The land of mining

around 7 hours

Travel time: a trip including Nizhny Tagil and Nevyansk will take the whole day; visiting just Verkhnyaya Pyshma and Ganina Yama – a few hours.

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The urochishche (locale) of Ganina Yama is located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) away from Ekaterinburg, near the settlement of Shuvakish. Back in the 19th century the owner of this plot of land (whose name was Gavriil) tried to mine for gold here, but all he found was iron ore. The local residents called the owner of the mine Ganya, a nickname which gave the land its current name (yama means "pit"). At the start of the 20th century the mine was abandoned, and in 1918 the Bolsheviks buried the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in the pit. The Ganina Yama monastery was built in the early 2000s and has seven churches – one for each member of the royal family. The busts of Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna have also been erected on the monastery grounds. A pilgrim centre was opened here in November 2013.
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One of Sverdlovsk Oblast's principal tourist destinations is the Museum Of Military Equipment "Battle Glory Of The Urals", founded several years ago by the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, one of Ekaterinburg's satellite towns.

The Museum exhibition follows the history of various types of domestic and foreign military equipment, from World War I to present day. The open air section of the museum includes dozens of exhibits, from a replica of the Komsomolets torpedo boat to a Msta self-propelled artillery platform.

A three-storey exhibition hall with an area of 7,000 square metres (75,347 square feet) was opened in 2013 and houses rare military and civilian exhibits dating from the World War II period and to post-war years. Each floor is dedicated to a specific collection: the first floor is given over to armoured cars, military vehicles and artillery platforms from World War II; the second floor displays vehicles produced by Soviet industry after the war; and the third-floor exhibit is dedicated to the history of Russia's military award system, uniforms and light weapons.

A railway exhibit was added to the museum's open air section in time for the 70th anniversary of the allied victory in the Second World War, known in Russia as Victory Day (May 9). It includes platforms displaying several unique locomotives, railway carriages and armoured trains. Among them is an eight-wheel passenger carriage from 1928 (during WWII these carriages were used as hospital trains), a four-wheel heated freight car, and an armoured train equipped with machine guns and flak cannons. A full-scale model of the Uzlovaya railway station, including the water tower, coal-handling crane and water pumps, was built for the exhibit.

Each year over 150,000 people visit the museum. On May 9, as part of the Victory Day celebrations, there is an annual parade of military equipment, restored by the transportation department of UralElectroMed (part of the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company). Residents and visitors to Verkhnyaya Pyshma are treated to a stream of T-34, T-26 and BT-7 tanks, ISU-152 and SU-76M self-propelled units, and vintage American Willys and Dodge vehicles.
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An hour's drive from Ekaterinburg towards Nizhny Tagil is the town of Nevyansk. This town played a key role in the 18th and 19th centuries as part of an industrial empire belonging to the Demidovs, an influential Russian dynasty.

The city's principal landmark is the 57.5-metre (189-foot) Leaning Tower of Nevyansk, built in the first half of the 18th century at the behest of Akinfiy Demidov, a renowned Russian industrialist. The tower housed various official entities, including the Treasury, the Chancellery and the local prison. Legend has it that in the cellar below the tower Demidov had workers toiling to mint false coins that were indistinguishable from the genuine article. Rumours of his activity reached the imperial court and Akinfiy Demidov, on learning of the imminent inspection, ordered the basement flooded with the workers still in it.

One of the tower's features is its "acoustic room" with unusual properties. Standing in one corner of the room you can hear sounds coming from the opposite corner which are inaudible from any other point in the room.

The Leaning Tower of Nevyansk also has a unique English clock that cost Demidov more than the construction of the whole tower. The chime mechanism plays 18 different melodies eight times a day, while ten bells mark every quarter of an hour.
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One can also find an Old Belief Byngi Village on the outskirts of Nevyansk. It is the home of the Church of Saint Nicholas, which was founded in 1789. The church houses masterpieces of the Nevyan iconography.
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Verkhniye and Nizhniye Tavolgi Villages are located a bit further past Byngi. Here lie local pottery workshops, where visitors are free to try the craft themselves. One can also buy various Ural ceramics in the workshops. However, it is necessary to phone ahead and book a visit.
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The road from Nevyansk to Nizhny Tagil takes about an hour. At Nizhny Tagil you will find Russia's first factory museum dedicated to black metaltail and its development – the Nizhny Tagil Metallurgic Ironworks that operated (with various transformations along the way) from 1725 to 1987. Large industrial monuments dating back to the 18th, 19th and mid-20th centuries can be found on the premises along with more than 300 items of machinery.
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In 2003, a museum dedicated to the creators of the first Russian locomotive, Yefim and Miron Cherepanov, was opened in Nizhny Tagil. Visitors can learn in detail about the development of the railway transportation in the Urals. The museum's collection boasts about ten models of Russian locomotives, some of which are still functioning. A must-have souvenir from this visit is a painted metal tray.

Both Nevyansk and Nizhny Tagil are included in the "Gem Ring of the Urals" tourist itinerary.