Yekaterinburg, unofficially called the Ural capital, is the fourth mostly populated city in Russia, the largest economic, industrial, cultural and transport center of the whole Ural region.
The city, founded in 1723 by order of Peter the Great, received its name after Catherine the Great who was a spouse of the Russian Emperor. Yekaterinburg was initially built as a hub of the mining and metallurgic area spread out on a huge territory of the Ural range, in two parts of the world — Europe and Asia.
During the reign of Catherine II the main route of the Russian Empire was laid through the city — the Great Siberian road. Thus Yekaterinburg became the city-‘key’ to the boundless Siberia, the ‘Russian window to Asia’, just as Saint Petersburg became the ‘Russian window to Europe’.
In 1807 Yekaterinburg received the status of the only ‘mountain city’ in Russia. By the way, the building of the British Parliament was roofed with sheet iron produced in Yekaterinburg. The framing of the Statue of Liberty was also made from the metal made in this area.
At present the city has vast external affairs —10 sister cities in all over the world. It ranks third in terms of the amount of diplomatic missions. In its whole history the city has been visited by 35 heads of different states.
Yekaterinburg was recognized by UNESCO to be one of 12 ideal cities in the world and took the fourth place in the Forbes rating of the best Russian cities for business.
In 2014 it became the third most popular Russian city among foreign tourists who visit with a great interest both the city and its suburbs.
One of the most well known constructions in all over the Ural is for sure the Nevian Leaning Tower, built in the first half of XVIII by order of Akinfiy Demidov. According to one version, this famous manufacturer minted counterfeit coins here; another version says that he secretly made silver and gold here at his mines. The tower was pictured on the banknote 5 Ural Francs 1991 and also on the silver coin of the Bank of Russia minted in 2007.
Yekaterinburg is unfortunately associated with one of the most tragic pages in the Russian history. Here on the night of 17 July 1918 the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family (Romanov) were shot. The bodies were thrown into the Isetsky Mine called the Ganina Yama (‘Ganya’s Pit’). Nowadays this name is related to the Monastery of the Holy Imperial Passion-Bearers.
Yekaterinburg is known as the city having the most buildings saved in the style on constructionism. The striking example of such an architectural movement is the Little City of the Chekists comprising of 14 bulks. Yekaterinburg is also the city of most Northern skyscrapers in the world.
This is also a place where the first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, was born. In 2015 Yeltsin Center, a very interesting museum of the Russian contemporary political history as well as a cultural, educational, and exhibition space, opened its doors to the wide public.
One of the most famous citizens of Yekaterinburg was a great sculptor Ernst Neizvestny. The first museum dedicated to his legacy was founded here on his 88th anniversary.
Yekaterinburg boasts informal art spaces among which are the following: the park of illusions and scientific entertainment ‘Galileo’, the interactive museum of science for both adults and kids ‘Newton Park’, the Street Art Gallery, the exotic park of butterflies, and unusual monuments to an invisible man, keyboard, etc.