The Sverdlovsk Region was founded in 1934 in the course of the Ural Region splitting. Its area is 194,300 sq.km; its populations is 4.3 million persons. The Region is located in the YEKT Time Zone, which is the Yekaterinburg Time Zone (2 hours plus time difference with Moscow).
The administrative center is the city of Yekaterinburg, which had the name of Sverdlovsk in honor of the famous revolutionary Yakov M. Sverdlov before 1991. The city is situated 1,425 km from Moscow.
The Sverdlovsk Region is the largest in the Ural Federal District. It’s situated in the north of the Urals Mountains and in the western part of the West Siberian Plain. Its major rivers belong to the catchment basin of the Ob River and the Kama River. There are also large lakes, namely the Great Indra, the Great Vagilsky Tuman, the Iset Lake. The Climate in the Region is continental with cold winters (average temperature is —18°C) and comparatively warm summers (average temperature is +18°C).
Tourists are kindly invited to the picturesque national park «Olenyi Ruchii» (Deer Brooks) which is especially popular in winter and early spring when one can see icing of walls in the large cave «Druzhba». Petrified remains of prehistoric animals lived in the Reefeyskoe Sea can be seen on the cave walls. Not far from the cave there is a sinkhole of about 50 m depth where, by a legend, mountain spirits live. Another popular reserve is called Visimsky. It has the area of 33.5 thousand ha. Unique eco-systems of the Urals remained virgin in this reserve. Another natural monument, year by year attracting tourists, especially amateurs of rock-climbing and mountain tourism, is the mountain «Konzhakovsky Stone» of 1,569 m height.
Yekaterinburg was founded in 1723 on the bank of the Iset River at the eastern slope of the Middle Urals. Constructions from the XVIII-XIX centuries remained unchanged in the city: the Mountain Chancery, the former Mansion House of Rastorguev-Kharitonov, the Malakhov’s House. The Historical Garden is considered to be the historical part of the city: one can see here huge rocks from various parts of the Urals.
The attention of cultural tourism amateurs is drawn by the Arts Museum with a unique collection of icons painted by masters from the Urals Icon-Painting School, patterns of art castings, a jewelry collection. The major exhibit item of the local history museum is the Shigirsky Idol of more than 5 m height, supposed to be the most ancient idol in the humanity history: it was created 9.5 thousand years ago.
Yekaterinburg is also the place of a recent event, the murder of the last Emperor of Russia Nikolai II and his family. This tragic event happened in the Ipatievsk House: later a church was built in this place. The remains of the Tsar family were buried thereabouts.
Neviansk, a town founded in 1700 as a settlement at the Ironworks, is also worth visiting. The major place of interest in the city is the Nevianskaya Tower, one of the world-famous leaning towers. This tower was built by enslaved peasants of the merchant Demidov. The tower is leaning due to construction plan flaws, as it did not take into account ground waters. As of 2009, the tower’s inclination is 2 m. There is also Museum of Art Pottery and Glass in Neviansk.
The Sverdlovsk Region is popular among amateurs of extreme winter sports: mountain skiing, and snowboarding. Many routes of various length and complexity run not far from Yekaterinburg in the mountains Yezhovaya, Belaya, Volchikha, Medvezhka. There are specialized ski-resorts, such as Mikhailovsk which is also called the «Ural Switzerland» due to steep slopes with elevation changes of up to 100 m and many variants of descent.
The Festival of Extreme Sports is held in the Sverdlovsk Region in May. It consists of performances of speleologists, rollers, cyclists, river rafting as well as quieter types of sports such as fishing. Amateurs of modern arts should visit the Festival of Modern Arts «ART-Works» which is annually held in Yekaterinburg. In 2009 interactive masterpieces of art represented the major exhibit at this Festival.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.