Ekaterinburg, Ural Ways On My Mind

Here we are, half way through our Russian journey. It’s funny as the reason we wanted to go to Russia was to see Moscow and Saint Petersburg. We had no idea about these other great places along the Trans Siberian Rail route, what a complete bonus.

Ekaterinburg has the unenviable historical significance of ending the direct Tsar bloodline with the brutal killing of the Romanov family. It also boasts the enviable modern Russian historical significance of Boris Yeltsin being one of it’s sons, where his political skills and beliefs were developed prior to guiding Russia through a very turbulent time.

So Ekaterinburg played a significant part in both the beginning and end of the Soviet era. Well that’s our understanding now anyway. 

Who knew? A lot of Russians, amongst others, presumably, but not us.

We had an afternoon to look around after we got off the train and a group of volunteers have created the Red Line. They have painted a line through the city that takes you past 35 significant landmarks, museums, etc. It makes a tourist’s life easy, so we followed a bit of it:


City Hall, under renovation, is an example of Soviet Neoclassic architecture apparently:

We spent the next couple of days touring around the Ural Mountains with our guide Konstantin, of the Ekaterinburg Guide Centre

First stop Nevyansk, a place of significance during Peter The Great’s time as the area was rich in high purity iron, good for weaponry. It also happens that he made a mate of Nikita Demidov, a highly skilled blacksmith. He put the 2 together and a constant feed of arms was created.

The leaning tower, above, had some practical uses as well as being decorative such as laboratory, vault, and prison. It also has a mechanically complex bell playing system that was designed and built in London:

The Demidovs also built a place of worship:

The Transfiguration Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral.


Statue of Peter The Great with Nikita Demidov above.

We also took a look around the famous Nevyansk Icon Collection where they are also creating new icons:


Above: An icon of the now canonised Romanov family.


Then onto Byngi for our overnight stay. Apparently it’s very common for Russians to have a residence in the city/town but also have a smaller country house called a Dacha. Some of these are literally wooden huts but it follows the same concept of UK allotments except they live there at weekends:

Then on to our roof for the night, Stefan and Olga’s

Thanks for a great night.

Then onto the Ural Mountains, at the Wild Deer Streams Park. Unfortunately it was a rainy day but we stuck with it because we’re British. Ruble to the first one that spots the horse drinking from the water

The Ural Mountains actually create the border between Western Asia and Eastern Europe so we straddled the 2 continents. Well you have to don’t you.

Then back to Ekaterinburg for a couple of day’s of Red Line action:

We finished off our time at Ekaterinburg with a visit to the Boris Yeltsin Museum:

You’re not allowed to take photos inside as the ex-KGB looking chaps made quite clear when I tried.

It was a really good museum with the main floor showing 7 days of Yeltsin’s political career in respect to guiding Russia out of communist rule. The first day being when he criticised Gorbachev and got kicked out the party to the 7th day being when he resigned. Very interesting.

And lastly: Pub Quiz info;

The Siberian Taiga is the largest forest in the world. 12 000 000 square kilometres, add the area of China and India together and add a bit more and you get there. Thank us later…

Addendum:

Although the Siberian Taiga is the largest forest it doesn’t produce the most oxygen, that would be the Amazonian Forest, due to the insidious nature of the Siberian Taiga.

Wooffle

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