For centuries, the Ural Mountains marked the physical and mental border between the civilised West and the remote and mysterious Siberia. But stretching for over 2500km from the Arctic Ocean to the Kazakh Steppe, the Urals not only divided but also connected Europe and Asia, embracing both Western and Eastern cultures. The Ural Mountains hide many treasures in their depths including rare gemstones and minerals such as malachite. Since the 18th century this region became the industrial centre of Russia. First, it was the production of salt, then iron and copper, and later gold. Finally, during the Soviet Era the Urals became the site of the Soviet military industrial complex and the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear program. Today, it is a diverse region where picturesque lansdcapes with gentle rolling hills, mountain rivers and canyons juxtaposed with insdustrial cities with power plant smokestacks and mines.