Ekaterinburg: interesting facts
Ekaterinburg is the largest and easternmost city on the overland border between Europe and Asia. According to statistics, every hour 78 trains cross the border between parts of the world in Ekaterinburg. The unique geographic location and one the most popular landmarks of the city is only seventeen kilometers from the center of Ekaterinburg.
Ekaterinburg is the most consolidated “million-plus” city in Russia. It is the only Russian city with population over one million people that is so neat and well consolidated. The developed area of the city is stretched only 20 km from north to south and 15 km from east to west. A trip in Ekaterinburg Metro from the first to final stop on North-South line takes only 19 minutes.
In 2002, UNESCO recognized Ekaterinburg as one of the 12 ideal cities of the world.
Ancient Greeks were already familiar with the territory of the Urals where Ekaterinburg is situated. Aeschylus, Plato and Herodotus mentioned in their writings the fantastic wealth of the Ural land, its mysterious power, as well as magical mythological creatures inhabiting it.
The world's oldest wooden sculpture – Big Shigir idol – is exhibited in Ekaterinburg. The idol is older than the pyramids of Egypt, its age is 9,500 years. The results of radiocarbon analysis of the sculpture found in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg were sensational: the idol was made with stone tools in the Mesolithic era, 8 millennium BC.
The unique Kasli cast iron pavilion is exhibited in Ekaterinburg. It was created by Ural craftsmen and won the Grand Prix and Gold Medal at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900. Each of the 25 workers who put the pavilion together at the exhibition in Paris received a silver watch with inscription as an award for their talent. The pavilion is made of more than 1,500 unique cast iron elements and sculptures, and weighs about 20 tons. In 1978 the pavilion was registered by UNESCO as the world's only cast iron architectural structure preserved in a museum collection.
Metal produced at Ekaterinburg’s plants was used in construction of the most famous architectural structures and buildings around the world. For example, the very first English industrial machines were made of iron produced in the Urals. In 1820, roofing iron made in Ekaterinburg was used to cover the roof of the English Parliament in London. Ural steel was used in construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Ural copper was used in construction of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Ekaterinburg was the first city in Russia where gold ore was found and gold mining began. In 1745-1922 local mines produced 559 tons of alluvial gold and 145 tons of solid gold (about a third of the overall amount produced in Russia). The significance of Ural gold mines can hardly be overestimated: it was the first Russian gold. It was here that the gold veins search technology was developed, new methods of ore processing and new machinery were invented. The historical, geological, and technological importance of Ural gold mines is very high.
In the 18th century Ekaterinburg Mint was one of the leading mints in the country, producing up to 80% of all copper coins in the Russian Empire. For nearly two centuries the entire population of the vast country every day used coins produced in the Urals.
In 1806 Ekaterinburg received its unique status of a “mining town”. Since then Ekaterinburg was in fact independent from provincial authorities in Perm and only answered directly to Head Mining Director, Minister of Finances and the Emperor.
The first bicycle, a prototype of modern models, was invented in Ekaterinburg. Local peasant Efim Artamonov built a model not so different from modern bicycles and rode it to Saint Petersburg to attend the coronation of Emperor Alexander I in 1801. A similar two-wheeled “running machine” with pedals was made in Europe only in 1839.
The world's first jet engine aircraft BI-2 was tested in Ekaterinburg. On May 15, 1942 a BI-2 airplane piloted by Grigory Bakhchivandzhi performed its first flight using jet engine. The flight at a height of 840 meters lasted 3 minutes and 9 seconds.
Ekaterinburg, as well as the rest of the Urals, is directly related to the beginning of the space era. The first transmitter for receiving satellite signals from space was invented here.
The world's most famous walking excavator included in the Guinness Book of Records was produced in Ekaterinburg. The boom of the giant model ESH 100.100 produced at Uralmash plant in 1980 was 100 meters long. The load of its bucket was equal to two railroad cars.
Ekaterinburg / Sverdlovsk became the first city in the Soviet Union outside the two capitals (Moscow and St. Petersburg) to build a subway. The first section of Ekaterinburg metro already paid for itself a year prior to its launch with mineral resources acquired during its construction.
During the Great Patriotic War Sverdlovsk served as the national broadcasting center – the most powerful radio transmitter in the country was located here, and in 1941 in the atmosphere of secrecy famous announcer Yuri Levitan moved to Sverdlovsk studio where he received reports from Moscow over the phone and then announced battlefield victories, air raid warnings and other wartime information to the entire country. Thus his famous words “Attention, Moscow speaking…” were actually transmitted from Sverdlovsk.
Sverdlovsk Film Studio (the only one in Russia outside Moscow and St. Petersburg producing not only documentary, but also feature films) works in Ekaterinburg since 1943. The city also has over 20 movie theaters.
During the Great Patriotic War collections of the State Hermitage, as well as Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre and Central Theater of the Red Army were evacuated to Sverdlovsk.
The name of Ekaterinburg was assigned to a nuclear-powered submarine. Submarine K-84 “Ekaterinburg” was built in 1984 in Severodvinsk. It was the second in a series of seven submarines of this type built between 1984 and 1992. In 2003 “Ekaterinburg” successfully tested new “Sineva” missile systems. In 2006 the submarine participated in successful “Compass 2” satellite launch.
On June 1, 2007 the name of the city was given to Asteroid 27736 Ekaterinburg. The asteroid (originally named 1990 SA6) was discovered on September 22, 1990 by the Belgian astronomer E. W. Elst at European Southern Observatory in Hampshire, UK. The asteroid rotates in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter.
One millionth resident of Ekaterinburg was born on January 23, 1967.
In 1973 the city was awarded with the Lenin Order for “labor and scientific achievements, as well as for contribution of its residents to the defeat of the fascist invaders.”
In 1979 Ekaterinburg was included in the list of Russian historic towns and cities.
35 heads of states visited Ekaterinburg at various stages of its history – from the visit of Emperor Alexander I in 1824 to SCO and BRIC Summits in June 15-16, 2009 attended by 13 presidents.
In 1963 (the year Fidel Castro visited the capital of the Urals) the city registered eleven newborns named Fidel.
Ekaterinburg is the 3rd city in Russia (after Moscow and St. Petersburg) by the number of diplomatic missions. Its consular districts extend far beyond Sverdlovsk region and serve other parts of the Urals, Siberia and the Volga region. The city maintains extensive external relations. The capital of the Urals regularly holds cultural festivals dedicated to other cities and countries. As of 2013, Ekaterinburg has 13 partner cities and maintains active cooperation with many cities in the fields of culture, science and industry. A curious fact is, for example, that the logo of San Jose Sharks NHL team from the sister city of San Jose was developed by Ekaterinburg artist Anatoly Paseka. Currently experts from another sister city –Genoa, Italy – are working on implementing a new system of “smart” traffic light control on the streets of Ekaterinburg, which will help the city solve the problem of road congestion.
Universities and colleges of Ekaterinburg are among the best in Russia, providing quality education in various fields. The number of their graduates among today’s business and administrative leaders is the highest after colleges of Moscow and St. Petersburg. There’re currently 20 state higher education institutions in Ekaterinburg with over 200,000 students enrolled.
Ekaterinburg is one of the leading sports centers of Russia with many famous sportsmen, World and Olympic champions representing the city. Since 1952 local sportsmen won 137 Olympic medals (50 gold, 60 silver, and 35 bronze).
The first official national biathlon championship with mostly race skiers participating was held in Sverdlovsk on Uktus mountains in 1957.
After hosting 2009 UEFA Futsal Cup Ekaterinburg became the easternmost city to ever host a UEFA administered championship in over 50 years of the union’s history.
Ekaterinburg is one of the Russian cities chosen to host 2018 FIFA World Cup.
In 2011 Ekaterinburg was nominated as the Russian candidate city to host World EXPO 2020.
Ekaterinburg is one of the major cultural centers of Russia. The city’s cultural space brings together many diverse art institutions and associations. Ekaterinburg’s architectural face combines late 18th – early 19th century buildings with striking examples of constructivism and other typical styles of the soviet era. There’re over 50 museums in the city with expositions dedicated to Ekaterinburg’s history in general, as well as its specific aspects and famous citizens.
Ekaterinburg is also one of the leading theater centers of the country, with 24 theaters, most of which are known and popular both in Russia and abroad. A number of theater buildings (such as Opera and Ballet Theatre) are unique architectural monuments.
Sverdlovsk Philharmonic’s organ is still considered one of the largest in Russia. It weighs 22 tons and consists of 3,840 pipes and 52 registers. The largest pipes weigh up to 180 kg and reach 6 m in height and 40 cm in diameter. The smallest ones are no higher than 15 cm and no wider than 1.5 – 2 mm. Due to its inimitable sound characteristics Sverdlovsk Philharmonic’s pipe organ participates in various programs: solo programs, ensembles with singers and instrumentalists, with symphonic and chamber orchestras, and with a choir.
Ekaterinburg was the first Russian city to create an official representation in the Cyrillic Internet zone.
On February 1, 2011 in honor of the 80th anniversary of the first Russian President, a 10-meter high monument to Boris Yeltsin was opened in his hometown of Ekaterinburg.
The tallest building in the Ural-Siberian and Central Asian regions and the northernmost skyscraper of the world is located in Ekaterinburg. 198-meter high business center “Vysotsky” is also characterized by its unusual structure with no load-bearing walls: the entire load of the building is placed on massive columns. The business center includes an eight-storey underground parking for 700 cars, ground parking for 200 more cars. The building also has an observation deck located at 186-meter altitude and a helicopter landing pad on the roof.
In 2009 Ekaterinburg took a top position in the national rating of million-plus cities with the most promising economy least susceptible to the effects of world economic crisis.
For several years in a row Ekaterinburg has been leading in the national rating of cities “most attractive for business” by RBC.
Ekaterinburg is the third largest transport and logistics hub in the country (after Moscow and St. Petersburg). The city is connected to all parts of Russia and the entire globe through 6 federal highways, 7 arterial railway lines, and a major international airport. The development of a major hub in Ekaterinburg was determined by the city’s favorable geographic location at relatively mild slopes of the Ural mountain ridge – a location perfectly suitable for laying infrastructure to connect European and Asian parts of Russia.