Breaking the vastness of the Journey in Yekaterinburg, Russia

Yekaterinburg, RussiaYekaterinburg has a number of claims to fame, for the Trans-Siberian traveller the most considered point is that it straddles the imaginary line demarking Europe and Asia.

Crossing the vastness of Russia it seemed a good place to pause, to break up the train journey, to see a city that wasn’t Moscow or St Petersburg.

the 016 Ural Express from MoscowWe took a detour off the main Trans-Siberian route and took the 016 Ural Express from Moscow, this train travels to Yekaterinburg via Kazan.

It was a smart, clean train and we got a four berth Kupe cabin to ourselves, peaceful bliss.

We glided through forest which opened out into scrubland, passing small villages of low wooden houses, insubstantial and untidy yet colourful and charming.

Many of the houses had decorative window frames and panels, weatherbeaten and bleached.

The occasional agricultural scene appeared, as did some low-key oil extraction.

The world beyond the window was icy, frozen ponds and snow-dusted ground, completely at odds with the stuffy carriage.

Yekaterinburg, Russia

Yekaterinburg.

Yekaterinburg was surprisingly tourist-friendly, a red line painted on the pavement guided the visitor around all the main city sights in conjunction with a tourist map.

We began this self-guided walk at a large computer keyboard monument set into the river bank, we passed through the traffic-gridlocked 1905 Square, the historical public garden behind the dam, the delightful Sevastianov’s House before stopping at the Cathedral on the Blood.

Consecrated in 2003, this church stands on the site of the house where the last Tsar, Nicholas II and his family were executed in the basement by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Inside I found the Church rather sterile, yet it was also heavy with sadness. Maybe it was the modernity of the building that left me a little cold.

Behind the Cathedral of the Blood is a striding Soviet statue that seems to march confidently towards the site: the two opposing sides of Russian history.

It was extremely cold and we decided to follow our guidebook’s advice and visit the ‘remarkable’ Mineralogical Museum, to step out of the wintery air and wander around a warm space.

How wrong could we be! The one large room was unheated, the ‘remarkable’ stones and exhibits were displayed in poorly lit cabinets. Many of the precious stones were superb however, it was just a shame they weren’t shown off to their full potential as treasures.

We stepped back out onto the street colder than we were when we’d headed in!

Sean touches the lucky digit

Sean touches the lucky digit

After our chilly walking tour, we headed back with Sean to his guest house where we had a marvellous Chinese tea ceremony in the cosy back room of the building. It was a soothing and warming surprise, the hot tea was poured over the tiny china cups by the guest house owners. It certainly left us excited for China!

The following day we had time to kill before our train, we visited the Metenkov’s House Photography Museum which was excellent.

It was deliciously warm inside, there were a number of small photographic exhibitions which were well displayed as well as some old photographs taken by Metenkov, who was a prominent photographer and this building was his home and studio.

Yekaterinburg, RussiaMy favourite thing in Yekaterinburg? Somebody tried to outdo everyone else with the love locks on the bridge!

That evening, under snow-leaden clouds we departed Yekaterinburg on the 002 Rossiya train bound for Irkutsk, it would be two nights, three days and many miles….

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Yekaterinburg, Russia

Try these posts:

Crossing Siberia By Train, Fulfilling a Dream Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk, and one very boozy Russian experience. Yes, we did sing Bohemian Rhapsody to two bemused Russians. Oh dear!

Heavenly Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal Just the most beautiful place, get off the train for a few days and head up to this island on Lake Baikal.

Moscow. Lenin, Gorky Park and a Soviet Space Shuttle! Exploring Moscow and finding some surprises. 

Arriving into St Petersburg, Russia Baby! We got very, very drunk on the train. Let’s just call it an initiation!

Irkutsk, A Lovely Place To Pause A stepping off point for Lake Baikal that is pretty and different!

From Russia With Love, Red Square Moscow. It’s iconic, and it’s fantastic!

By Rachel A Davis   Follow on Bloglovin

15 Responses

  1. John says:

    I absolutely love that huge obnoxious love lock!
    John recently posted…A weekend in Morocco: in photosMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Hahaha! We found it so funny, imagining them dragging it to the place and people staring and tutting at them! Thanks for looking John, it was so cool to meet you!

  2. Dave Rowley says:

    Yekaterinburg sounds fascinating! I really love the pic of the statue, spectacular! And I love the giant computer keyboard. But the COLD! You two are very unafraid of travel in cold climates, unlike me. It must have been quite a feeling to be on the site where the Tsar and family were executed, such a powerful and horrible story.

    • Brrr, we’re used to the cold from living in a camper van in Scotland over the winter! At least in these bitterly cold countries the insides of buildings and trains are super warm, sometimes too warm!
      I’m looking forward to heading south soon, ditch my thermals for sun tops!
      It was strange to be in the Church on the site of the execution, eerie.

  3. mmmarzipan says:

    How awesome! We did the trans-Siberian rail trip (starting in Beijing) in 2004… then kept going through Finland and on to Sweden (where we ended up staying!). Russia is fascinating! Have a ball 🙂

  4. trixpin says:

    Wow, what an amazing place. Whenever I think of Russia I can hardly imagine it, it’s so unknown to me. But it looks spectacular and so interesting! I love the locket bridge 🙂

    • It was fascinating to explore Russia, it revealed so much more than I expected. There are many spectacular things to see, and such iconic things too! Just wait to hear about our time on Olkon Island, that was a corner of Russia I wasn’t expecting, blissful! That’s a post to come soon{ish}!

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