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About Ekaterinburg. Yekaterinburg history. Historical highlights. Sverdlovsk.



Ekaterinburg is the historical and economic center of the Urals which forms a natural border between Europe and Asia. It is also the administrative center of the Sverdlovsk region and the Ural federal district. The city lies on Iset River. 

Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg), the capital city of the Urals, was founded in 1723 by Tzar Peter the Great (and named after his wife, Catherine). The city witnessed the death of monarchy in Russia, as it was there that the last Russian czar Nicolas II with his family was assassinated, in Ipatiev house by the Bolsheviks on July 16, 1918. 

Another dramatic episode in the area took place on May 1, 1960 when American U2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was hit by a missile launched from the local military base. The city was closed to the outside world until 1990 because of its strategic defense industries. 

The city is associated with another famous political figure, Boris Yeltsin, who was born in the village of  Butka not far from Ekaterinburg. Under Yeltsin's orders, the house where the Tzar and his family were killed was destroyed; a wooden cross and a chapel were been installed later. This place has been recognized by the Russian Orthodoxal church as a sacred and now Cathedral-on-the-Blood is constructed exactly on Ipatiev house once stood. 

Ekaterinburg has played a notable role in the history of Russia. It was here that Russian industry was born. The products of Ural and Siberian iron mills were exhibited at local trade fairs. Iron and cast-iron from the Urals as well as masterpieces of Kasly casting (named after the town of Kasly) were delivered by merchants to various parts of the world. The town owes its origin to a metallurgical and metal-working plant which rose on the banks of the river Iset, and by the standards of those days was one of the best, not only in Russia but also in Europe.

Later, a mint and a lapidary factory were added to form one big enterprise. Peter the Great's comrades General Gennin and Captain Tatishchev, one a prominent statesman and the other a noted scientist, headed the construction project. Since the beginning of the 19th century Ekaterinburg came to play an increasingly important role as an administrative, mining and Ural-wide machine building center.

The first part of 19th century was also marked by the flourishing of the art of stone-cutting, for which the Ekaterinburg lapidary factory was largely responsible.

In 1924, Ekaterinburg was renamed Sverdlovsk, after the revolutionary leader Jakob M. Sverdlov. During the Soviet period Sverdlovsk grew up rapidly and became one of biggest industrial, cultural and scientific centers of Russia.

The present day Ekaterinburg is rich in sights - architectural monuments of Russian classicism of the 18-19th centuries including the estate of Rastorguev - Kharitonov; the house of the mining chief: the Mining Board; the Church of Alexander Nevsky, the Church of the of the Ascension and others; the Geological Museum which features a unique collection of minerals; the Fine Arts Museum which, along with a fine collection of paintings by Russian and foreign artists, displays Kasly castings; as also several museums dedicated to writers such as Mamin-Sihiriak and Bazhov. There is also an Opera House, a Musical Comedy theater, Childrens and Puppet theater, as well as a Philarmonic auditorium.

Currently the population of Ekaterinburg stands at 1.5 million. There are  more than 100 research institutes headed by the Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 15 higher educational establishments, 35 technical schools (colleges), 27 vocational schools, 5 theatres, a philharmonic concert hall, about 600 libraries, and 15 stadiums.

Ekaterinburg is a draw for geologists (fascinated by the mineral-rich Urals) and tourists who come for mystery and history of the Communist-era, and then discover a city surprisingly rich in pre-Soviet churches and other architecture of an earlier era. The Europe-Asia Obelisk which is a about 25 miles west of the city, marking the border between the two continents, is an especially interesting place to visit.

Ekaterinburg is the third largest Russian city, administrative center of Sverdlovsk oblast and the capital of the Urals. Sverdlovsk oblast is one of the most developed and advanced regions in Russia. It is very rich in minerals and raw materials, main industry branches are heavy machinery and metallurgy. It is situated far from ethnic conflicts areas and politically stable.

Ekaterinburg can be easily found on the geographical map of the vast Euro-Asian Continent: it is in the middle of the Ural mountains, which separate Europe and Asia. Thus, Ekaterinburg lies at the crossroads of 2 continents and it determines its political, economic and cultural peculiarities.

It was nearly three hundred years ago when this town was founded on the eastern slopes of the Urals mountains on the banks of the beautiful Iset river. It was given the name of Ekaterinburg, to honour the memory of the martyr Saint Catherine, after whose name the Emperor Peter the Great's wife was baptized.

The official date of its foundation is considered to be 7th (18th) November, 1723. It is on this day that one of the European best iron-making works of that time was put into operation. The plant-castle of Ekaterinburg, the seat of the management of all metallurgical and mining enterprises of the region, became an important outpost in the development of the vast areas of the Urals and Siberia. In 1721 Ekaterinburg was granted the status of a town. In the 19th century it turned into a large centre of industry, commerce and, subsequently, banking. Lying on the border between Europe and Asia the city played an important trade-intermediary role. In 1923 Ekaterinburg became the administrative centre of the vast Urals region (it was called Sverdlovsk from 1924 to 1991). In the 1930s, giant plants were constructed here, which brought about a considerable increase in the population. During the years of World War II the city turned into a huge arsenal of military technology and armaments. After the war Sverdlovsk continued to develop as a major industrial and cultural centre in the Urals. In 1967 its millionth resident was born.

Today Ekaterinburg is a city with the population of a million and a half and a powerful industrial and research centre. Its heavy transport and chemical engineering plants, non-ferrous metallurgical works and military industrial enterprises occupy a leading place in the national economy. The city has about 15 institutions of higher education; it is the seat of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The dynamics of contemporary life does have its effect on the city. However, good care of its cultural heritage helps to maintain the historical continuity of times and confirms the right of Ekaterinburg to the status of a historical city.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.

Photo. Tours to Yekaterinburg.




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