Central Ekaterinburg

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Across the street from the Rastorguyev-Kharitonov mansion is the Church on Blood, one of Russia's largest churches. It stands on the spot where the members of the Russian Imperial family and several of their attendants were shot by the Bolsheviks in July 1918. The building where the execution took place, Ipatyev House, was demolished in 1977. During the Perestroika years, pilgrims started to arrive here. A wooden cross was installed in 1990, and later a wooden chapel appeared.

The church itself was opened at the beginning of the 2000s. The design made use of the floor plan of the demolished Ipatyev House. The raised level of the building resembles a church oil lamp. Today, the Church on Blood houses an exhibit dedicated to the events of 1918 and organises art exhibitions.
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If you walk down from the Church on Blood to the embankment of the city pond and continue towards Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue), you will come across the residence of the governor of Sverdlovsk Oblast – one of the city's architectural centrepieces. Legend has it that the mansion's first owner was Grigory Zotov, who began his life as a serf, but ended up as the general manager of Verkh-Isetsky Mining District. The mansion was built in 1818-1821. The compound includes the main building, two annexes, and fencing.
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Next to the Residence of the Governor of Sverdlovsk Oblast is the most elegant building in the Urals Region – the Sevastyanov's House. Local official Nikolay Sevastyanov, who made his fortune from mining, bought the house in 1860. In 1863, he commissioned its reconstruction by Alexander Paduchev, a student of architect Malakhov. The experts say that the resulting building was a mix of styles and ages, with elements of the Neo-Baroque, Pseudo-Gothic and Neo-Moorish styles. In Soviet times, the building was home to the regional labour union council. In 2008, the building was restored and today serves as the Ekaterinburg reception house and residence for the President of Russia; international meetings and summits are held here.
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The Sevastyanov's House is located at the intersection of the Iset River and the city's main transport artery, Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue). The two banks of the Iset River are joined by the city dam – Plotinka, as the locals call it. All the city's major celebrations take place at Plotinka.

It was here that the history of Ekaterinburg began in 1723 with the construction of the ironworks. Today this is known as Istorichesky pocket park. From 1725 until 1876 this was also the location of the Ekaterinburg Mint that minted copper coins, seals, medals and tokens.
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One of Plotinka's landmarks is the water tower located on Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue). It was built in 1886 for the railroad repair services (a railway line from Perm to Ekaterinburg was launched just prior to that). After the repair services were moved from the tower in 1946, it was transformed into a large communal flat. In 1973, in honour of the city's 250th anniversary, the residents were moved out and given individual apartments. The tower was given over to a Metal Shop with a unique collection of various metal objects, such as copper irons, scales and shackles.
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Next to the water tower is the monument to the founders of the city – historian and statesman Vasily Tatishchev and German-born mining specialist and engineer Wilhelm de Gennin.
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The embankments of the Iset River with their pedestrian zones go their separate ways from Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue). The most eminent citizens of Ekaterinburg lived here from the time of the city's foundation. There is a very beautiful mansion that was built at the beginning of the 19th century as the residence of the General Manager of the Ural Mountain Range Mining Plants and that is currently used as a hospital. There are also the houses of local merchants.
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Slightly to the side of the central section of the embankment is Russia's first monument to the Beatles. The monument was an initiative of the local Beatles club. The sculptural composition depicts silhouettes of the four musicians against a brick wall backdrop. Musicians from John Lennon's first group, The QuarryMen, came to Ekaterinburg for the opening of the monument.
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Not far from the monument to The Beatles is the Slanted House, a Chuvildin's tenement house constructed in 1900. At first it looks like a normal house, but in reality the building is extremely slanted: one of its walls is set at an angle of 80 degrees to the facade.
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In 2000, a Keyboard Monument was erected near the Slanted House and from then on the locals have referred to the building as "computer case."
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Ekaterinburg was one of the first Russian cities to name a street in honour of the famous actor, poet and singer Vladimir Vysotsky. The street is located in one of the residential districts. Several years ago, the Vysotsky Skyscraper appeared in downtown Ekaterinburg. It is considered to be the world’s northernmost skyscraper and can be seen from practically anywhere in the city.

The building is a 15-minute walk from Plotinka. The sky deck is open for visits even at night, as long as you call ahead.

On the ground floor of the skyscraper is a small museum dedicated to Vladimir Vysotsky. A monument to Vysotsky and his wife Marina Vlady stands next to the building, as approved by the actor’s son, Nikita Vysotsky.

The Bolshoi Ural Hotel where Vysotsky stayed twice during his theatre performances in 1962 is adjacent to the skyscraper.

Wheelchair accessible
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A monument to Yakov Sverdlov, whose name was given to the city from 1924 to 1991, was erected across from the theatre in 1927. The revolutionary's gesture gave rise to a long-running local joke: as the legend goes, a beer house was located right in front of the pointing finger of the statue. As of 1960s, the structure was replaced by main building of the Ural State University, now part of Ural Federal University.
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Iset Hotel, built in 1931, is the central building of the KGB servicemen Village. The 11-storey building, which resembles a horse shoe, was built as a dormitory for NKVD officers with small families. In the small rooms there were no kitchens. The canteen, lecture halls, the library and the premises for different affinity groups were in the next club, where you could come from the dormitory using a passage, which is currently blocked. In the 1930s the building was one of the most magnificent, beautiful and imposing in Sverdlovsk. Postcards with its photos were produced, and in 1937 in Spain a post stamp with the image of the main building of the NKVD residential complex appeared.

Several years ago the hotel was closed for a reconstruction, and in 2015 it was opened once again for the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. During three months the building showed works of contemporary artists from all over the world. Now Iset is closed again, its further faith of the constructivism monument is still unknown.

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In the centre of the square you will see the City Administration. Once upon a time this was the Gostiny Dvor, full of merchant stalls, and later it was a museum. The City Administration building has been reconstructed twice: first, the two-storey building was turned into a five-storey one, and then, after WWII, it was given a sprucing-up and a turret with a clock.

The Korobkov merchant mansion is located opposite the City Administration, and today is a modern shopping centre.
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You can take a tram from the Town of KGB Servicemen to Ploschad 1905 Goda (1905 Goda Square), just two or three stops along Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue).

Ploschad 1905 Goda is the oldest and most important square in the city. The square is named in honour of the events that took place here in 1905: on October 19, the Bolsheviks organised a rally after Emperor Nicholas II issued a manifesto establishing a parliament – the State Duma – in Russia. However, the peaceful rally was broken up by the Black Hundreds group of extreme monarchists.
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In mid-1920s several important for the state industrial enterprises worked in Sverdlovsk. The control over them was taken by the National commissariat for internal affairs (NKVD). A comfortable residential complex was built for them in the city downtown area.

The complex of buildings is characterized by architecture unity, which is created by the great number of colors, the similar corner windows and staircases, windows and balconies. The KGC servicemen village is an embodiment of the idea of architects to create a new city environment, where the residents could be provided with everything needed – the Soviet professionals in their own way tried to use the concept of a home as a “living machine”.

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The Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1936. Nowadays, it has two branches. One is located in the reconstructed building of the local railway factory's hospital, and the other – in the former house of merchant Bardygin – undergoes reconstruction now.

The museum has collections of the West European Arts of the XIV-XIX centuries, the Russian Arts of the XVII – early XX centuries, Russian avant-garde; the modern naïve art is next to the well-known Urals casting art and jewelry by local artists.

The key masterpiece is the Kasli cast-iron pavilion, which was made for the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900, and which is on the UNESCO list of history and culture monuments. The collection also has works by Russian avant-garde artists Kazimir Malevich, Natalia Nesterova and Mikhail Larionov, Wassily Kandinsky and others.

The museum invites visitors to exhibitions, master classes, musical evenings, concerts, lectures, author tours and artistic meetings.

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The Communication House was built in 1934 on the place, where two merchant mansions were situated. The author of the project was the Moscow architect Konstantin Solomonov.

Thanks to the automatic phone station for 10,000 numbers in 1934 connection emerged in the biggest organizations in Sverdlovsk and the houses of the city, which were located in the city centre. The building as other historical monuments of avant-garde architecture, is characterized with strict lines, ribbon glass windows, ascetism.

Today in the Communication House the Central Post Office is located, while nearby there is the zero kilometre – the point of reference, which shows the distance from Ekaterinburg to other cities. For the visitors during the day the first two floors are available, you can send a postcard or a parcel.

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The history of the theatre, which now takes a magnificent house in central Ekaterinburg, goes back to the 1870s, the time when Moscow opera enterprises were very popular. Local arts connoisseurs at first staged musical performances, and later on managed to persuade local authorities to build a theatre.

In 1912, the building, designed by architect Vladimir Semenov, was ready. Mikhail Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar opened the season, and the first ballet performance was in 1914.

The theatre has seen talented masters. Legendary tenor Ivan Kozlovsky began his career here, conductor Ariy Pazovsky, opera director Alexander Titel, prominent artist Galina Gorchakova and many others worked here.

The theatre is famous for performances based on classical plays and for modern versions and experiments. The repertoire includes the Satyagraha opera in Sanskrit – music by American minimalist Philip Glass, or the Romeo and Juliet ballet staged by Vyacheslav Samodurov – winner of the Golden Mask award, former premier of the Mariinsky Theatre, the Dutch Nationale Opera & Ballet and the British Covent Garden.

The Ekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is a many-times winner of prestigious prizes, its troupe tours across the world.

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The English-style park at the residence of the Rastorguyevs-Kharitonovs was laid out back in the 1820s. Visitors could relax in a small arbor above a stone grotto. These buildings, as well as the Rotunda, the park's decorations, are lost now.

Nowadays, a pond takes the garden's center. In the mid-1930s, a new Rotunda and a fountain were built on an artificial island in the middle of the pond. A suspension bridge goes from the island to the shore.

It is nice to enjoy walking in the park, which is conveniently located nearby key attractions of Ekaterinburg. Local authorities organize here Carnival celebrations, jazz festivals and fairs. In recent years, volunteers maintain the garden, clean the pond and watch the order in the territory.

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Before the 1917 revolution, many drama theatres came on tours to Ekaterinburg, and after the October coup the city wanted to have its own theatre with permanent repertoire. The plan was fulfilled in 1930.

From the very beginning, the theatre was staging most up-to-date performances, as well as classical plays. This is the approach the theatre follows now. Among the performances are Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, or A Profitable Position by Alexander Ostrovsky, Zhanna by the Urals' author Yaroslav Pulinovich or Lift by young and talented Irina Vaskova.

The troupe unites many prominent actors, and invited guests participate in many performances. The stage remembers well-known film director Vladimir Mirzoyev, a winner of many prizes Grigory Lifanov, and Vladimir Pankov – a winner of the Golden Mask prize. Every season, the theatre offers new performances – tickets to them should be bought well in advance.

In 1990, the theatre moved to a new building, in Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad (Oktyabrskaya Square), from where the view on the City Pond is magnificent.

In 2010, the Young Theatre studio, which performed at the small stage, joined the theatre holding, and in 2011 the DanceTheatre, staging modern dance performances, followed suit.