We stopped in Ekaterinburg on our Trans-mongolian trip purely because it was part of the tour package we booked. We didn't know anything much about the city before booking. If nothing else it was the perfect way to break up what would otherwise have been a 5 day train ride from Irkutsk - Moscow! There was enough to satisfy us in Ekaterinburg however; as I mentioned in my last post we took a trip out to the place where the Romanov family were first buried. Our tour also included a stop at the official border between Asia and Europe. This was an added extra we decided on a whim in the booking office in Beijing but it was worth it. We stood for the obligatory photo standing at the border line, but we also indulged in the Russian tradition of a glass of champagne and chocolate, (although the plastic glasses broke and we had to glug it from the bottle; ever the classy Essex ladies.) We also ate at a great restaurant still in Soviet style, which our tour company recommended as a real hangover from the USSR and not one of the many that have sprung up since for tourists. I'm glad we went in Ekaterinburg because it was a much more authentic place than any we saw in Moscow or St Petersburg.
We attempted to go to the War Museum to see the small display about the American U2 plane that crashed in the area amid denials from the US about it being a spy plane, only for the Russian to wheel out the pilot who had confessed all. But the museum was closed. The sign outside said it shouldn't be, but try as we might we couldn't get in!
We also attempted to follow the map to take a short tour of the city, but I misread the map and we ended up completely off the top of it! Finding our way back to the city centre eventually! We had a great time in Ekaterinburg, despite our pretty grim accommodation at the Liberty hotel.
|I love how it even had wifi!|
|A rather grand entrance|
|'I got more records than the KGB'|
|Borsch and Smoked salmon pancakes|
|Deliciously cheesy dumplings|
|Lenin loved to read :-)|
|Mary and a big bear in a tutu...|
This was one of the memorials for those who perished in the Soviet Gulags. Upon this site hundreds of thousands of bodies were dumped in mass graves and the whereabouts of the site were kept a huge secret. Now the area is a huge memorial listing all the names of everyone who died. It really renders you speechless to see how many names where there. I took a short video to show the sheer size of this mass burial ground. It certainly isn't the only one, which is even more saddening.
|Standing between Asia (left) and Europe (right).|
|Similar to the locks in Korea, people tie ribbons here as a sign of their love <3 br="br">3>|
|The closest we got to the war museum|
|This was called the black tulip. It is a war memorial, particularly for Afghanistan and Chechnya (I have since researched)|
|The church on spilled blood. The place where Nicholas II and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks|
|A wealthy merchants house. The prettiest building in Ekaterinburg.|