It was named after the Magnitnaya Mountain, a geological anomaly that once consisted almost completely of iron ore, around 55% to 60% iron. It is the second largest city in Russia that is not the administrative center of any federal subject or district. Here the largest iron and steel works in the country (Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works) is situated. Magnitogorsk has span between Europe and Asia continents. The official motto of city is The place where Europe and Asia meet.
Magnitnaya was founded in 1743 as part of the Orenburg Line of forts built during the reign of the Empress Elizabeth. By 1747, the settlement had been already large enough to guide the building of a small wooden chapel named subsequently "The Church of the Holy Trinity".
Iron ore mining in this region dates back to 1752, when two entrepreneurs named Tverdysh and Myasnikov decided to check on the feasibility of mining in the area that became famous later. They managed to take full advantage of the fact that the Magnitnaya mountain did not belong to anyone at that time. So, they secured it for themselves by way of petition to Empress Elizabeth. In 1759, the petition was eventually accepted, and they launched iron ore production.
The city underwent rapid change in the 1930s, when according to Stalin's Five-Year-Plans, Magnitogorsk was to become a one-industry town modeled after two of the most advanced steel producing cities in the United States at that time — Gary, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At this time, hundreds of foreign experts kept coming here in order to implement and direct the work.
In 1928, a Soviet delegation arrived in Cleveland, Ohio to discuss with American consulting company Arthur G. McKee a plan to set up in Magnitogorsk a copy of the US Steel steel mill in Gary. The contract was four times increased and eventually the new plant had a capacity of over four million tons annually.
It was a showpiece of Soviet achievement. Huge reserves of iron ore in the area made it a prime location to build a steel plant capable of challenging its Western rivals. However, a large proportion of the workforce, as ex-peasants, typically had few industrial skills and little industrial experience. To solve these issues, several hundred foreign specialists arrived to direct the work, including a team of architects headed by the German Ernst May.
According to the original plans, the city was to have followed the linear city design, with rows of similar superblock neighborhoods running parallel to the factory, with a strip of greenery, or greenbelt, separating them. Planners would align living and production spheres so as to minimize necessary travel time: workers would generally live in a sector of the residential band closest to the sector of the industrial band in which they worked.
However, by the time that May completed his plans for Magnitogorsk construction of both factory and housing had already started. The sprawling factory and enormous cleansing lakes had left little room available for development, and May, therefore, had to redesign his settlement to fit the modified site. This modification resulted in a city being more "rope-like" than linear. Although the industrial area is concentrated on the left bank of the river Ural, and the most residential complexes are separated and located on its right bank, the city inhabitants are still subjected to noxious fumes and factory smoke.
The book Behind the Urals, by John Scott, documents the industrial development of Magnitogorsk during the 1930s. Scott discusses the fast-paced industrial and social developments during Stalin's first five-year plan and the rising paranoia of the Soviet regime preceding the Great Purge of the late 1930s.
In 1937, foreigners were told to exit and Magnitogorsk was declared a closed city. There is not much reliable information about events and development of the city during the closed period.
The city played an important role during World War II because it supplied much of the steel for the Soviet war machine and its strategic location near the Ural Mountains meant Magnitogorsk was safe from seizure by the German Army.
During perestroika the closed city status was removed and foreigners were allowed to visit the city again. Years after perestroika brought a significant change in the life of the city, the Iron and Steel Plant was reorganized as a joint-stock company Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MISW or MMK), which helped with the reconstruction of the railway and building a new airport.
With the depletion of the substantial local iron-ore reserves, Magnitogorsk has to import raw materials from Sokolvsko-Sarbaisky deposit in northern Kazakhstan.
Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the City of Magnitogorsk—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the City of Magnitogorsk is incorporated as Magnitogorsky Urban Okrug.
The city is connected by the Magnitogorsk International Airport and by a railway. Public transportation includes trams, buses, and taxis.
There are three establishments of higher education in Magnitogorsk: Magnitogorsk State Technical University (MSTU), Magnitogorsk State University (MaSU), and Magnitogorsk State Conservatory (MSC).
There are also three theatres: Pushkin Drama Theatre (the oldest in the city), the Opera and Ballet House, and the Puppet Theatre. The Church of the Ascension of the Lord opened in 2004.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk is an ice hockey team based in Magnitogorsk, playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Evgeni Malkin (b. 1986) of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nikolai Kulemin (b. 1986) of the New York Islanders both used to play for the club and both are Magnitogorsk natives. Metallurg Magnitogorsk won Gagarin Cup in 2013–14 KHL season and 2015-16 KHL season.
The town's football team is FC Magnitogorsk playing in the Amateur Football League. Located in the vicinity of the city, Abzakovo is a popular mountain skiing base built by the MMK (see the URL below).
Several sports clubs are active in the city:
Magnitogorsk was mentioned in the Blacksmith Institute's 2007 survey of the world's worst polluted cities, placed in the report's unranked list of the 25 most polluted places outside the top ten. Pollutants include lead, sulfur dioxide, heavy metals and other air pollutants. According to the local hospital, only 1% of all children living in the city are in good health. The Blacksmith Institute says that, according to a local newspaper report, "only 28% of infants born in 1992 were healthy, and only 27% had healthy mothers". However, according to Blacksmith Institute, plant managers have upgraded much of their equipment in recent years and emissions have been reduced by about 60%.
Magnitogorsk has a distinct four-season humid continental climate similar to those found in the North American Plains with warmer summers than subarctic climates, but with relatively severe winters for the latitude. This climate type is typical for southerly Russian areas far from large bodies of water. The average July high is around 25 °C (77 °F) with lows of 13 °C (55 °F) with January averages ranging from −10 °C (14 °F) in daytime high to −18 °C (0 °F) in average low. Temperatures approaching 34 °C (93 °F) or above have been measured from May to September with real severe frosts below −36 °C (−33 °F) have been measured in all other months than that except transitional months April and October.
The city is twinned with: Concepción de La Vega, Dominican Republic