Yekaterinburg is one of the most populous cities in Russia, coming fourth after Moscow, St Petersburg and Novosibirsk. That means that there are more people living in Yekaterinburg than in Estonia, which is always an interesting comparison for me. Like many other great things in Russia, it was established during the reigns of Peter the Great. Of course, it has been a settlement long before that, but in 1723 it was officially founded and later made into one of the first industrial cities in Russia, rich with history and culture, giving today’s tourists so many places to visit in Yekaterinburg.
Probably one of the most famous things about city’s history is also one of the saddest in the history of Russia. After October Revolution in 1917, Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II and his family were brought to Yekaterinburg and executed there in 1918. But there is much more to this place than tsar’s last home, and here we will take a look at some things to do and places to visit in Yekaterinburg. Located on the border between Europe and Asia, it is bordered by Ural Mountains, forests, hills and rivers.
So, here is our list of places to visit in Yekaterinburg.
1. Church of All Saints
This Russian Orthodox Church was built on the same spot where Ipatiev House stood before, a place where last Romanovs were killed. One of the most famous ends of the royal bloodline – in 1918 tsar Nikolai II, his family and all who accompanied them, were shot, bayoneted and clubbed to death. Since then, Russian church has canonized them and built a cathedral on the place of their tragic deaths. Inside you’ll find the lower church as well as the upper church. Upper church has more paintings, but I personally liked lower church more due to the special ambiance. Remember that Russian churches have a dress code (for ladies – head should be covered and they should wear a skirt that is longer than knees, preferably full length; for men – head should not be covered, but no shorts allowed). At the entrance you will find some scarfs and fabric to cover yourself, if needed.
2. Ganina Yama
Another place connected to the death of the last tsar. It’s located 15km north from Yekaterinburg and today is home for a small but beautiful wooden monastery. After Romanovs’ execution, their bodies were dumped into the pit (“yama” in Russian). 7 chapels were built on this site, one for every family member.
3. Yekaterinburg Arena
Central Stadium was originally built in 1957. However, it underwent a reconstruction before the World Cup 2018. It took a long time for this arena to meet FIFA standards, but today it’s a place many locals are proud of.
4. Business center Vysotsky
Named after famous Russian poet and musician, this skyscraper is a business center. It does, however, have a viewpoint opened to public daily from 10am to 10pm. Full priced tickets go for 350 rubles, while children, students, elderly and WWII veterans can get a discount.
5. Vayner street and its random statues
This street is one of the most buzzing streets in the city. It has plenty of opportunities for shopping and food. There you will also find many bronze statues, starting with the one dedicated to the lovers, automobile drivers or Michael Jackson.
6. Beatles monument
This iconic band has probably influenced every country in the world. However, this is so far the first and the only monument to the Beatles in Russia. Located next to the Malyshev bridge, it has its own cozy corner right by the Iset River.
7. Monument to the keyboard
Situated very close to the Beatles monument, this piece of art is basically just a giant keyboard. Why? I don’t know. Too many strange monuments in Yekaterinburg.
8. 1905 Square
The square is named after Russian Revolution that happened in 1905. It’s a main square in the city and is a place where Yekaterinburg holds New Year’s Eve celebrations. In winter it turns into a big ice city, filled with ice sculptures and Christmas trees.
The whole area around this dam is quite interesting – the river, the historical square, monument to city’s establishers and the promenade. It’s also a place for many concerts and celebrations, and one of the must places to visit in Yekaterinburg. Come by, have a walk and try some local ice cream.
10. Dendrological park
This park is not as interesting as some other parks in Russia, but in my opinion that is the place where the most beautiful church in Yekaterinburg is located. Most people would probably disagree with me, but often I enjoy tiny churches more than colorful cathedrals. We haven’t been inside, but in comparison to all these big golden-dome churches, this small chapel, named after Alexander Nevsky, looks timid, but infused with history. I only wish it was made of wood!
11. Europe-Asia Border
If you were looking into places to visit in Yekaterinburg, one of them is the spot where Europe meets Asia. It lies on the 17th kilometer of Moskovsky Trakt. It’s not exactly close to the city center, but if you dreamed of being in two places at the same time – that is your chance!
Here’s the twist: a place where Russia’s last tsar died is also a place where Russia’s first president was born. Not exactly in Yekaterinburg, but nearby, at least according to the Russian standards. This is how Yekaterinburg is tying together the beginning and the end of the Soviet Union. On the 8 of March Street nr 2 you can find the house where he lived, and you can visit Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center with Boris Yeltsin’s Museum on Boris Yeltsin Street. By the way, the Ural State Technical University, where Yeltsin studied, is now also named after him.
13. Get a burger in The Yankee bar
We went to The Yankee Bar to watch football, and didn’t regret it. If you are traveling in Russia for a while and want a change to all the Russian cuisine you’ve been consuming, their burgers are familiarly good. Plus, they have a selection of Russian craft beers that is worth checking out.
14. Stroll along the river and the “city pond”
This walk can be beautiful, especially in good weather. Many people ride their bikes and kickstands there. You can find ice cream shops, small cafes and corn stands. It’s lively both during the day and in the evening – families, people with dogs, children.. definitely recommended for some relaxing time!
15. Head for coffee and tea to the Travelers’ Coffee
Although Travelers’ Coffee is a country-wide franchise, they still have a good selection of drinks and food. We recommend to try Ethiopian coffee made with chemex and the sea buckthorn tea.
16. Iset River : rent a boat at Lenin Avenue for the romantic stroll
During the sunset, it’s really beautiful and it shouldn’t cost you too much money. During summer months especially, enjoy your time: sunsets last long and sunrises come early.
All in all, we didn’t find Yekaterinburg to be exactly the most exciting city in the world, but for a few days you can spend a very pleasant time there in a relaxing pace. It’s quite a peculiar mix of modern culture and significant history, so try and get a guided tour, if you can.
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