopedia: [in 35 volumes] / ch. ed. Yu. S. Osipov. - M .: Great Russian Encyclopedia, 2004-2017 ..


Physical and geographical characteristics

Geographical position

Birobidzhan is located on the Middle Amur lowland, in the foothills of the Bureinsky Range, on the Bira River (left tributary of the Amur). The Bidzhan flows parallel to the Bira to the west of the city (about 100 km) and flows into the Amur, like the Bira. An important transport hub on the Amur highway (Chita-Khabarovsk) and the Trans-Siberian Railway, 75 km from the border with China.



Birobidzhan is in the MSK+7 time zone. The offset of the applicable time from UTC is +10:00. According to the applied time and geographic longitude, the average solar noon in Birobidzhan occurs at 13:08.



The city is located in the temperate monsoon climate zone, with very cold and dry winters, hot and humid summers. The locality is classified as Dwb by Köppen and Geiger.

The average annual air temperature is 1.9 °C
Relative humidity - 71.1%
Average wind speed - 1.7 m/s




In 1936, a cart-building plant was built, in 1960, the Dalselkhozmash plant was created on its basis (it built tracked grain and forage harvesters). In 2006, the plant was declared bankrupt and has not been functioning since then.

In 1937, the Power Transformers Plant was put into operation. In January 1993, by the Decree of the Head of Administration of Birobidzhan No. 20 dated 01/14/1993, the Power Transformer Plant was reorganized into OJSC "Birobidzhan Plant of Power Transformers". In 2012, the company became part of the Transformer production group. On May 2, 2017, the plant was declared bankrupt. As of 2020, the company is in the process of liquidation.

In 1947, a radio engineering plant was built, which closed in 1992. Since the 2000s, the premises of this enterprise have been used as warehouses.

On October 1, 1956, the State Furniture Factory was created by transforming the artel named after. Dimitrov. In the same year, mass production of furniture for the population was launched. Since 1992, the company has been called OJSC "Birobidzhan furniture factory" (JSC "BMF"). For 2020, the company is operating.

In the late 1960s, a hosiery and knitwear factory was built (currently not in operation).

In 1998, Foma Furniture Factory LLC began its work.

The main source of district heating for the city is Birobidzhanskaya CHPP.

Since the 2000s, the city has mainly housed trade, light and food industries.

Light industry is represented by shoe and clothing factories; among them: the shoe factory "Vostok-Holding" and PJSC "Victoria".

Food industry: BPiCo Molli dairy plant, Beteavon Pasta Factory OJSC, various private bakeries.

Retail enterprises: Brider and Taiga-Vostok trading houses.


Transport and communications

There are 50 bus routes in the region (1, 1a, 2, 2a, 3, 3b, 3c, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7d, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11a, 12, 12a, 14, 18, 20 108 235, 252, 700, 708.).

25 routes in the city - 1, 1a, 2, 2a, 3, 3b, 3c, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11a, 12, 12a, 14, 18, 20, 22, 26 , 31, 32.
10 municipal routes - 7d, 101, 101d, 108, 108a, 108b, 109, 111 m, 112a, 112b.
4 suburban routes - 102a, 105, 105a, 125.
11 intercity routes - 205, 208, 209, 229, 230, 232, 233, 235, 252, 700, 708.

Buses in the city run from 6:00 to 23:00.

The Trans-Siberian Railway and the federal highway P297 "Amur" pass through the city. In 2003-2006, a part of the highway was built around the city.

Within the city there are stations Birobidzhan I (the station is located on it), Birobidzhan II and Birobidzhan III, all together forming a triangle - a railway line adjoins the Trans-Siberian Railway to Leninsk station in the village of Nizhneleninskoye on the border with China. Passenger traffic has been suspended.

Birobidzhan is connected by the regional road P455 with the village of Leninskoye (through Birofeld). In Leninsky there is a border crossing to the PRC.

There are three bridges across the river Bira, crossing the city - two road and one railway.



Birobidzhan has a five-digit telephone numbering, the city code is 42622. The main fixed-line operator is the Far Eastern Branch of PJSC Rostelecom. Internet access is provided by Rostelecom, TTK, Enforta and RTRS.

Mobile communication in the city is represented by the following operators:
Megafon (GSM, 3G, 4G) - since 2004
MTS (GSM, 3G, 4G) - since 2005
Beeline (GSM, 3G, 4G) - since 2008
Tele2 (GSM, 4G) - since 2012
Yota (GSM, 3G, 4G) - since 2015


Social sphere

The science

In 1990, the Jewish branch of the Institute of National Problems of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation was established in Birobidzhan, which is the leading scientific institution in developing the content and methods of Jewish education in Russia. Birobidzhan branch of the Russian Philosophical Society, Birobidzhan branch of the Asia-Pacific Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature. The scientific service of agriculture in the region is carried out by the Birobidzhan Agricultural Experimental Station.

Academic institutes (RAS systems):

Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of Regional Problems FEB RAS (IKARP FEB RAS).


Mass media

Newspaper Ads - advertising weekly

The newspaper "Di Voh" (translated from Yiddish - "Week").
The newspaper "Birobidzhanskaya Zvezda" is the official print organ of the Legislative Assembly of the Jewish Autonomous Region.
The newspaper in Russian and Yiddish "Birobidzhaner Stern" is the official print organ of the government of the JAO.
The newspaper "MIG" ("Municipal Information Newspaper") is the official press organ of the municipality of Birobidzhan.
The newspaper "Voice of Birobidzhan" (an opposition left-wing patriotic publication) is the official print organ of the regional committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
Newspaper of business circles - "Newspaper for home".
Monthly magazine "Birobidzhan: instructions for use".


Radio and TV

Radio FM-Birobidzhan - 87.7 FM
Europe Plus - 88.3 FM
Retro FM - 88.8 FM
Russian radio - 101.7 FM
Radio Iskatel - 103.0 FM
Radio Mayak - 103.4 FM
Radio of Russia / GTRK "Bira" - 104.6 FM
Radio Dacha - 105.3 FM
Autoradio - 106.4 FM

The DVB-T2 standard has been adopted as the main digital terrestrial TV format in Russia. The broadcast is in a resolution of 720 by 576 pixels (SD quality). Since January 1, 2019, the test mode of broadcasting of two multiplexes, including 20 TV channels and 3 radio stations, has been completed in the region.

From June 3, 2019, the broadcasting of federal channels in analog format has ceased. The Jewish Autonomous Region has fallen into the third wave of switching off the analogue broadcasting of federal channels. Cable TV and digital IPTV are also available in the city.

Television broadcasting is produced in Birobidzhan:
State Television and Radio Company "Bira" (a branch of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) - TV channels "Russia-1" and "Russia-24" with news releases "Vesti-Birobidzhan";
NTK (New TV Company or NTK 21) is a regional channel broadcasting in digital format to the Jewish Autonomous Region. It airs on the OTR channel in the first multiplex on button 9.


Broadcast in analog format

1 TVK - 2x2 / TNT Music
Former regional TV channel:
MUP Broadcasting Studio "Best Video"



Birobidzhan has two stadiums (Dalselmash and Druzhba), three swimming pools, specialized halls for boxing, table tennis, a diving club, a chess club, a tennis club, various martial arts sections.

Amateur sports are developed, mainly speed skating, boxing, athletics, football, volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics.

Since 1993, the local bandy team "Nadezhda" has been constantly participating in the tournament of the Far Eastern zone of the championship of Russia among the teams of the major league.

Since 2011, the Foma ski complex has been operating on the territory of the city, located at 7 km of the Leninskaya highway, on the territory of the complex there are cozy houses for living, a rental office and much more.


Birobidzhan in literature

The theme of Birobidzhan (as an interfluve in the region of the middle Amur and as a city) has repeatedly appeared in fiction and documentary literature, primarily in connection with the political project of the Jewish Autonomous Region, as well as the history of Jewish settlers.

Almanac "Birobidzhan" (publication resumed in 2004).
Literature of the Jewish Autonomous Region (2005).
Melikhov A. Birobidzhan - The Promised Land. M., Text, 2009.
Revich I. Birobidzhan dreams (2009)
Drabkin A. What my mother remembered (2010)
Fink V. G. New Motherland. M., 1933
Brener I. S. Strana Birobidzhan, 2013