Day 38. Yekaterinburg. The Romanovs.

We set off from our Yekaterinburg apartment at 1015 to look at the city. Very different to Perm. Modern, clean and spacious. Clean cars too, which made us feel very grubby. Being Sunday, the traffic was reasonably quiet. We parked easily and found ourselves in an area of commercial buildings and plenty of banks. We still needed to get some more cash. I had been put off, after our experiences in St Petersburg, but this time we found a machine that had no problem giving us a reasonable amount of cash. Fortunately, credit cards are very widely used here. Hotels, petrol stations, supermarkets, most tourist attractions all take cards, which makes life easy.

Royal Family. Executed 100 years ago in July

The Romanovs (The Tsar and Tsarina and their five chldren) were executed in the basement of the Ipatyeva house. The house belonged to a local engineer, Nikolay Ipatyev, but this house no longer exists. The Romanovs were taken from St Petersburg following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The peasantry had decided to throw off the yokes of serfdom and take control of their own destiny. Royalty had received a number of threats in the intervening years but did nothing to ease the lot of the common people. In fact, they were so removed from ever day life that the Revolution was a complete surprise to them. During Soviet times the Ipatyev house became a museum of atheism, but it was demolished in 1977 by Boris Yeltsin, who was the Governor of Ekaterinburg at the time. He feared it would attract monarchist sympathisers. So, for many years the site was just a vacant block, marked by a small cross and the wooden chapel dedicated to Grand PrincessYelizaveta Fyodorovna, a pious nun who met an even worse end than the other Romanovs. She was poisoned with gas and thrown down a mine shaft.

Chapel of Grand Princess Fyodorovna

On the death site there is now a massive Byzantine style church, the Church Upon the Blood. It stands beside the wooden Fyodorovna chapel, which we could only see from the outside as it is under restoration. There were quite a few Japanese tourists about as Japan and Senegal are playing a World Cup match here today. Not the same atmosphere as in Kazan. Far less evidence of supporters and, noticeably, a large police presence.

A lovely sunny day, we decided we had had enough of the city and set off on the road again. Heading for Ufa now. Initially we took the road for Chelyabinsk, the M5. What a dreadful road for a motorway! Nothing but cracks and pot holes. We decided to take a short cut avoiding Chelyabinsk, but as they were very small roads, we were uncertain how good the roads would be. In fact much better than the motorway. As a bonus it was a pretty route with many lakes and pretty small villages dotted among the forests. We did come across a bad section though, through an area with some sort of huge mining operation. We are not sure what was being extracted, but there were huge mountains of slag and a railway operation to remove whatever was being mined.

Once through this area the road improved again and we soon came across a pretty lake with a couple of parked cars and thought we would stop here too. Dennis wasted no time in getting water and with the help of our shower, gave the old girl a good clean. It is now evening, we are fed and watered and the other cars have gone. The sun is going down and it a lovely warm evening. We have no internet, sadly, so this will have to wait until tomorrow before it can be published.

A footnote to the Revolution of 1917. Britain and the United States sent troops to Russia to support the Russian continuation in WW1 on the Allies side. When the Revolution broke out those troops were used to try and quell the uprising. To no avail, mainly through lack of leadership and conviction.

Brother Kelvin photographed this in the Aussie Outback. šŸ™‚

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