Pop: 1.4 million
Other names: Sverdlovsk
Yekaterinburg Train Station
We had just 6 hours in Yekaterinburg, which wasn’t a great deal — but enough to see memorials to the town’s somber history. Russia’s last tsar and his family were shot and then bayoneted to death in Yekaterinburg in July of 1918. The building where the murder took place no longer exists – demolished in the 1970s, but there is now a large Cathedral to honor the canonized royal family, a museum, and a church that marks the place of execution.
Wooden Chapel erected at the place of execution of the Romanov Royal family
We did not have enough time to visit the mine – Ganina Yama – where the bodies were discarded, which is about 45min – 1 hr one-way outside of the city. But there are daily tours from the train station, which can be arranged to do that, should run you about 500-600 rubles per person, look out for them at the train station.
in Honor of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land – commemorates the sainthood of the last Royal family.
Instead we took a very informative (and free!) tour of the Romanov family museum – learning about the life of the last royal family, the massive changes that were happening in the empire at the time, WWI, and what could have been. Nicholas II had many innovations during his short rule: reformed the education system by introducing three-tiered school – elementary, middle and high, created the plan to electrify Moscow, introduced an in-depth plan for the Moscow subway system, created a first submarine(1909), and first ice-breaker ship. He also tripled the amount of schools as well as opened a great number of new colleges with the goal of creating an educated society.
One more of the Church on Blood, this time with a birch tree, which is Russia’s symbolic tree.
Sergey and I have a disagreement here: he maintains that Russia’s history would have been better, more prosperous if the empire – and the royal family – ended up on the right side of history. His main dilemma is what good really came out of Soviet system if the main seeds were planted during the rule of Tsar? Russian ruble was worth $1.5 at the time of revolution and everything was getting better. For me, I can’t really speculate like that, who knows – certainly lots of terrible times were had by all during the Soviet Union, but how can we say for sure what would have happened if things played out differently? We can’t.
Yekaterinburg city skyline.
We did not venture past the inner most center of the city – which surprised me by being very modern, with wide streets and boulevards. At this point we are in the Urals, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia – and yet, Yekaterinburg reminded me more of Moscow than Nizhniy or Kazan.
We took some nice shots of the city – it looked like a comfortable place to live, but we didn’t see much else of interest in particular. By all means certainly worth a visit, but probably not for anything in particular (aside from the Romanov memorial) but rather to see a well maintained, comfortable city deep in the Russian heartland.
Luggage: Train station has facilities to check luggage (our most expensive at 450 rubles for 3 bags!) and a shower (200 rubles) if you have been traveling for a few days.
Eat: If you get hungry, check out a place at 74 Khokhryakova st, right off main Lenin prospect, called Vilka and Lozhka (Fork and Spoon), which is a soviet style cantina with all the usual suspects – borsch, buckwheat, sardelkis, and kisel’.
Lovers’ bridge across Iset River in Yekaterinburg, Russia.