Top-down, left-to-right: View of Makhachkala, The Government Building of Dagestan, Dagestan State Russian Gorki Drama Theater, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Dormition, the Grand Mosque of Makhachkala, Aerial view of Makhachkala and the Caspian Sea
Coat of arms
Location of Makhachkala
Makhachkala (European Russia)
|City status since||1857|
|• Body||Assembly of Deputies|
|• Head||Vitaly Varbassovich|
|• Total||468.13 km2 (180.75 sq mi)|
|Elevation||10 m (30 ft)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||27th in 2010|
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)|
|• Subordinated to||City of Makhachkala|
|• Capital of||Republic of Dagestan|
|• Capital of||City of Makhachkala|
|• Urban okrug||Makhachkala Urban Okrug|
|• Capital of||Makhachkala Urban Okrug|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (MSK )|
|Dialing code(s)||+7 8722|
Makhachkala (Russian: Махачкала, IPA: [məxətɕkɐˈɫa]), previously known as Petrovskoye (Петровское) (1844–1857), and Petrovsk-Port (Петровск-Порт) (1857–1921), is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Dagestan in Russia. The city is located on the Caspian Sea, covering an area of 468.13 square kilometres (180.75 square miles), with a population of over 603,518 residents, while the urban agglomeration covers over 3,712 square kilometres (1,433 square miles), with a population of roughly 1 million residents. Makhachkala is the fourth-largest city in the Caucasus, the largest city in the North Caucasus and the North Caucasian Federal District, as well as the third-largest city on the Caspian Sea. The city is extremely ethnically diverse, with a minor ethnic Russian population.
The city's historic predecessor was the town of Tarki, now a nearby suburb, whose history goes back to the 15th century and possibly much earlier. The modern city of Makhachkala was founded in 1844 as a fortress of the Russian Empire. The city was named Petrovskoye after Peter the Great. After gaining city status in 1857, the Petrovskoye fortress was renamed Petrovsk-Port. After the Russian Revolution, Petrovsk-Port was renamed Makhachkala on May 14, 1921, after Makhach Dakhadaev. On the same day, it became capital of the newly formed Dagestan ASSR. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the city became the capital of the Republic of Dagestan.
Makhachkala is an important economic, educational, scientific, and cultural centre of the North Caucasus. The city is a major Russian seaport on the Caspian Sea, and a transport hub. The city is one of the fastest growing cities in Russia, and is currently going through a construction boom.
See also: Timeline of Makhachkala
Makhachkala's historic predecessor was the town of Tarki, now a nearby suburb, whose history goes back to the 15th century and possibly much earlier. The modern city of Makhachkala was founded in 1844 as a fortress; town status was granted in 1857. The Russian name of the city was Petrovskoye (Петро́вское)—after the Russian Tsar Peter the Great who visited the region in 1722 during his Persian Campaign. However, among the local Kumyks it was known as Anzhi-Qala, The Pearl Fortress (Qala means fortress, while Anzhi means pearl in Kumyk). After gaining city status, the Petrovskoye fortress was renamed Petrovsk-Port (Петро́вск-Порт) in 1857, sometimes simply Petrovsk. In 1894, a railway line linked the city to Vladikavkaz (in present-day North Ossetia-Alania) and Baku (in present-day Azerbaijan), yet a report from 1904 detailed the spread of malaria and unsuitable drinking water in the city.
In January 1919, during the Russian Civil War, the British No. 221 Squadron Royal Air Force based themselves at Petrovsk. In March they were joined by No. 266 Squadron and both squadrons were involved in bombing operations against Bolshevik forces in Astrakhan and elsewhere. In August 1919 both squadrons were withdrawn from Petrovsk. The city was invaded by the Red Army in Spring 1920.
As part of the Soviet revolution, place names relating to monarchy or religion were changed, and thus on 14 May 1921, Petrovsk was renamed Makhachkala, after Dagestani revolutionary Magomed-Ali 'Makhach' Dakhadaev. On the same day, it became capital of the newly formed Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The city incurred major damage during an earthquake on 14 May 1970.
The area was used as a Soviet-era naval testing station, leaving behind a curious sea fort off nearby Kaspiysk ().
A report of the International Crisis Group from 2013 describes the city as being "a city of almost one million and gained spectacular economic resources due to a construction boom, skyrocketing land prices, substantial federal funds for reconstruction, infrastructure, transport, housing, courts and administrative services. But even a short visit revealed acute problems, including dirty streets, dilapidated buildings, inadequate utilities, hectic construction, lack of planning and poorly organised public transport".
Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with eight urban-type settlements and six rural localities, incorporated as the City of Makhachkala—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the City of Makhachkala is incorporated as Makhachkala Urban Okrug.
For the purposes of administration, the city is divided into three city districts, from west to east: Kirovsky, Sovetsky and Leninsky. In May 2015, these three city districts were granted municipal status.
The coat of arms and flag of Makhachkala were adopted on 15 December 2006. The coat of arms shows the city's historic fortress in silver on a red field, with flames coming from either tower and a solar symbol above. It is supported by a golden eagle on each side, a crown on top, and crossed anchors (representing its maritime history) entangled with grapevines at the bottom.
In proportions of 2:3, the flag displays the main shield of the city's coat of arms.
Makhachkala is close to areas of fighting and therefore it and the surrounding region has a heavy security service presence. On 25 November 2011, a protest took place in Makhachkala attended by up to 3,000 people demanding an end to illegal activities perpetrated by the security services.
On December 15, 2011, Gadzhimurat Kamalov, a Russian investigative journalist and founder of the independent Chernovik newspaper was shot dead in an apparent assassination.
The population of Makhachkala includes (2010 Census data):
The city is served by Uytash Airport, a regional airport providing connections to other Russian cities. Russian Railways via the North Caucasus Railway provides freight and passenger traffic to and from Makhachkala.
The Caspian Sea International Port handles crude oil, petroleum, construction materials, grain, cargo and timber and operates 24 hours a day. The port offers communications with the rest of Russia, as well as with Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic states, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia. A railyard at the port connects the port to the North Caucasus Railway network.
The city's football team, FC Anzhi Makhachkala, play at the 15,200-seat Dynamo Stadium.
Founded in 1991, the side returned to the Premier League in 2009 and in January 2011 were purchased by Dagestani commodities billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, whose investment has allowed the club to sign players such as Brazilian World Cup winner Roberto Carlos and Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o who, during his time at the club, became the world's highest paid player. However, due to recent unrest in the region, the players currently live and train in Moscow, and an armed guard patrols their matches.
Makhachkala has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk) with warm, relatively dry summers and cool, relatively moist winters. The strong rain shadow of the Caucasus and the ability of the Siberian High to freely move westwards from its source in the Tibetan and Mongolian plateaus makes the climate quite dry, although frequently overcast throughout the winter, which is owing to the relatively low latitude and nearness to the Caspian Sea very mild by Russian standards. Summers are sunnier but also dry as the region is exposed to steep descending vertical velocity from the Indian monsoon, and the greatest rainfall occurs in the autumn season from September to November. October 1987 with 245 millimetres or 9.65 inches has been the wettest month, whilst no precipitation occurred in February 1958, October 1974 and April 1986.
The coldest month since records began in 1882 has been February 1929 with a mean monthly temperature of −9.5 °C or 14.9 °F, whilst the hottest have been July 2010 and August 2014 with means of 27.1 °C or 80.8 °F each, although 9 August 2017 is the hottest day, reaching 40.2 °C or 104.4 °F. The coldest night was on February 9, 2012, when the mercury fell to −26.9 °C or −16.4 °F, beating the previous record of −26.5 °C or −15.7 °F from December 28, 1888.
|Climate data for Makhachkala, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1888–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.8
|Average high °C (°F)||4.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−25.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||33
|Average rainy days||11||10||12||11||12||11||9||10||11||13||13||12||135|
|Average snowy days||9||10||4||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||3||6||32|
|Average relative humidity (%)||84||83||83||79||76||71||70||72||75||80||83||85||78|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||74||71||105||171||246||278||282||270||194||151||81||67||1,990|
|Source 1: Погода и Климат|
|Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)|
Makhachkala is twinned with: