|Elevation||456 m (1,496 ft)|
|Length||1,779 km (1,105 mi)|
|- average||4,530 m3/s (159,975 cu ft/s)|
The Angara River (Buryat Mongolian:Ангар, Angar (open or cleft); Russian: Ангара́; IPA: [ɐngɐˈra]) is a 1,779-kilometer-long (1,105 mi) river in Irkutsk Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Krai, south-east Siberia, Russia. It is the river that drains Lake Baikal, and is the headwater tributary of the Yenisei River.
Leaving Lake Baikal near the settlement of Listvyanka (at ), 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 falls into the Yenisei near Strelka (at , 40 km south-east of Lesosibirsk).
Below its junction with the Ilim River, the Angara has been known in the past as the Upper Tunguska (Russian: Верхняя Тунгуска, Verkhnyaya Tunguska). Confusingly, some maps (e.g., 1773 atlas by Kitchen – see illustration) referred to this same section of the Angara as Nizhnyaya Tunguska, i.e. the Lower Tunguska – the name that is currently applied to another river.
Dams and reservoirs
The Angara is dammed by the dams of three major hydroelectric plants that have been constructed since the 1950s.
- Irkutsk Dam (Иркутская ГЭС), forming the Irkutsk Reservoir, which floods the valley of the river from its source to Irkutsk, and slightly raises the water level in Lake Baikal.
- Bratsk Dam, forming the Bratsk Reservoir.
- Ust-Ilimsk Dam (Усть-Илимская ГЭС), at Ust-Ilimsk, forming the Ust-Ilimsk Reservoir.
- Boguchany Dam (Богучанская ГЭС), at Kodinsk
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, were flooded by these reservoirs. Due to its effects on the way of life of the rural residents of the Angara valley, dam construction has been criticized by a number of Soviet intellectuals, in particular the Irkutsk writer Valentin Rasputin both in his novel Farewell to Matyora and in his non-fiction book, Siberia, Siberia.
- 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.
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.
- "Angara River". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- ВЕРХНЯЯ ТУНГУСКА (Verkhnyaya Tunguska, in the dictionary of Russia's place names).
- Tunguska, in Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
- Angara River, southeast-central Russia
- Енисейское пароходство: Ангара – судоходство и грузоперевозки (Yenisei Shipping Company: Angara — navigation and cargo shipping) (Russian)
- Особенности движения и стоянки судов по внутренним водным путям Восточно-Сибирского бассейна (Special navigation rules for the internal waterways of the Eastern Siberia Basin) (Russian)
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