yekaterinburg – екатеринбург

The city was founded in 1723 as a mining center. Currently it is the fourth most populous city of Russia with 1,400,000 inhabitants. The administrative center of Sverdlovsk oblast. In 1924 Yekaterinburg was renamed Sverdlovsk after Yakov Sverdlov a prominent revolutionary. The oblast still bears Sverdlov's name but the city was renamed back to Yekaterinburg in 1991. A nice park is laid out in the place where the city was started featuring a monument to the founders – Vasily Tatishchev and George Wilhelm de Genin - proudly holding the tsar's decree ordering to start a big effort to exploit the Ural's mineral resources.

Yakov Sverdlov.

Internationally Yekaterinburg is most famous as the place where the last Russian tsar Nicolas II and his family spent their last days. They were kept under the house arrest for several months and on the night of 16 July 1918 shot in the cellar of a house belonging to a local engineer Nikolay Ipatiev, now known as Ipatiev's House. The house was demolished in 1977 by the then governor Boris Yeltsin, who feared it could evoke unwanted feelings of sympathy among masses. In 2003 a huge Byzantine style cathedral was built in the very same spot. The strange coincidence is that the Romanov’s dynasty originated in the Ipatiev monastery named after saint Ipaty. See the Kostroma Oblast page.

Streetscapes of Yekaterinburg.

The Beatles corner.

The high-rise named "Vysotsky" in the very center of Yekaterinburg has a viewing platform on top from where you can enjoy a bird's eye view of the city.

Russian czar Peter I put a lot of effort into development of the Urals.

There are many quirky monuments in the city as well. Among them a monument to the keyboard, the youngsters in love, the peddler, the invisible man, the shopper, passengers missing the train, etc.

Rail road workers.

A peddler and Greenwich.

A banker and his car.

A trip to Shirokorechenskoye cemetery reveals Yekaterinburg's most recent history. At the entrance are the monumental graves of local gang boys who fell victims of 1990s gang wars.

Not far from the cemetery right along the highway is a memorial dedicated to victims of the political repressions of the 1930-50s.

ganina yama – ганина яма

Perhaps the major tourist attraction is an abandoned mine called Ganina Yama located 17 kilometers from central Yekaterinburg. In July 1918 after the Romanovs and their servants were shot, their bodies were discarded here. In the 90ss the Monastery of the Holy Martyrs was built at this pilgrimage site. Seven wooden churches were constructed using ancient techniques. One per each member of the royal family. According to the Russian Orthodox Church the resting place of the Romanov family is a sacred ground.

Tsar Nicholas II.

His wife tsarina Alexandra.

Their kids.

All Romanovs were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery commemorates their sainthood.

The word "yama" in Russian means "a pit". The pit where the royal bodies were dumped is marked with a cross. There is a walking gallery around the pit.

porosinkov log – поросинков лог

As a messy and confusing story goes, the Romanovs' remains were accidentally found by geologists in 1978 about 3 km away from Ganina Yama near the so-called Porosinkov Log. According to the conclusions made by the investigation team in 1990ss, all Romanovs and their servants died in the cellar of Ipatiev's house. The bodies were dumped at Ganina Yama, followed by several grenades intended to collapse the mine shaft. The shaft didn't collapse. Then it was decided to bury the bodies in several smaller mines but the truck carrying the bodies got stuck in a swamp. Eventually, the execution squad burnt  the bodies of Alexei and Maria (their remains were not found) and buried the rest near Porosinkiov Log where they resurfaced 70 years later. The place is marked with a wooden cross and two grave stones. No crowds and worshippers there.

The Russian Orthodox Church officials do not recognize the removal of bodies from Ganina Yama. That's why all processions head for there.

europe \ asia – европа \ азия

Before a car traveler gets to Yekaterinburg from the west, he is unable to resist a temptation to make a stop at the border between Europe and Asia. There are three signs in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg which mark the border between the two parts of the world. One of them is located at the foot of the Berezovaya mountain, near the town of Pervouralsk. This is the oldest sign built in 1837.

An avid traveler Frank Rainer of Livermore, California is straddling the continents.

Another one is just 400 m away if you take a trail through the forest.

The third one was built in 2004 at the 17th km of the Moscow Road.