History of Yekaterinburg in Brief
Yekaterinburg was founded as a fort-town in 1723 and named after Empress Catherine I. Since its foundation, the city was developing as the administrative center of the mining industry in the Urals and Siberia. In the early 19th century, Yekaterinburg became famous for gold and precious stone mining. In addition to gold, the Ural discoveries included deposits of sapphire, aquamarine, diamonds and other precious, semi-precious and ornamental stones. At that time, Yekaterinburg was one of the world’s leading stone-cutting and jewelry centers.
In 1924 the city was renamed Sverdlovsk in memory of one of the Bolshevik party’s leaders. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the city gave refuge to more than 50 large manufacturing plants, which formed a basis for the construction of new and expansion of old industrial facilities. Such major manufacturing companies as Uralmash, Uraltransmash, Uralkhimmash, and Uralelectrotyzhmash are well known far beyond the boundaries of Russia.
By 1976, Sverdlovsk grew into one of Russia’s million-plus cities.
The city returned to its historical name Yekaterinburg in 1991.
Interesting facts about Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg is the largest city at the boundary between Europe and Asia. According to the statistics, 78 trains cross the boundary between the continents in Yekaterinburg every hour. This unique geographic site where one can cross the boundary between the continents is situated 17 km away from the center of Yekaterinburg and is one of the most popular sights with visitors.
Yekaterinburg is the most compact million-plus city of the country. Its built-up area extends 20 km from north to south and 15 km from west to east.
Already the ancient Greeks knew about the Urals where Yekaterinburg is situated. Aeschylus, Plato and Herodotus mentioned the fantastic treasures of the Ural land, its magic powers and fantastic mythological creatures.
IYekaterinburg boasts the world’s oldest wooden sculpture, the Great Shigir Idol, which is older than the Egyptian pyramids, being 9,500 years old.
Yekaterinburg takes pride in its Kasli Cast-Iron Pavilion, a unique artwork created by the Ural masters. It was awarded Grand-Prix and Gold Medal at the 1900 World Expo in Paris. The pavilion is composed of more than 1,500 unique cast-iron parts and sculptural compositions and weighs around 20 tons. In 1978, the pavilion was registered by UNESCO as a rarity, the world’s only architectural cast-iron structure kept in a museum collection.
Yekaterinburg’s metal-making works supplied their products to England where they were used in the first industrial machine tools and in the roofing of the English parliament in London in 1820. The Ural steel was used in the Eifel Tower in Paris, and the Ural copper in the Statue of Liberty in New York.
In the 18th century, up to 80 % of copper coins in the Russian Empire were produced by the Yekaterinburg Mint.
The world’s first jet airplane BI–1 was tested in Yekaterinburg. Today, the street on which the Koltsovo International Airport is situated bears the name of Grigory Bakhchivandzhi, the test pilot of that airplane.
The world’s best-known walking excavator, which appears in the Guinness Book of Records, was made in Yekaterinburg by the Uralmash Company in 1980. The length of this gigantic model, ESh 100.100, is 100 meters, and its bucket can pick up enough rock to fill two railcars at once.
The two northernmost skyscrapers of the world are situated in Yekaterinburg. The residential Iset Tower (209 m) and the Vysotsky business center (188 m) are the tallest buildings not only in Yekaterinburg but also of the country east of Moscow.
Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin began his political career in Yekaterinburg. The city is considered to be one of the vanguards of democracy in the country. In 2015, Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center (Yeltsin Center) was opened in Yekaterinburg.
Selected from the materials available on the web-site of the information tourist service of Yekaterinburg
Today Yekaterinburg is one of the leading theatrical centers in Russia with 24 theaters, which are known not only in Russia but also internationally. The buildings of many of them (for instance, the Opera and Ballet Theater) belong to the city’s architectural heritage. Locally directed performances are regularly awarded prizes at the Golden Mask festival, Russia’s main theatrical award. The year 2019 is celebrated in Russia as the Year of Theater.
For more information on theaters, please visit the portal of Yekaterinburg’s Tourist Information Service http://its.ekburg.ru/theatre/
For more museums, please visit http://its.ekburg.ru/museums/
From 2002 Yekaterinburg Puppet Theater hosts biannually the International Festival of Puppet Theaters «Petrushka the Great». It has been recognized as one of the most significant festivals for puppet theaters in the world.
The unique World Clown Festival is held every fall in Yekaterinburg Circus.
Yekaterinburg was one of the first cities in Russia to join the European movement of «Night of Museums». On this night, the museums demonstrate their displays from an unusual perspective, stage performances, and offer interactive programs and contests.
Stenograffia – is an annual art project, a festival of street art and graffiti. Artists paint on concrete fences of construction and industrial sites, on walls, and on technical structures and underground walkways reconsidering and changing the urban space. Submissions to this contest come from hundreds of participants both from across Russia and other countries, both near and far. The list of sites where you will see the works of the participants of the festival will be posted in early September.
Ural Industrial Biennale
This is a major international art project. In 2019, the Biennial will be held for the fifth time from September 12 to December 1, 2019 under the theme «Immortality». More than 70 artists and art groups from 23 countries and regions will take part in the Main Project of the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial. A preliminary partial list of participants has been just published. The full list of artists will be published at a later date at official web-site Ural Industrial Biennale.