Ekaterinburg (from 1924 to 1991 - Sverdlovsk) is a
city in Russia, the administrative center of the Urals Federal
District and the Sverdlovsk Region. Forms a municipal entity the
city of Yekaterinburg with the status of the urban district. It is
the largest administrative, cultural, scientific and educational
center of the Urals. Ekaterinburg is located on the eastern slope of the
Middle Urals, along the banks of the Iset River.
founded on November 7 (November 18), 1723, as an ironworks. The name
is given in honor of Empress Catherine the First. In 1781 Catherine
II granted Ekaterinburg the status of a district city of the Perm
province. In the late XIX - early XX century, he is one of
the centers of the revolutionary movement in the Urals. In the
Soviet years, it turned into a powerful industrial and
administrative center of the country. The city made an enormous
contribution to the victory of the Soviet Union in the Great
Patriotic War. The Ural heavy engineering plant in the war years was
among the largest Soviet manufacturers of armored vehicles.
Ekaterinburg is the fourth most populous city (after Moscow, St.
Petersburg and Novosibirsk) in Russia. Yekaterinburg agglomeration
is the fourth largest agglomeration of Russia. It is one of the
three most developed post-industrial agglomerations of the country.
History of Yekaterinburg
Prehistory In the land now occupied by Yekaterinburg, there
have been settlements of people since ancient times. The earliest of
the ancient settlements dated back to 8000–7000 BC during the
Mesolithic Period. In the area of Isetskoe Pravoberezhnoye I, a
settlement dating back to 6000–5000 BC in the Neolithic Period,
stone processing workshops were found with artifacts such as
grinding plates, anvils, clumps of rock, tools and finished
products. According to the analysis of artifacts, the inhabitants of
the settlement used over 50 different rocks and minerals to make
tools, which indicates a good knowledge of the population of that
time of the region's natural resources. On the peninsula Gamayun
(left bank of the Upper Iset Pond), there are archaeological
monuments dating back to the Chalcolithic Period: in the upper part
there were found workshops for the production of stone tools, in the
lower part – a settlement of two dwellings belonging to the Ayat
people. Also in this area traces of his stay (original dishes with
images of birds, evidence of metallurgical production) left the
population of the Koptyak people, dating back to 2000 BC, while on
the monument of Tent I were found the only traces of burials of this
culture in the Urals. In the Bronze Age, the Gamayun people lived in
the area, leaving behind fragments of ceramics, weapons, ornaments.
Archaeological artifacts in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg were
discovered for the first time at the end of the 19th century in an
area being constructed for a railway. Excavations and research took
place starting from the 20th century. The artifacts are kept in
museums such as the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, the
Hermitage, and the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the
Academy of Sciences.
Imperial era Russian historian Vasily
Tatishchev and Russian engineer Georg Wilhelm de Gennin founded
Yekaterinburg with the construction of a massive iron-making plant
under the decree of Russian emperor Peter the Great in 1723. They
named the city after the emperor's wife, Yekaterina, who later
became empress regnant Catherine I. The official date of the city's
foundation is 18 November 1723, when the shops carried out a test
run of the bloomery for trip hammers. The plant was commissioned on
24 November 6 days later, which its size and technical equipment
exceeding all metallurgical enterprises not only in the country, but
also in the world. It was granted town status in 1796.
city was one of Russia's first industrial cities, prompted at the
start of the 18th century by decrees from the Tsar requiring the
development in Yekaterinburg of metalworking industries. The city
was built, with extensive use of iron, to a regular square plan with
iron works and residential buildings at the center. These were
surrounded by fortified walls, so that Yekaterinburg was at the same
time both a manufacturing center and a fortress at the frontier
between Europe and Asia. It therefore found itself at the heart of
Russia's strategy for further development of the entire Ural region.
The so-called Siberian Route became operational in 1763 and placed
the city on an increasingly important transit route, which led to
its development as a focus of trade and commerce between east and
west, and gave rise to the description of the city as the "window to
Asia". With the growth in trade and the city's administrative
importance, the ironworks became less critical, and the more
important buildings were increasingly built using expensive stone.
Small manufacturing and trading businesses proliferated. In 1781
Russia's empress, Catherine the Great, nominated the city as the
administrative center for the wider region.
October Revolution, the family of deposed Tsar Nicholas II were sent
to internal exile in Yekaterinburg where they were imprisoned in the
Ipatiev House in the city. In July 1918, the Czechoslovak legions
were closing on Yekaterinburg. In the early hours of the morning of
17 July, the deposed Tsar, his wife Alexandra, and their children
Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Tsarevich
Alexei were executed by the Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev House. Other
members of the Romanov family were killed at Alapayevsk later the
same day. The Legions arrived less than a week later and captured
the city. The city remained under the control of the White movement
in which a provisional government was established. The Red Army took
back the city and restored Soviet authority on 14 July 1919.
Soviet era In the years following the Russian Revolution and
the Russian Civil War, political authority of the Urals was
transferred from Perm to Yekaterinburg. On 19 October 1920,
Yekaterinburg established its first university, the Ural State
University, as well as polytechnic, pedagogical, and medical
institutions under the decree of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.
Enterprises in the city ravaged by the war were nationalized,
including: the Metalist (formerly Yates) Plant, the Verkh-Isetsky
(formerly Yakovleva) Plant, and the Lenin flax-spinning factory
(formerly Makarov). In 1924, the city of Yekaterinburg was renamed
Sverdlovsk after the Bolshevik leader Yakov Sverdlov.
the reign of Joseph Stalin, Sverdlovsk was one of several places
developed by the Soviet government as a center of heavy industry.
Old factories were reconstructed and new large factories were built,
especially those specialized in machine-building and metalworking.
These plants included Uralmash, Magnitogorsk, and the Chelyabinsk
Tractor Plant. During this time, the population of Sverdlovsk
tripled in size, and it became one of the fastest growing cities of
the Soviet Union. At that time, very large powers were given to the
regional authorities. By the end of the 1930s, there were 140
industrial enterprises, 25 research institutes, and 12 higher
education institutions in Sverdlovsk.
During World War II,
the city became the headquarters of the Ural Military District on
the basis of which more than 500 different military units and
formations were formed, including the 22nd Army and the Ural
Volunteer Tank Corps. Uralmash became a main production site for
armored vehicles. Many state technical institutions and whole
factories were relocated to Sverdlovsk away from cities affected by
war (mostly Moscow), with many of them staying in Sverdlovsk after
the victory. The Hermitage Museum collections were also partly
evacuated from Leningrad to Sverdlovsk in July 1941 and remained
there until October 1945.
In the postwar years, new
industrial and agricultural enterprises were put into operation and
massive housing construction began. The lookalike five-story
apartment blocks that remain today in Kirovsky, Chkalovsky, and
other residential areas of Sverdlovsk sprang up in the 1960s, under
the direction of Nikita Khrushchev's government. In 1977, Ipatiev
House was demolished by order of Boris Yeltsin in accordance to a
resolution from the Politburo in order to prevent it from being used
as a rallying location for monarchists. Yeltsin later became the
first President of Russia and represented the people at the funeral
of the former Tsar in 1998. There was an anthrax outbreak in
Sverdlovsk in April and May 1979, which was attributed to a release
from the Sverdlovsk-19 military facility.