IntroductionUrals or Ural Mountains, E European Russia and NW Kazakhstan, forming, together with the Ural River, the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia and separating the Russian plain from the W Siberian lowlands. The Urals extend c.1,500 mi (2,400 km) north and south from the Arctic tundra to the deserts N of the Caspian Sea. The polar section (north of lat. 64°N) is covered by tundra. The northern section (between lat. 64°N and lat. 61°N), a rocky treeless range, has the highest peaks, Naroda and Telpos-Iz. The central Urals (between lat. 61°N and lat. 55°N) are also known as the Ore Urals and have many low passes. The southern section (between lat. 55°N and lat. 51°N), known as the Mugodzhar Hills, consists of several high, parallel ridges that rise to 5,377 ft (1,639 m) in the Yaman-Tau. The S Urals are drained by the Ural River into the Caspian Sea. The waterways in the west are the Kama and Belaya rivers, tributaries of the Volga, and, in the east, the Ob-Irtysh drainage system. The Trans-Siberian RR crosses the central Urals, and the Samara-Tashkent RR crosses the S Urals. To the west, the Ural foothills slope gradually to the Volga. The eastern slope drops abruptly to the W Siberian lowlands. The population consists primarily of Russians, with some Bashkirs, Tatars, Udmurts, and Komi-Permyaks.
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