Ijevsk is the capital city of Udmurtia, an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation, about 1000 kilometers due east of Moscow and 500 km west of the Urals. It is lying along the Izh River. Udmurtia is about the size of Wisconsin both in area and in population. There are about 750,000 Udmurts in Russia, and about 650,000 live in Udmurtia. The Udmurt language belongs to the Finno-Ugric family of languages, Finnish and Hungarian being the two main languages of this family. Ijevsk was founded in 1760 as a centre of ironworking and later of armaments, and the city remains a major producer of steel, armaments, machine tools, building machinery, and motorcycles. Ijevsk is the site of one of the most famous arsenals in Russia, at which Mikhail Kalashnikov designed his famous AK-47 assault rifle. There are also automobile and motorcycle production plants - the vehicles bear the brandname IZH. The cool continental climate and long winters (almost six months) are characteristic to Ijevsk. Ijevsk is where Piotr Il'ich Chaikovskii, Russia's greatest composer, was born. There are several ensembles of Ijevsk folk dancers and singers who perform locally, throughout Russia and internationally, perhaps the best- known being the group "Italmas," which is named after the european Trollius, a small golden-yellow flower native to the Urals and western Siberia.


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