Ekaterinburg, busy city
Photo by: andrijbulba, Creative Commons

Russia is truly a beautiful place to live in, and you will gain quite a lot of knowledge living in it, from its exquisite language and culture, to the wealth of historical accounts regarding the nation. The smaller towns are just as beautiful as the bigger cities, but it will all depend on your preference as a tourist (or, who knows, a resident).

Ekaterinburg is a major city in central Russia. Formerly known as Sverdlovsk (after Yakov Sverdlov, Bolshevik party leader) and also referred to as Yekaterinburg, it is the heart of the administration of Sverdlovsk Oblast. It is 1,036 miles east of the Russian capital, Moscow, sits at the Ural mountain range’s eastern side, and is Urals Federal District’s the main cultural and industrial center. It is Russia’s fifth largest city with a population of around 1,300,000.

Partially woody plains and small lakes surround Ekaterinburg. Winter occurs from November till mid-April, the temperature falling to as low as minus 49 degrees F (45 degrees C). Summer is short, only lasting an average of 67 days, the average temperature being 64 degrees F (18 degrees C). Differing winds and its location behind the Ural mountain range contribute to its unpredictable day-to-day and year-to-year weather.

Getting to and around Ekaterinburg is easy via the Koltsovo International Airport (SVX) and the smaller Yekaterinburg Aramil Airport. The city is an important Trans-Siberian Railway junction. Its public transportation includes the Yekaterinburg Metro, trams, buses, trolleybuses, and Marshrutka routes.

The city teems with museums and libraries. More than 30 museums exist therein, several of them showcasing Ural jewelry and minerals, art galleries, one of the biggest Kasli molding collections, and the Shigir collection which includes the world’s oldest wood sculpture, the Shigir Idol, estimated to be around 9,000 years old already. Its libraries include Sverdlovsk Oblast’s largest public library, the V. G. Belinsky Scientific Library. The city also has a circus building, and on it also stands one of the world’s tallest incomplete architectural structures, the Yekaterinburg TV Tower. Theaters also abound in the city so theater-loving tourists need not be gloomy.

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