UNESCO has named Ekaterinburg one of the world’s twelve ideal cities and this title perfectly suits the capital of Ural, a territory full of natural treasures such as oil, gas, gold mines and Europe’s largest emerald deposit.
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2018 | NevyanskAn hour’s drive from Ekaterinburg towards Nizhny Tagil is the town of NevyanskAn hour’s drive from Ekaterinburg towards Nizhny Tagil is the town of Nevyansk
An hour’s drive from Ekaterinburg towards Nizhny Tagil is the town of Nevyansk. This town played a key role in the eighteenth and nineteenth 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 ft) Leaning Tower of Nevyansk, built in the first half of the eighteenth 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 an “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 hour.
Driving around Nevyansk you can also visit the Old Believer settlement of Byngi with its Church of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, consecrated in 1789. The church contains a number of masterpieces in the local school of icon-painting.
A little further on are the villages of Verkhnie and Nizhnie Tavolgi and their pottery workshops. You can have a go at using the pottery wheel and buy all kinds of Ural ceramics. It’s best to call ahead of your visit.
Skver Demidovykh, 3a, town of Nevyansk, Sverdlovsk Region
tours: adults 100 rub., schoolchildren 245 rub., seniors 175 rub.; museum access: adults 100 rub., students 40 rub., schoolchildren and seniors 30 rub., e-tickets available