Magnificent Ekaterinburg Russia
On the border between Asia and Europe.
During my sojourn in Russia, the last city to visit was Ekaterinburg, also spelt as Yekaterinburg, in the far east of Moscow a distance of 1667 km away in west-central Russia. It was a long 27.5-hour train journey from Moscow to arrive at this city in the afternoon. It was easy to locate the taxi stand and I negotiated the price of the ride to my hotel as the taxi had no meter. It was a welcome relief to go into my room and relax after the train journey. I went out briefly to the nearby pedestrian plaza which was lined up with shops, restaurants, money exchange office and small offices. Benches were provided for people to sit and relax, free of traffic to enjoy the scene and the good weather that evening. I returned to the hotel room for a much-needed rest and sleep after having some snacks at a restaurant nearby.
The city, founded in 1732, was once known as Sverdlovsk but returned to its original name of Yekaterinburg, which was the name of the consort Catherine, wife of Peter I the Great. It is the administrative centre of Sverdlovsk oblast (region) with a population of 14 lakh, the fourth biggest city in Russia. During the Russian revolution of October 1917, it was the scene of the execution of the last tsar and his family. I was interested in visiting the border between Asia and Europe for which the only option was to hire a taxi for the journey and back. After a good breakfast, I rode the taxi that was waiting for me. The drive was about 30 minutes when the driver stopped the car a little distance from the memorial and I had to walk up to the site. It had a steel architectural design put up on a platform, a simple and an elegant structure. “Europe – Asia” is written on a granite block in Russian. I took pictures of the memorial as well as the surroundings. The highway to the Siberian region stretches far into the
distance. There are forests around the place. A small kiosk displayed souvenirs. Hardly a few visitors were there on a day which was sunny and warm.
A sprawling city
I enjoyed the return journey looking at the sprawling city which is a major industrial, university and research centre. A small river Iset flows through the city adding charm to the surroundings. It has a huge mall
A small river Iset flows through the city adding charm to the surroundings. It has a huge mall displaying goods from all over the world, with famous brands vying with one another for attention. The city has several monuments for their army generals and prominent personalities. I visited an ancient cathedral well decorated inside with paintings and chandeliers. There were very few visitors at the time I was inside. I had snacks at a fast food joint patronised by youth.
displaying goods from all over the world, with famous brands vying with one another for attention. The city has several monuments for their army generals and prominent personalities. I visited an ancient cathedral well decorated inside with paintings and chandeliers. There were very few visitors at the time I was inside. I had snacks at a fast food joint patronised by youth. The city has a railway station which has a number of lines, including the Trans-Siberian railroad passing through.
It is strange that all the clocks at the railway station show Moscow time rather than the local time which is two hours ahead of Moscow time. My walk brought me to the river Iset which flowed placidly. In the distance I could see an artificial waterfall and nearby a water-fountain right on the river, a lovely attraction indeed. After a snack at a fast food joint, I began my return journey enjoying the sights and sounds of a bustling city. Everything was clean and traffic moderate. I spent a few minutes at the pedestrian plaza for rest. There was confusion as to the direction to my hotel until a friendly local, with good English, helped me to reach the hotel for a wellearned rest. There was thunder and lightning that night with little rain though. Though there was light out on the streets the hotel had emergency backup power. The two-day stay at the city gave me some idea of the life of the people away from the main cities like Moscow and St Petersburg. The return journey to Moscow was uneventful.
Ekaterinburg is accessible by air, rail and road. There are direct trains to Moscow Best time to visit is during summer months May to September
Local transport: bus and tram. Metro has just one line. Taxis are available but better to negotiate through a hotel
Modest to starred hotels are there which could be booked on line
Cafes and restaurants serve mostly Russian food. Fast food joints are dotted across the city
There are no conducted tours.
Ancient cathedral at Yekaterinburg.