Yekaterinburg, on the River Isset beneath the Ural Mountains, is the administrative capital of the Ural federal district in west central Russia. It is an important industrial centre and was the scene of Tsar Nicholas II’s execution.
The city was founded in 1672 when members of the Russian sect of Old Believers settled there, establishing an iron foundry and a fortress. The settlement was named Yekaterinburg after Catherine I in 1783. It became the administrative centre for the ironworks of the Urals region, and a station on the Great Siberian Highway.
Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed in Yekaterinburg in July 1918. The city was renamed Sverdlovsk after the Bolshevik leader Yakov Sverdlov in 1924 but regained its original name following the collapse of communism.
A major railway intersection, local buses and trams run within the city. Yekaterinburg is one of Russia’s largest industrial centres, especially for heavy engineering, metallurgical, chemical and tyre industries.
It is home to the A.M. Gorky State University and the Urals division of the Academy of Science.
Places of Interest
Yekaterinburg has several notable buildings exemplifying Russian eighteenth and nineteenth century classicism. Among the city’s most important churches are the Church of Alexander Nevsky and the Church of Ascension. There is a geological museum, a fine arts museum and a museums of writers, as well as numerous theatres and an orchestra.