Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg is the largest industrial centre in the Urals, connecting Europe and Asia. A city with numerous great original monuments, amazing architecture, history and volleyball heritage.

Yekaterinburg is located 1790 km to the east of Moscow. Getting there from the capital by car takes about 24 hours, while flights average two-and-a-half hours. Yekaterinburg Koltsovo Airport is the headquarters of Ural Airlines, connecting the city to many locations in Russia and abroad. Yekaterinburg Railway Station is the most important passenger transport hub on the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Long-distance trains depart from here to more than 50 cities in Russia and the CIS countries.

Yekaterinburg

History and landmarks

The history of the city began with the decree of Peter I in 1723, just 20 years after the foundation of St. Petersburg. The Russian emperor planned to build the largest metallurgical plant of that time on the banks of the Iset River. The fortress, built here near the plant, was named in honour of the Emperor's wife Catherine I. Fifty years later, Catherine II appointed city status to the settlement. The Mint was established in Yekaterinburg to provide the Russian Empire with copper coins. By the beginning of the 20th century Yekaterinburg had become one of the largest cities of the country. Branches of all major banks plus the Siberian Trade Bank worked here, the Ural Chemical Laboratory and the Ural Mining Administration were opened, 49 factories and plants operated. The mining industry developed with the extraction of gold, malachite and porphyry. The famous trans-Siberian highway to connect Moscow with Siberia was built to run through Yekaterinburg.

The city is notorious for the history of the Russian monarchy: in 1918 in Yekaterinburg the last emperor Nicholas II was executed together with his entire family, and the Temple-on-Blood was built on the spot of the execution. In 1924 the city was renamed as Sverdlovsk in honour of the politician Yakov Sverdlov. In 1991, the city was returned to its historical name, but the Sverdlovsk region retains its former name to this day.

An important role in the economy of the modern city belongs to mechanical engineering, metalworking and metallurgy. Central Yekaterinburg mostly includes buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, enriched with the modern buildings. The famous Vysotsky skyscraper is a must-see - its observation site allowing views over the entire city. In memory of the first Russian President Boris Yeltsyn, born in the Sverdlovsk region, an educational centre of Modern Russian History was established in Yekaterinburg and now hosts numerous events, exhibitions and forums. Theatre and cultural traditions are encased in the Conservatory, Opera and Ballet Theatre, Drama Theatre and Youth Theatre.

The main artery of the city is the Iset River, including a system of stepped water reservoirs. There is a dam in the centre of the river, which became the main meeting place for the city residents. It looks like a bridge with the embankment along it and has become a main walking route for visitors and citizens of Yekaterinburg. Weiner Street is a central alley of Yekaterinburg. There are merchant mansions, longstanding country estates, trade shops, administrative buildings, as well as a collection of sculptures featuring well-known figures including Michael Jackson.

Volleyball

The history of volleyball in the Urals is the history of amateur sports enthusiasts, and includes legendary coach Nikolay Karpol and the famous women's team Uralochka. All this makes volleyball the most significant team sport in the region.

The Lokomotiv volleyball club was created based on the railways towards the end of the 1940s and was later renamed into Uralenergomash, then into UEM-Izumrud, and in 2003 the club acquired its current name Lokomotiv-Izumrud. Winning the Cup and national championship made for a triumphant year in 1999. The team now plays in the A League of the Russian volleyball championship. Lokomotiv-Izumrud have contributed a number of players to the Russian national teams.

The legendary women's team of Uralochka enjoys more than half a century of history. During this time, they have won 25 national championship titles plus eight European Champions Cup and Cup Winners' trophies. The club has produced 15 Olympic medallists. The women's team of Uralochka is one of the most recognisable brands of Yekaterinburg, known for its character and will to win. The team has been bringing positive emotions to the Ural fans for over 50 years. Nikolay Karpol, the honoured coach of the USSR and Russia and most-titled coach in the volleyball world, has been heading Uralochka almost since the club's very foundation in 1969. He has led the team for more than 51 seasons and has been nominated for the Guinness Worlds Records. Karpol was twice named by the FIVB as best coach in the world, and Uralochka's players have been recognised as the best volleyball players in Europe and the world.