The Eclectic Museums of Yekaterinburg
Anyone interested in a healthy dose of Russian history or culture need look no further than the city of Yekaterinburg, once called Sverdlovski and often Romanized to Yekaterinburg. As the fourth largest city in Russia, Yekaterinburg boasts well over 30 museums along with a host of accommodation possibilities for tourists. Photography, fine arts, literary history, folk arts, science and engineering are just some of the genres available for the keen museum visitor.
Many of the larger and most well-known museums of Yekaterinburg charge to visit, but are well worth the entrance fee. The Museum of Fine Arts houses the not-to-be-missed Kasli mouldings along with many historic and some contemporary Russian artists. The Regional Natural History Museum and the Ekaterinburg History Museum offer a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of Russian culture and particularly the Ural. The Historic Exhibition houses the famed Shigar collection of wood sculptures along with permanent exhibitions from the Romanov family. To really get a sense of Russian history through photos the Museum of Photography The House of Mentenkov is a must see and is the only dedicated state museum of photography in Russia. Many free museums are also to be found including the popular Nevyansk Icon Museum which focuses on icon painting through the centuries.
For those wishing to tuck in close to the technological and craft sides of this beautiful country a wealth of both small and large museums can be found, and places such as the Gamayan Centre of Folk Arts and Artistic Handicrafts even offer classes on stone cutting, castings and engraving. The Ural Geological Museum and the Museum of History of Stone-Cutting and Jewellers Art give a great insight into the beauty and craftsmanship of the country while the Science and Engineering Museum of Sverdlovsk Railway will send railway lovers into seventh heaven. October 2013 also marks the 70th anniversary of the city’s tram system so the Museum of the History of EMUP will be a must visit during this time.
Whatever time a visit is made to Yekaterinburg there is no shortage of accommodation for travellers on any budget. Backpacker hostels and motels are as abundant as expected in any major city and small apartments can be found to rent for reasonable prices. The city offers over 100 hotels with the Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg currently being the only 5-star hotel available. A myriad of restaurants, cafes and bars can also be found throughout the city. Visitors can head for some traditional Russian cuisine or party the night away drinking Irish beer in one of the many popular Scottish themed pubs to be found. The Traveler’s Coffee cafe is reportedly one of the best places to go for both incredible traditional coffee and food The music played throughout Yekaterinburg is almost as eclectic as the museums; along with pop and classical there is a strong presence of rock, jazz and swing bands. A visit to the opera or ballet is also considered a must do for many visitors.
Yekaterinburg is a bustling major city packed full of both the usual aspects of modern life and a rich history ready for absorption. Anyone wanting to get a genuine feel for the Ural and Russian culture in general will find a genuine delight in this exciting city through both its daily bustle and the wonder of its eclectic museums.