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Yekaterinburg: A Nostalgic City In Love With Progress

Ekaterinburg, a city in love with progress
Ekaterinburg, a city in love with progress

Located in the very heart of Eurasia, Ekaterinburg is a perfect balance of culture and thriving modernity in design and urban architecture. The city's history has deep in roots from the time of the first Russian industrialists, the Demidov dynasty, who set up the iron factories and practically forged the fate of the Urals, as being the central core of Russia's industrial might. 

Named for Russian Empress Ekaterina II, Yekaterinburg today is a dynamic and modern city of more than 1,5 million people. One of the candidate cities for the Expo 2020 along with Dubai and Sao Paolo, Yekaterinburg attracts international investors and businessmen to one of the world's fastest growing industrial regions. In the past Russians considered the the region surrounding the city a "treasure chest" of natural resources, but today new value and ideas grow from Yekaterinburg's vibrant societal growth. One such initiative in heart of the city, the so-called Plotinka (a beautiful arch dam city built to control water flows of the Iset River) is the Mecca of  hi-tech design and architecture innovations. Surrounded by flat-glass buildings and skyscrapers abounding, this area is the No. 1 competitor with similar areas within Moscow City as a template for modern industrialism. The Iset Tower skyscraper here is the tallest in the city, and 11th tallest in Russia. The magnificent high rise houses luxury apartments, a hotel, top world restaurants, and a pool overlooking the city panorama.

Iset Tower located on the bark of the city’s Plotinka is considered the North’s highest building on Earth. Photo: Babar Malik
Iset Tower located on the bark of the city’s Plotinka is considered the North’s highest building on Earth. Photo: Babar Malik

 

A Sad Footnote of the Last Tsar's Family 

Stepping briefly off the posh streets and modern buildings of Ykaterinburg, visitors can easily immerse themselves in a significant, if sometimes sad history the city possess. Famed today for industrialization and progressiveness, Yekaterinburg is probably more famous for an unfortunate event that took place in 1918, when the last Tsar of Russia, Nikolay II was executed along with his entire immediate family.  Bolshevik soldiers shot and killed the family in an area of the city known as Ganina Yama, putting an end to Russia's rich Imperial past. However horrible this event may be, the citizens of Russia do not forget easily. Year in, and year out the nation continues to create monuments and mementos to the memory of the Romanovs. One example, the Church of All Saints (known as the Church on Blood) built in 2003 is a splendid monument of the Romanov’s family, the national heritage, and one of the symbols of Yekaterinburg itself. Each year thousands of pilgrims flock here from all parts of the country to perform a sacred procession to honor the memory of the Romanov dynasty. 

Tsar's Days in Ekaterinburg that are held every year in July. Pilgrims from all countries of the worlds come here to pray.
Tsar's Days in Ekaterinburg that are held every year in July. Pilgrims from all countries of the worlds come here to pray.

 

Ambitious New Projects

Yekaterinburg is a city of huge potential, where many of Russia's largest construction projects are underway. Some of the largest Russian and international construction companies initiate some of the most extensive and progressive design and architecture developments in the world. One example, the newly-built city’s district Akademichesky has become the most popular and highly developed areas of the city. Here bright colors, spacious roads, well-developed infrastructure and closeness to nature spell progress in a city rapidly becoming the pearl of Northern Asia. 

Ekaterinburg construction projects
Construction projects in Akademichesky district. (Photo: Babar Malik)

Considered a relatively young city (founded in 1723), Yekaterinburg possesses an ultimate mix of Russian industrial production and hi-technologies, alongside an historical element from Russia’s 18th and 19th centuries. While many in the world consider Dubai and Istanbul models for "out of the box" progressiveness, Yekaterinburg stands as a shining star in the center of the might Ural mountains, which provide the geographic divide between continents. It is here that the crossroads of a brave new world is being forged from the eternal terra firma termed "rock belt" according to the etymology.