Ekaterinburg or Yekaterinburg is an intriguing stop-off on the Trans-Siberian Railway route and an essential visit for those with even a modicum of interest in Russian history. This is where, in July 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and five children were murdered by the Bolsheviks, signalling the final chapter of the Romanov dynasty that had ruled Russia for over 300 years. The magnificent Cathedral on the Blood now stands where the family met their end and contains several fascinating monuments to the Romanovs as well as memorabilia from their last days here.
Seemingly a magnet for significant moments in Russia’s colourful history, Yekaterinburg is also the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin and the city where American U2 pilot Gary Powers parachuted into in 1960, sparking a major international incident and intensifying the cold war in the process. There are several captivating museums providing an in-depth view into the town’s intriguing past such as the Military Museum and the Museum of Local History.