The Urals

The Urals region is considered to be the industrial heart of Russia. It is its industries that makes it stand out prominently on the Russian map, primarily metals and machine engineering. The Urals are very rich in minerals and raw materials, including extensive forests. The territory possesses rich deposits of iron and polymetallic ores, and the country’s largest metallurgical enterprises are located here. Its heavy transport and chemical engineering plants, non-ferrous metallurgical works and military industrial enterprises occupy a leading place in the national economy.


Today about 1.4 million people live in Ekaterinburg, ranking it the 4th most populated city of Russia. The city lies on the Iset River, approximately 1600 km east of Moscow on the eastern slope of the Central Urals. It has a fairly well-developed infrastructure for trade, tourism, hospitality, culture and entertainment, and is a major centre of science and education in Russia. Ekaterinburg is one of the important business points in Russia: its financial institutions take an active part in the Russian economy, making a substantial contribution to the development of international co-operation.

An increasing number of international companies successfully operate their branches and joint ventures here. The city is the administrative, aeconomic and cultural capital of the Urals, one of the most promising cities in Russia for foreign investment and trade. With its unique geographical position on the border between Europe and Asia, Ekaterinburg has an important role to play in the co-operation between East and West.

Ekaterinburg is 2.5 hours away from Moscow by air.


The maximum temperature in summer is around +30C, the minimum temperature in winter is around - 30C. The Urals is a multicultural and multi-confessional region. There are Russian Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Churches, a Synagogue, and Mosques in Ekaterinburg.


Ekaterinburg ranks third in Russia in terms of the number of foreign consulates and offices, with 12 Consulates General of various countries.

Public Transport

Ekaterinburg has a well-developed public transportation infrastructure, represented by bus, trolleybus, tram and metro services. The cost is 28 rubles for 1 trip. A special transport card (Ekarta) would help you to easily move around the city. Taxi costs around 200 rubles on aberage.


Ekaterinburg was founded by Vassily Tatischev and Wilhelm de Gennin as an iron-making centre in the spring of 1723 by the decree of Emperor Peter the Great and named in honor of the Empress Catherine I and the Great Martyr Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It grew into  the capital of the mining and metallurgical industries in a vast territory on both sides of the Ural mountain range, in two parts of the world - Europe and Asia.

The products of the Ural and Siberian iron mills were exhibited at local trade fairs, and by the standards of that time those mills were considered among the best not only in Russia but also in Europe. In the early 19th century Ekaterinburg started to play an increasingly important role as an administrative, mining and machine building centre. The first part of 19th century was also marked by the flourishing of the art of stone-cutting, largely stimulated by the efforts of the Ekaterinburg factories.

The first general plan of Ekaterinburg demonstrates that this city on the river Iset was laid out according to the best specimens of international fortification art.  Its mills were technologically advanced not only in the country but also in the world.

In 1924, during the Soviet period, Ekaterinburg was renamed Sverdlovsk after the revolutionary leader Yakov Sverdlov. During the Soviet period, Sverdlovsk grew rapidly and became one of the biggest industrial, cultural and scientific centres of Russia. For many years, the city was closed to foreigners because of its strategic defense industries. Opened to foreigners in 1990, the city has since made successful moves to reform its economy and open communication links to the outside world.

The city witnessed the death of monarchy in Russia, as the last Russian Tsar Nicolas II and his family were assassinated by the Bolsheviks here in the Ipatiev House on July 16, 1918. A wooden cross and a chapel were installed later. This site has been recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church as sacred, and the recently constructed Cathedral-on-the-Blood stands exactly where the Ipatiev House once stood.

The city is associated with another famous political figure, Boris Yeltsin, who was born in the village of Butka not far from Ekaterinburg. A major part of his political career took place in the Urals.

Spending time in Ekaterinburg

There are many libraries in the city, including the V. G. Belinsky Regional Library, the largest public library in the Ural region. British, American, Japanese, German and French cultural centres operate in Ekaterinburg. Among the well-known theatre and music groups of Ekaterinburg are the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the State Theatre of Musical Comedy, the State Philharmonic Society, the Drama Theatre, etc. There are many other theatres worth visiting, including those at the universities.

Ekaterinburg is the centre of Ural rock music. It has more than 30 museums, such as the Museum of Regional Studies, the Fine Arts Museum, which possesses an excellent collection of Russian avant-garde painting, the Museum of Radio, the Museum of Ekaterinburg, the Museum of Ohotography ”Metenkov's House”, etc.

There are lots of opportunities for sports in Ekaterinburg. The average sibscription price at fitness clubs is about 2000-3000 rubles per month. There are numerous dance classes (Latin American, Argentina tango, rock-and-roll, etc) in the clubs; the price is around 200-300 rubles for one class. Some university sports activities (rock-n-roll, climbing, basketball, volleyball, aerobics, hiking, etc.) are available for free.

The Ural nature is charming, and excursions may bring lasting memories. In winter, you can go skating, skiing and snowboarding in the Ural Mountains. Not far from the city there are downhill skiing and snowboarding centres (equipment rentals run at 1000 rubles/day).

Many people call Ekaterinburg “The City of Youth” because of its vibrant student life and career opportunities offered by our dynamically developing city.

List of approximate prices

  • Milk (1 litre) 40 roubles
  • Bread 30-40 roubles
  • Cheese (1 kg) 500-800 roubles
  • Ham (1 kg) 500 roubles
  • Chocolate (1 bar) 50-80 roubles
  • Cookies (1 kg) 50-150 roubles
  • Beer (1 bottle) 30-100 roubles
  • Juice (1 litre) 60-100 roubles
  • Apples (1 kg) 80-150 roubles
  • Potatoes (1 kg) 30 roubles
  • Meal at the academy's canteen: 200 rubles
  • Price of student accommodation per month: 900 rubles
  • Meal in an average restaurant: 500-1000 rubles
  • Coffee in a cafĂ©: 150 rubles
  • Average price of a book: 300-700 rubles
  • Public transport fare: 28 rubles a trip

More details about the city and current events can be found on the following web sites