Nerchinsk ( ) is a town in Zabaykalsky Krai, Russia, situated
east of Lake
Baikal, east of Chita, about 225 km west of the Chinese border and about
1,300 km directly north of Beijing. It is located on the
left bank of the Nercha River, seven
kilometers above its confluence with the Shilka River, which flows into the Amur.
Population: 15,748 (2002 Census
); 16,900 (1991 est.);
6,713 (1897). It is served by Nerchinsk Airport.
Town name in other languages
is mentioned in two important treaties between Imperial Russia and Manchu
China, the 1689 Treaty of
Nerchinsk and the 1727 Treaty of
Non-Russian comments on these treaties or on
the history of the town may mention other names:
- Latin: Nipchou or Nipcha (however, the
Treaty of Kyakhta called the town Nipkoa).
- Manchu: Nibcu hoton.
- Chinese: 泥樸處, later changed to
尼布楚; Pinyin: Níbùchǔ
of Nerchinsk dates from 1654 and the town was founded four years
later by Afanasy Pashkov, who in
that year opened direct communication between the Russian
settlements in Transbaikalia and those on the Amur River which had been founded by Cossacks and fur-traders coming from the Yakutsk
A postcard with Bunin's Palace in
In 1689, the Treaty
was signed between Russia and China, which stopped
the farther advance of the Russians into the basin of the Amur for
two centuries. See Russian-Manchu border
that, Nerchinsk became the chief center for the trade with China.
opening of the western route through Mongolia, by Urga, and the establishment
of a custom-house at Kyakhta in 1728
diverted this trade into a new channel.
acquired fresh importance from the influx of immigrants, mostly
exiles, into eastern Dauria, the discovery of rich mines and the
arrival of great numbers of convicts to the Nerchinsk katorga
, and ultimately it
became the chief town of Transbaikalia.
Nerchinsk was visited by the famous English adventurer and engineer
in 1782. Bentham had seen a
potential for Nerchinsk as a base for an access to the Sea of Okhotsk, provided the navigation of the Amur River would be authorized by the Chinese.
have opened up the possibility of fur trade with the Pacific Ocean, as far as the Chinese port of Canton.
In 1812 Nerchinsk was transferred from the banks of the Shilka to
its present site, on account of the floods. The town relinquished
its supremacy to Chita in the late 19th century, when it was
bypassed by the Trans-Siberian
In the early 20th century, Nerchinsk was built of wood, and its
lower parts frequently suffered from inundations. The inhabitants
supported themselves mainly by agriculture, tobacco-growing and
cattle-breeding; a few merchants traded in furs and cattle, in
brick-tea from China, and
manufactured wares from Russia.
Gold-mines in the vicinity were owned and developed by the Butin
family of merchants, whose Neo-Moorish palace now stands in
Today, Nerchinsk is home to some small electromechanical and
food-processing industries. It has a small museum, established in
1884. Among its sights are the Resurrection Cathedral, built in the
Neoclassical style in 1825 to commemorate the city's relocation,
its belltower destroyed by the Communists. The site of old
Nerchinsk is marked by the Assumption Monastery, the oldest in
Dauria, founded in
Its cathedral, consecrated in 1712, is the easternmost
building in the Muscovite Baroque