Site of the murder of Tsar Nikolai II and his family.
After the 1917 revolution the last Tsar and his family were transported around the country before being brought to Ekaterinburg.
There they were held in Ipatyev House for 87 days before being executed on the night of July 16th 1918. The former Tsar along with his wife, Alexandra, young son, Alexei and four daughters were taken into a cellar and shot repeatedly and stabbed with bayonets. Their bodies were then buried under a dirt road outside Ekaterinburg where they stayed until being moved to St Peter and PaulХs Fortress in St Petersburg and buried exactly 80 years after their execution.
Ipatyev House was demolished in 1977 under the orders of local party boss Boris Yeltsin due to fears that it was becoming a site of memorial to the old regime. Boris Yeltsin would later be present at the former TsarХs burial in St Petersburg in his capacity as President. Today several memorials stand on the site. The major one is the Church on the Blood
which was completed in 2003,
designed to commemorate the Romanovs. An impressive sight, the church is in Russian/Byzantine style, apparently favored by the last Tsar, and has a striking interior. The personal icon of the Romanov family, the Three-hand Mother of God was returned from Canada to Russia to be housed in this church. In front of the church stands the memorial to Tsar Nikolai II and his family
, also built in 2003, which features statues of the deceased around a cross.
Perhaps more touching though is the simple marble monument and cross which stands near the church. There is also a small marble plaque laid on the ground not far from the cross that gives a brief account of the night of the execution. Behind these two memorials stands the St Elizaveta Chapel, built to honor a nun and relative of the Tsar who was murdered not long after he was.
Directions: The Church on the Blood is at Tomalcheva Ul., #34, while the smaller monuments are behind this address, facing onto the parallel Ulitsa Karla Libknekhta.
Although itХs probably the most important site in the city with regards to EkaterinburgХs heritage, the Historical
Square is an ugly place. Set along the banks of the Iset River, which at this point is little more than a polluted creek, the concreted area is far from aesthetically pleasing. But this is the heart of the city where you can find the dam
that has been there from the beginning of EkaterinburgХs existence in 1723 and the spot where the iron forge that the city was based upon once sat. Also in the vicinity is the Ural Nature Museum
and the open-air Machinery Museum
as well as an old water tower
. In the summer months there are a number of fairground type attractions around the square.
Historical Square on Prospekt Lenina is Ploshchad Truda (Labor Square). Here there is a monument to the founders of St Petersburg
. The two figures depicted are Vasily Tatishchev, who had been chosen to manage the iron forge, and Dutchman Willem de Hennin, who also played a major role in the plantХs development. The monument was unveiled in 1998 to commemorate EkaterinburgХs 275th anniversary. Just behind the monument and opened for the same anniversary is the small but charming St Ekaterina Chapel
. It was named after the cityХs first church which once stood on this spot and was five times bigger, but was blown up in 1930 along with a number of other churches in Ekaterinburg. St Ekaterina is the patron saint of mining.
Directions: Historical square is to the south of Prospekt Lenina where it meets the Iset River.
Ploshchad 1905 Goda.
EkaterinburgХs central square was called Cathedral Square in its 200 odd year history
preceding communism. Its name came from the large cathedral that used to stand here but was destroyed in 1930. A statue of Tsar Alexander II that used to stand there was destroyed at the same time. Now a large statue of Lenin presides there instead. Across from Lenin (at Prospekt Lenina, #24a) stands the Ekaterinburg City Hall. Construction on this building was begun before the revolution but not completed. After that it underwent a couple of facelifts before taking on its current Stalinist appearance in 1954.
Black Tulip Memorial Complex to the Victims of Local Wars.
This is a very striking war memorial,
with a large, dark and brooding statue in front of a series of columns listing EkaterinburgХs war dead, organized by year. Perhaps it is most notable for honoring the dead in the Chechen conflict, which is a rare sight. The other Тlocal warУ the memorial refers to is Afghanistan. Like many war memorials, the area around the monument is popular with skateboarders.
Directions: In Sovetskaya Armiya Ploshchad, on the corner of Mamina-Sibiryaka and Pervomaiskaya Ulitsy.
Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet House.
This beautiful building was opened in 1912 due to growing demand from the theater-loving public.
The theater was designed by St Petersburg architect Semenov, who won a nation-wide design competition with his submission ТSvetlanaУ. The theater was known by this name for a long time afterwards. The interior of the building is equally sumptuous. There is usually one performance held here each weekday and two on weekends from September to July. On the boulevard just across from the Opera House stands a statue of Yakov Sverdlov
, the prominent Bolshevik, leading orator, and at one point the assumed successor to Lenin, after whom Ekaterinburg was named during the Soviet era.
Address: Prospekt Lenina, #46a. Tel: 350-8057.
ItХs hard to tell why there is such a fuss about this place.
ItХs just a park with a few museums dedicated to writers from the Urals. Sure, itХs a nice park and a quiet area in the busy inner city, but thereХs nothing special about it. ThereХs a statue of Pushkin, a museum about Ural writers in the 19th Century, Ural writers in the 20th Century and the house-museum of Fyodor Reshetnikov. In the summer months thereХs a cool open-air cafe that plays chill-out music and thereХs a small amphitheater where outdoor events are held. The park is open from 7am to 10pm daily.
Directions: The Literary Quarter is between Proletarskaya Ul. and Tolmacheva Ul. and stretches the entire length of the former.
Rastorguev-Kharitonov Estate and Park.
This is a much nicer and more inspiring park, more in the theme of some of the Moscow and St Petersburg estates but on a far less grandiose scale.
Rastorguev and Kharitonov were two of EkaterinburgХs richest merchants. The estate in the south-western corner of the park is quite beautiful if not as opulent as many other Russian mansions. The park, which was commissioned by Kharitonov, was the first public park in Ekaterinburg and is a great place for a relaxing stroll. The artificial lake and rotunda near the eastern entrance is its most famous feature.
Directions: Rastorguev-Kharitonov Estate and Park takes up the block south of Shevchenko between Ulitsa Karla Libknekhta and Ulitsa Mamina-Sibiryaka. The address of the mansion is Karla Libknekhta Ul., #44.
The Ascension Church.
Construction on the Ascension
Church began in 1792 and was completed in 1818. Sitting on the southern perimeter of Rastorguev-Kharitonov Park but facing onto Klary Tsetkin Ulitsa, it is now one of the oldest churches left standing in Ekaterinburg having escaped Soviet demolition. It is also the cityХs only baroque church. Run down just enough to look charming without appearing dilapidated, the Ascension Church is perhaps the most beautiful in Ekaterinburg.
Address: Klary Tsetkin Ul., #11.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Built in the 1820s,
the Holy Trinity Cathedral used to be the most important in Ekaterinburg. In the past it held many jewel-encrusted icons and other ornaments and was lavishly decorated inside. But it fell into disrepair during the Soviet era when it was used to store automobiles. Newly restored, the cathedral is now shining and prominent again, even if its interior hasnХt recovered to its former glory.
Address: Rozy Lyuksemburg Ul., #57. Next to the World Trade Center.
Antei Tower Lookout.
The Antei entertainment
and business center has a 273 meter high rooftop lookout that offers stunning panoramic views of Ekaterinburg. Lookouts such as this one are all too rare in Russia so make sure you get up to have a look. Ekaterinburg might not be an overly picturesque city from the air, but being up there does give you a good idea of the cityХs varied architectural styles and general layout. Entrance costs 40R ($1.50), but since no one checks tickets at the top itХs free if you say youХre going somewhere else in the building.
Address: Krasnoarmeiskaya Ul., #10.
Ekaterinburg has a stack of museums, most of which are of incredibly little interest, the ТMuseum of Fruit Gardening of the Middle Urals,У being an example. But there are a few worth checking out. The Ekaterinburg History Museum (Karla Libknekhta Ul., #26. Tel: 371-2111. Open Tue-Sat: 10-18) has some exhibits related to the original inhabitants of the Urals, as well as pre-revolutionary objects and photographs, a display on the execution of the last Tsar and exhibits on the Soviet era in Ekaterinburg. Some other museums that are appealing if you have a special interest in the subject matter are the Museum of Nature of the Urals (Gorkogo Ul., #4. Tel: 371-2113. Open Wed-Sun: 11-18), which mainly has a bunch of stuffed animals from the region; the Ural Mineralogical Museum (Krasnoarmeiskaya Ul., #1. Tel: 355-6019. Open Mon-Fri: 10-19, Sat-Sun: 10-17) has an impressive collection of precious and not so precious stones from the region; and the Military History Museum (Pervomaiskaya Ul., #27. Tel: 350-1742. Open Tue-Sat: 9-16) is worth a visit in a region that was famous for military industry.
The Europe Asia Monument.
About 20km west of Ekaterinburg, the Europe-Asia monument is chosen as the technical divide between the two continents. ItХs difficult to get there without hiring a car or taking a tour, but nevertheless attracts fair numbers of tourists. There are plans to make the site more accessible in the near future. The border point is also set to be expanded to include museums and other attractions as Ekaterinburg looks to cash in more on the tourist dollar.
Caramele isnХt one of EkaterinburgХs most renowned clubs but itХs certainly an interesting place.
There are different shows at 11pm from Tuesday to Sunday which involve a swimming pool and a swing. From Tuesday to Thursday there are erotic shows while Friday and Saturday nights feature ТAfricanУ shows. Talented DJs play good music, generally funky house. Caramele has a relaxed atmosphere, though it suffers from the pervading smell common in old Soviet era buildings. Furnishings are nice and while the club looks a little outdated it remains somewhat fashionable. Friendly clientele and staff, moderately priced drinks and food. Address: Mamina-Sibiryaka Ul., #58. Tel: 350-8374. Open Tue-Sun: 12:00-4:00, Mon: 12:00-2:00.
An irredeemably awful club that for some reason has a reputation for being not so awful. Ra is staffed by complete idiots who have nothing better to do than harass the few customers they get when they arrive. After being subjected to the most thorough and over-the-top search and frisking imaginable, I entered the club to find it almost completely empty, on the equivalent of a Sunday night. There is ample seating available for all the people who donХt come here. But even if there were customers the place would still be awful ш the DJs lacked any sort of mixing talent and the interior is ordinary. Although there is a nice chill-out room with a TV and beanbags. Ra is cheap enough - bottled beer is 70-80 rubles ($2.80), draft beer 100 rubles ($3.70), cocktails 200 rubles ($7.40) and spirits around 120 rubles ($4.40). Cover depends on the night but is usually about 150 rubles ($5.50). CouldnХt get a photo ш they wouldnХt let me take my camera inside for obvious reasons.
Address: Mamina-Sibiryaka Ul., #36. Tel: 355-4551. Website: www.clubra.ru/ra/. Open Fri-Sat: 22:00-6:00, Sun-Thur: 21:00-4:00.
Not a bad little club, Seti often plays host to dance parties and special themed events.
Part of the greater Vodoley Entertainment Complex, the DJs at Seti play some lively music and the club attracts a decent-sized crowd who all seem to be enjoying themselves. The mix of clientele is a bit odd ш mainly pretty, young girls and middle-aged men. ItХs worth coming just to ponder why that is. And to contemplate how ridiculous a grey-haired, 50 year old man must feel being forced to dance to funky house music with his 20 year old date. HeХs probably rather proud of what heХs pulled, you might think. But at what cost to his dignity? Drinks are reasonably priced at about $3.50 for beer and $7 for cocktails. There is only a small dance floor but there are a lot of places to sit and relax, some of them very comfortable. A place you could go to party or just to chill out.
Address: Shevchenko Ul., #9. Tel: 370-1628. Open Wed-Sat: 23:00-6:00. Sun: 21:00-1:00.
Parking is a large club with a massive dance floor and is full of young, fashionable people.
It has friendly staff - even the door thugs arenХt too bad - and the clientele are clearly there to have a good time. The DJs play a good mix of generally hard dance music. Parking is quite a pricey place by mid-sized Russian city standards though, with cocktails costing $10 or more, spirits about $7 and only small, bottled beer available for $3.70. There are lots of tables and chairs but you have to eat if you want to sit at them. The menu is Japanese and the food actually isnХt too bad. An average main course is about $10. The bouncerХs warning that photos werenХt allowed prompted me to take some drunken notes which I might as well repeat here: People in Ekaterinburg seem to have a perplexing fear of photographs. I havenХt been told not to take photos so many times since I traveled to Uluru and there were signs everywhere saying not to photograph the sacred sites. Parking Club is not a sacred siteЙ
Address: Krasnoarmeiskaya Ul., #10. Tel: 379-5755. Open 24 hours.
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