Still on the way eastwards… Less known than Saint Petersburg and Moscow, maybe a few words about Ekaterinburg (also written Yekaterinburg…). You reach the city just after having crossed the Ural Mountains, which also means that you have reached Asia.
The city was created during the 18th century. It’s perhaps today best known as the place where the Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1918. The house where they lived was demolished in 1977 on the order of Moscow via Boris Yeltsin, who then was a local Ekaterinburg leader. Yeltsin later, in 1998, represented the people when the Tsar and his family got a state funeral; they are now buried at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg (see previous post). On the place where their house stood you can since 2003 find the “Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russain Land”, commemorating the Romanov family and their sainthood.
The city was named Sverdlovsk between 1924 and 1992 (and the region still has that name). You can find the statue of Yakov Sverdlov, just across the Opera House, not far from the Romanov memorial. He was a leading revolutionary personality and was obviously the one who gave the order to execute the Royal family. He could have been the Lenin successor, but died already in 1919.
Svedlovsk, later Ekaterinburg, was also a leading military industrial centre during the Soviet Communist era, and was then a “closed city”, not open to foreign tourists. It was over the suburbs of Ekaterinburg that the U-2 spy plane (Francis Gary Powers) was shot down.