Bashkortostan (Russian: Реуспу́блика Башкортоста́н rees-POOB-leek-uh buhsh-kuhrt-ah-STAHN) or Bashkiria (Башки́рия buhsh-KEE-ree-yuh) is a region in the foothills of the Ural Mountains, bordering Tatarstan to the west, Udmurtia to the northwest, Perm Krai to the north, Sverdlovsk Oblast to the northeast, Chelyabinsk Oblast to the east, and Orenburg Oblast to the south.
Bashkortostan is named after its native Bashkir people, a Muslim people who speak a Turkic language. Bashkirs, Tatars, and ethnic Russians each comprise roughly one third of the population of the region.
Bashkortostan is sometimes called “second Switzerland”: high mountains and expansive steppes, evergreen forests and 600 rivers and 800 lakes. Various kinds of tourism and sport are very popular here, for example rafting and alpine skiing.
Bashkir, a Turkic language closely related to Tatar, shares official status with Russian. Tatar is also widely spoken. But nearly everyone is at least bilingual in Russian. Students may understand English and German.
International flights arrive at Ufa International Airport (IATA: UFA) from Frankfurt, Tel Aviv, Sharm el-Sheikh, Baku, Yerevan and Istanbul. Domestic flights from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Syktyvkar, Krasnoyarsk, Yekaterinburg, and others.
Ufa train station is one of the principal stops on the South Ural route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Trains also arrive from nearby cities Orenburg, Samara and Chelyabinsk. The daily train from Moscow takes 26 hours. It is also possible to arrive by train from northern Kazakhstan.
The capital of Bashkortostan — Ufa — is accessible from federal highways M5 and M7.