Travels across Russia: Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk, Russia

Founded in 1723 to the east of the Ural Mountains on the border of Europe and Asia, Ekaterinburg, or Yekaterinburg, was a mining and metal-working center, and one of Russia's first industrial cities. Planned on a grid system with manufacturing and residential areas enclosed within a walled enclave, the city became a transportation crossroads when the Siberian highway arrived in 1763, and commerce with the East gained it the nickname "the window on Asia." In 1923, Ekaterinburg became the administrative center of the vast Urals region. Renamed Sverdlovsk from 1924 until it returned to its pre-Soviet name in 1991, the city became an arsenal for military technology and armaments during World War II. After the war, Sverdlovsk continued to develop as a major industrial and cultural center of the Urals.

The preservation of historic buildings from many periods in Ekaterinburg is documented here in photographs taken in 1999 from the collection of William Craft Brumfield. Of particular note is the constructivist architecture—commercial buildings, apartment blocks and office buildings—built during the 1930s’ Soviet five-year plans.

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