Yekaterinburg is the 4th largest city in Russia after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and is the capital of the Urals region. It was founded in 1723 by the order of Peter the Great as the metallurgical factory and by the 20th century it had become one of Russia's largest and most important financial, industrial and cultural centers. Between 1924 and 1991, the town was known as Sverdlovsk (Свердловск). The city is often said to be situated on the border of Europe and Asia (on the Asian side) and (at least) three symbolic monuments of this can be found near the city.
Yekaterinburg has an international airport called Koltsovo and a number of direct international flights from Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, London, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Tashkent, Helsinki and several seasonal international charter flights, mostly to Turkey and Spain. There are daily flights to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport by Ural Airlines and TransAero as well as to Sheremetyevo airport, Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok and other cities of Russia by Aeroflot.
Yekaterinburg is also a major stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway. There are daily trains to Moscow and many other cities and towns in Russia from the central Railway station. The ticket office can be found on the ground floor of the new railway station building. There is an extensive network of local trains serving the surrounding region.
The central part of Yekaterinburg has problems coping with traffic. Getting around the center of Yekaterinburg by car is a real pain. The public transport system, however, is efficient. There is a wide tram network that is inexpensive and reliable. Trams can be quite crowded and the ticket is purchased onboard. Buses and trolleybuses (electric buses) experience the disadvantage of heavy traffic during peak hours.
Yekaterinburg is a very compact city for its population (1.3 million). One can drive from one side of the city to the other in some 30 to 40 minutes, provided there is no traffic. Yekaterinburg has a single metro (underground train) line, connecting the central part (stop is near the Circus) to Uralmash - a large industrial and residential area, having stops near main railway station and further down to Uralmash. The metro (natives say it is the shortest metro in the world) has proved to be popular with locals because it is quick and inexpensive (2008: 11 RUB/ride). The stations are impressive, decorated with native Ural stones, granite and marble.
You can get free walking maps published by the "Ekaterinburg Tourist Information Service" at their office on 8 Marta St. 21, office 2 (620014 г. Екатеринбург, ул. 8 Марта, офис 2). Those include sightseeing and culture.
To get there take a metro train to ploshchad' 1905 goda (площадь 1905-ого года, square of 1905 year), walk away from the square, go straigth across ploshchad' Malysheva (площадь Малышева) and it is the second house on the left hand side. They have merchandise in their windows (even GPS navigators) and you can enter from the court after you pass the house. There is an English speaker at hand and they can book tours as well.
If you can read cyrillic then you might get a good map from the railway stations and many street magazines called "Городской транспорт Екатеринбурга - карта с каждым домом" (city transport map of Yekaterinburg - map with all houses) which includes subway stations, all bus and elektrichka routes as well as three maps (inner city, big city, Koltsovo airport and surroundings) as well as a street register. By the same publisher, Urals Cartographic Company, Malysheva St. 122ze, 2nd floor, room. 207 (Уралская Картографическая Компания, ул. Малышева 122з, 2 этаж, к. 207), there is also a map called "достопримечательности Екатеринбурга" (Sights of Yekaterinburg) for about the same price of about 500 RUB.
If you get lost, there are information stands in the inner city aroud Square of 1905 that will show you your current location, a map of the inner city and possibly help you to find addresses, restaurants and sights. Though they are in Russian only, it should be enough to help you out.
- Church on the Blood, (Near the metro station dinamo.). Church on the Blood built in 2003 at the site of the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
- QWERTY Monument, (On the river bank near metro station ploshad' 1905 goda.). Easily one of Russia's weirdest attractions is the gargantuan keyboard monument in this city. Big white stones rise from the earth, and as you approach, you see engraved upon them, words like "Q" and "SHIFT."
- Circus, (Near the metro station Cirk (Цирк)). Richly ornamented building which hosts all sorts of circus shows. Nearby is the abandoned television tower.
- Ural State University, (To the east from 1905 square along Lenin avenue), . It's a wonderful building situated in a neighborhood full of beautiful old buildings. Makes for a pleasant stroll in the direction of Square of 1905.
Ural State Technical University, (Take trams 4, 8, 13, 15, 18, 22, 23 or buses 5, 10, 50, 50a to UGTU (УГТУ)), . Another wonderful building. Alma mater of Boris Yeltsin.
- Opera and Ballet Theatres. There are many theatres situated in the inner city around Square of 1905. For ticket information you might consult with the Ekaterinburg Tourist Information (see above).
- Shirokorechenskoye Kladbishche Cemetery (Широкореченское Кладбище), (Take buses 14, 22, 24, 37к, 048, 69 to Kontrol'naya (Контрольная).). This is the infamous "Mafia cemetery" where there are dozens of gaves ornated with big life-size images in stone of former Mafia members.
- Ledovyj Gorodok (Ледовый Городок), (Right on Ploshad' 1905 goda). During New Year's. A whole city block under the eyes of Lenin made out of ice. On the central Square of 1905.
Yekaterinburg offers plenty of cross-country skiing, with trails stretching for miles. There are some downhill skiing resorts as well. It will take you approximately 25 minutes to get to the nearest of them from the center of the city.
- Limpopo  - the largest water park in Europe
When in Yekaterinburg, make a visit to the "Chinese Market" or Bazaar. The market consists of many hundreds of small outdoor stalls, selling everything from toilet paper to fur coats, all at the best prices in the city. But this kind of market is not really the right place to buy souvenirs. Vaynera Street, in the center of the city, has a lot of shops with a wide range of small things to buy. Usually this street (it's pedestrian only) is called The Urals Arbat, after the famous Arbat in Moscow.
Leather in Russia is considered some of the best in Europe; handbags and wallets are of especially high quality. Gold jewelery, while expensive, is also very good. Markets, such as the Chinese market is good for cheap bargains.
During recent years many new cafés and restaurants have opened in Yekaterinburg, providing all kinds of cuisine. The Yamal Restaurant is perhaps the best one to visit if you have a chance. This restaurant is ready to introduce the world of northern Russian cuisine to you. The best international cuisine can be found in the newly opened Morrison lounge on the corner of Khokryakova and Malisheva Street in the city centre, very friendly staff too. And of course, don't forget to drop into a pelmeni-house.
There are a number of friendly bars in the city, but for homesick visitors look out for the English, Scottish, and Irish pubs; especially 'Old Dublin' in the centre of the city (with genuine English & Irish ales and stouts). There is also a Tinkoff brewery in the city, 64 Krasnoarmeiskaya ul. which does a fantastic business lunch as well as an all you can drink offer for around $20.
- Yekaterinburg Hostel, (From Ploshad' 1905 goda (Площадь 1905ого года) go west until Marshala Dzukova St. (ул. маршала Жукова) on your right. Go along that street, turn left at the first intersection into Antona Valeka St. (ул. Антона Валека) and go to the second big building on your right labelled 18), . checkin: 09:00h*. A decent hostel (the first in Yekaterinburg) situated in the middle of the city centre next to Square of 1905. It's the shared flat of three Russian students, who speak decent English. There is a computer with internet and WLAN for free and a shared kitchen. Bookable via common hostel sites on the internet.770 RUB/night.
For budget accommodation, you can get hourly rates at the Komnaty Otdykha at the main train station. To get there, walk to the eastern end of the station to the last and small set of glass doors. First door on the right should lead you to a set of stairs which will take you there. Rates are approximtely 10 RUB/hour.
For the seriously budget conscious, you can crash in the waiting area on the top floor of the large station building. Metal chairs are abundant, but the ones to look out for are rows of 2-3 chairs without armrests in between. The sign seems to say it costs 20RUB to wait in these areas, but feigning ignorance seems to get you in (and out) for free.
The official waiting room on the ground floor of the station in the main railway building is a steep 70 RUB/hour, however it is heated, there's a TV and security is there. There is also internet access on the side of the building (the door reads "Интернет") that has a flatrate for 100 RUB/hour or a selective price per minute and megabyte (combined, take the 100 RUB deal if you are unsure about your data volume). Price information in English available.
- Host Families Association (HOFA)(From 22 eur. per night), 5 Tavricheskaya str., ☎ +7 (812) 275 1992(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (812) 275 1992), . Since 1990 HOFA provides visa invitations, homestays, apartment rentals, packages in friendly homes in 60 cities in Russia and CIS .from 22 EUR per night.
- Ganina Yama (Ганина Яма). You can visit this wooden monastery semi daily by bus tours offered right in front of the main train station building. It is situated in the north direction from the city, near the village Shuvakish (Шувакиш). You can get there by train from the main station in the direction Nizhni Tagil (Нижний Тагил). When you get off the train, go to the bridge over railways and turn right (not to the station). From the bridge turn to the right again, go, go, go and after a while you will get to the asphalt road. There turn left and go some two kilometres.
- Monument, (Take a tour or buses 150 or 180.). There are semi-daily offered tours from the main trains station. If you can't make the tour, you might take the bus 150 from the northern bus terminal (Северный Автовокзал) near the metro station Uralskaya (Уральская). Ask the driver to let you get off at the border. This is common practise. When you get off the bus, there is a small (somewhat historically looking) stone monument that has a red brick line where the border is. Go up a bit thru the patch of wood and you will be at the big monument where the tour buses go on the big tour. It is a spot for weddings, so usually you will find a bride or two. After you are done taking pictures, go back the way you came, go on the other side of the high way and signal a bus driver to pick you up. Buses 150 or 180 take you back, however 180 takes you only near metro station Cirk (Цирк). If no bus driver happens to be willing to pick you up outside of a station (though this is common practise), you can walk into Pervoural'sk up to the second bus stop you encounter (buses 150 and 180 do not regularly stop at the outermost bus stops) and then get on a bus. From the outermost bus stop there is a little marshrutka going to the next one for 10 RUB.50 RUB (bus 180) or 55 RUB (bus 150) one-way, or 300 RUB and upwards with a tour.
This page was last edited at 16:30, on 19 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Peter Fitzgerald and Sergey Kudryavtsev, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.