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a city in Sverdlovsk Oblast, RSFSR; situated at the confluence of the Irbit and Nitsa rivers (Ob’ basin); a railroad station on the Sverdlovsk-Tavda line. Population, 49,000 (1970).
Irbit arose in 1631 as an agricultural settlement, whose advantageous position on a trade route led to the legitimization of the Irbit Fair in 1643. Trades and crafts such as flour-grinding, blacksmithing, pottery, tanning, and soap-making were developed. In 1775 the settlement became a city. In the 1870’s and 1880’s the Irbit Fair had a turnover of 60 million rubles.
The Trans-Siberian Railroad by-passed Irbit, and it began to lose its commercial significance. Soviet power was established there on Jan. 15 (28), 1918. During the years of Soviet power, factories were built in the city producing motorcycles, trailers, glass, chemical, and pharmaceutical items; bricks; and clothing. Irbit has a motorcycle technicum, a medical school, a pedagogical school, a drama theater, a museum of local lore, and a gallery.