Yekaterinburg Travel Guide

Yekaterinburg Travel Guide

photo of the city view in Yekaterinburg

Introduction


Located 40 km from the border between Europe and Asia, Yekaterinburg is a city of contrasts. This typical mountain city with its industrial past was formed on the site of the country's largest factory. Yekaterinburg is the administrative centre of the Sverdlovsk region, the main city in the Urals. Today, it’s a modern cosmopolitan city where sparkling skyscrapers mix with golden-domed churches and parks.


Historical Overview


Yekaterinburg was founded as a fortress with factories on the Iset River in 1723. The city was named after the Empress Catherine I. The factory complex consisted of two blast furnaces, 14 hammerheads, a copper smelting factory, steel and anchor factories, machines for drilling guns, etc. The main products were iron, cast iron and copper. In 1737, the blast furnaces stopped operating. From the end of the 1750s, the production of steel, wire and wire mills gradually decreased, and in 1769, copper smelting was discontinued. In 1808, the Yekaterinburg factory was closed.
In the 18th century, Yekaterinburg became the administrative centre of the mining industry of the Urals and Siberia. In 1781, it received the status of a district town in the Perm province. In 1783, it was given its own coat of arms, and the first election to the city Duma was held in 1787. The Old Believers dominated in urban self-government during the 18th-19th centuries.
In 1807, Yekaterinburg received the status of a mountain city according to the Draft Mining Regulations. The mountain chief of the factories of the Yekaterinburg mountain district, along with the city council, was responsible for the city’s economy and law and order. The production of copper money began in the 18th century. The city produced up to 80% of the copper coin in Russia. Vases and bowls were made at the Yekaterinburg lapidary factory. At the mechanical factory founded in 1839, water wheels and turbines, steam engines and metal-cutting machines were produced at that time. In 1874, the factory was closed.
After the abolition of serfdom, the Urals mining industry experienced a serious crisis. Later, the influence of the mountain authorities in Yekaterinburg gradually decreased, which had a positive effect on the city’s economy.
The transfer of power to the Bolsheviks in 1917 occurred peacefully. In March 1918, the city Duma was replaced by the executive committee of the City Council. In the city, there was the Ural Regional Council headed by A. Beloborodov, the highest authority of Soviet power in the Urals. Soon after the beginning of the civil war in 1918, anti-Bolshevik forces attacked the city from Chelyabinsk and Tyumen. Nicholas II and his family were shot.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, another major transformation of the city's industry took place. More than 50 large enterprises were moved to Sverdlovsk, and new factories were built or expanded: the Urals Chemical Engineering Plant, the Ural Instrument-Making Plant, the Ural Optical-Mechanical Plant and others. The industry of the Sverdlovsk region produced various military equipment such as tanks, artillery systems, guns, etc.
In the post-war years, machine building and metalworking continued to dominate the city's economy, but there were also enterprises oriented towards the consumer market (a knitting factory, a house-building factory). In 1970-1980, the military-industrial system continued to develop.


Where to Stay


The city is an ideal base to explore the Ural Mountains and their nature. The city’s hotels offer a high quality of service and comfort, although tap water may be poor. Visitors can choose from luxury and elegant hotels like DoubleTree by Hilton and Hyatt Regency to cheap and affordable (Hotel Loff, Respect Hall or Hostel Mrs Hudson). We also recommend Visotsky Hotel with its breathtaking views of the city, Looking for VIP suites and luxury décor? If you travel on business and want to stay near the railway station, opt for Marins Park Hotel, Hotel Sverdlova 27 or Mini-Hotel on Sverdlova.


Bars and Restaurants


Yekaterinburg is the place for real gourmets. You will be surprised to learn that most restaurants serve Japanese, Italian and fusion cuisine. At Pashtet, you can try traditional pelmeni and home-made pashtet. Khmeli Suneli is a Georgian restaurant with a relaxing atmosphere serving delicious shashlik, red-meat dishes and a good variety of wines. If you want to learn how to make pelmeni (dumplings), visit Pelmeni Club. Nigora is an Uzbek restaurant serving manti (dumplings), lamb shashlik and rich soups. If you are a lover of panoramic views, Vertical restaurant is a must-see. Here, you can try European dishes, steaks and fine wine.

 

What to See

 

  • The history of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral dates back to 1838, when it was decided to lay a stone church with three thrones. The project was carried out by the famous architect of his time, Mikhail Malakhov, one of the creators of many beautiful buildings in Yekaterinburg. The church was erected in the style of classicism, its construction completed just 10 years later, in 1848. The main chapel of the church, as expected, was consecrated in honour of the holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, with the left one in honour of St Nicholas the Wonderworker.
  • The Art Museum is known for its unique collection of Kashlin art castings and the world famous Kashlinsky cast-iron pavilion. The exposition of modern Russian art of the 20th century contains works covering most styles and trends by leading artists from Russia and CIS countries from the beginning of the 20th century till the end of the 1990s.
  • The Alexander Nevsky Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Yekaterinburg opened at the end of the 18th century. Here, there stood an almshouse and a women's community which became a convent in 1809. Later, it became one of the largest in the Urals.

By the time of the revolution, the convent included six churches, many workshops, charitable institutions and a bakery.

 

Transport


Yekaterinburg is a major transportation hub, so you can get to the city by train, plane or bus. The Yekaterinburg-Passazhirsky railway station is in close proximity to the Northern bus station. Next to it, there are plenty of route buses, trolleybuses, buses and the Uralskaya metro station. The international airport is located within the city. To get from the airport to the city centre, you can take a train or taxi.
The metro runs from 6.00am till midnight. The stations are located near the railway station, bus stations, the central part of the city, near the circus and the Dynamo stadium. Buses boast the most extensive network with 63 routes. You can also buy a travel card, Ekarta.

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