Ekanterinburg. Yekanteringburg. However You Spell It!
Howdy all. Well, a whirlwind visit to a city to the east of the Ural mountains. And wind is appropriate, my goodness me it’s been blowing like crazy since… well pretty much since I left China. But you really feel it when there’s a bit of snow thrown in for good measure. I’m guessing it principally blows from the Arctic owning to its coldness. It’s veru swirly, which is obvious when there’s a flurry of snow because it keeps coming from different directions.
But enough of that, it’s not really that bad to be truthful and I guess I prefer it to being too hot. The issue is that in Russia they seem to super-heat interiors. On the train it’s been so hot you have to wear a t-shirt and shorts to be vagulely comfortable.
But – here I am in Ekanterinburg. This spelling is the nearest I can come to from the Russian text. My guide book and others sometimes but the ‘Y’ on it, but it seems un-needed. This city seems to leave people scratching their heads, but it has its fame. Or should I say infamy? It is where the Romanovs were executed. Tsar Nicholas II, the last of Russia, his wife, four daughters and son.
Today I went to the building on the sight of their death where there is a small museum. There were a couple of rooms of photos, letters and belongings that survived. Paintings too. It seems that somehow they are remembered fondly in Russia after all that has gone down in the last 100-ish years or so.
Opposite is the Church upon the Blood. It was closed, but from the outside with the clouds and patches of blue sky, it made for quite a striking few photos.
Across the road is the Ascension Church, the oldest church in Ekanterinburg, and behind that was a very pretty park which I walked around for a while. Boys were out exercising, mothers with their children, and I was lucky enough to be there when the sun broke out for a little while. I followed this with Russian dumpling for lunch which were pretty delicious. Thought you’d like to know 😉
Yesterday I got to visit the Metenkov Museum of Photography, inside the gentleman’s old house. The house was typical of the older-style wooden Russian house. Metenkov was a photographer from late 19th and early 20th century, and he even shot film to. The Soviets didn’t approve I gather for what reason I’m not exactly sure and it wasn’t until decades after his passing that his work was found. Only a small collection of old photos, there were a couple of modern exhibits there too.
Ekanterinburg has a tall building, the Vysotsky building, where you can go up to the 52nd floor and get a view from the open viewing platform up there. There’s a glass wall around it, but it’s still open to the elements. So yes, it was cold. The building is named after Vladamir Vysotsky, a famous balladeer who died in 1980 and by all accounts pushed the envelope with the authorities with his songs. He was also an actor, and there was a small museum I visited back on ground floor.
Lastly, I went to the Nevyansk Icon Museum. A lovely lady, Valentina, explained the icons to me as best she could with no English and me with no Russian. They were all found in the town of Nevyansk, from what I could understand they were sealed up to protect them from Soviet religious purges. A lot of beautiful work has luckily been saved.
So, unfortunately Sunday and Monday are often days museums are shut, so I missed out on a a couple I wanted to see. But such is life! Tomorrow I’m crossing the Urals and heading to Moscow! May the Journey Never End!