The capital of the Urals and the gateway between the European and Asian part of Russia, Ekaterinburg makes an interesting place to spend a few days.
A fairly new city by Russian standards, it doesnХt have the long history and consequent interesting landmarks that many Russian cities are blessed with. Nevertheless, there is plenty of interest to be found in Ekaterinburg. The city was founded in 1723 in an effort to make better use of the enormous resource potential of the Ural region. A mining town throughout its history, the city takes its name from the patron saint of mining, St Ekaterina. During the Soviet era it was renamed Sverdlovsk, after the prominent Bolshevik Yakov Sverdlov, and became a major industrial center. This role was expanded during World War Two when many factories were relocated to the city to ensure their safety.
Ekaterinburg also became closed to foreigners during this period due to its role as a base for many military facilities. Renowned for its mafia warfare in the 1990s, Ekaterinburg today is a quickly developing city. The wealth coming from the resource-rich region is plainly visible in the large-scale construction around the city and the flashy new establishments that are opening. In some ways a utilitarian city, the central district is very attractive, but almost too well planned. One of the cityХs greatest features is its varied architecture, with numerous examples of different styles dotting the city. For tourists there is an abundance of museums, churches, interesting buildings and, perhaps most famously, the site of the execution of the last Tsar. For businessmen, Ekaterinburg with its rapid economic development is a city of opportunity.
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