Sverdlovsk Oblast

nevyansk– невьянск

In case a traveler decides to venture the road north of Yekaterinburg then his next destination should be the town of Nevyansk 100 km away. The town is reminiscent of Italy due to its landmark - a leaning tower built in 1725 as ordered by the then metallurgical tycoon Nikita Demidov and currently showing a 2.2 m deviation from verticality.

Next to the leaning tower stands an impressive Savior-Transfiguration Cathedral.

The Demidovs family received the tsar's (Peter I) blessing to develop the area. The family effectively coped with the task and for many years efficiently controlled the industrial Urals. The monument below shows Nikita Demidov and tsar Peter I who has just signed the decree giving the industrialist preferential status in developing the Urals.

Visitors do tricks similar to those they do in the Italian Pisa.

The Demidovs' coat of arms decorates the forged fence around the site.

There are guided tours to the top of the leaning tower.

The general view from a nearby hill.

verkhoturie - верхотурье

Further north 300 km from Yekaterinburg you can find the town of Verkhoturie. It is the oldest town in the Urals founded in the 16th century. It used to be the main trade center on the way between Siberia and Moscow. Gradually the town lost its former importance but retained two old monasteries of 1604 and 1621 and the second largest in Russia the Exaltation of the Cross Cathedral. Being situated far from other religious centers the town is nevertheless is one the most worshipped places of pilgrimage among Russian Orthodox Church followers. Pilgrims come to the Saint Nicholas monastery to kiss the casket of saint Simeon Verkhotursky and to absorb his healing powers. The notorious mystic Gregory Rasputin lived here for three years. Allegedly one day Mother Mary came to him saying words of wisdom, “let you be a holy healer”. After that he acquired potent healing powers which later made him a close friend of the royal Romanovs family. See the Tobolsk page and listen to “The Rasputin” song performed by Bony M for more details.

The 1604 Saint Nicholas monastery.

The monastery being a rather small one has a sizable population of monks inspired by the story about Rasputin.

The casket with relics of Saint Simeon of Verkhoturie.

A worshipper is about to kiss the relics.

The recently cast bell with the Romanovs family depicted on its side is about to be lifted to the bell tower. Tsar Nicholas II was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. His wife and five children who shared his fate are considered to be holy martyrs.

The Saint Nicholas monastery as seen from the nearby Verkhoturie Kremlin.

The avid traveler Jonn Burke of Cleveland, Ohio is rejoicing his visit to Verkhoturie.

Beggars at the gate.

The Verkhoturie Kremlin built in 1698 - 1712 is currently a museum. Visitors can climb the bell tower of the tile decorated Trinity Church.

A statue of Ivan Malyshev born in Verkhoturie in 1889. He was a prominent revolutionary at the head of the fight for establishment and then defense of the Soviet power in the Urals. He was executed by the White Army in June 1918.

serov – серов

100 km further north the road takes you to the town of Serov. If you travel by road from Yekaterinburg to Khanty-Mansyisk it is a good place to stay overnight in the hotel "Nadezhdinsky". The town is built around a metallurgical plant commissioned here in 1895.

In this rather small town there are two WWII memorials located just 200 m away from each other. One commemorates all residents of Serov who fell in the WWII battlefields.

The other one is dedicated specially to employees of the metallurgical plant who went to the front and never came back.

In June 2010 I spotted a homeless guy baking potatoes in the eternal flame. I bought him good food, in return he discontinued his cooking in this inappropriate place.

The town is named after one of the first Soviet ace pilots Anatoly Serov. He was born here in 1910 and died in an air crash near Moscow in 1939 after surviving 200 sorties in Spain.

The good old Lenin stands right across Serov.

Locals confess their sins in this newly built church.

deer creeks – оленьи ручьи

The nature reserve named Deer Creeks is located 120 km west of Yekaterinburg. A very scenic area where you can walk through a cave, contemplate rock formations lining the banks of the Sergy River.