Many tourists who arrive to . If you correspond with the locals they may write that they live in Ekaterinburg. Why do they miss Y? And how should it actually be spelled and pronounced?
Back in the 90ies I tried to book a direct train ticket from Hamburg to my city. A lady at the desk typed the name and said that her computer didn't have the city named Yekaterinburg. I asked her to type it without Y - no result. Then I asked about Katerinenburg (the Germans call it this way) - again no information. When I finally tried to book a ticket to Sverdlovsk the lady looked at me curiously and wondered - Do you know what city you are going to at all? - Oh yes, I knew. I knew that it was the city I couldn't get to.
The Russians pronounce it: [Ye ka te rin boork] and write it with Russian letter E [ye]. The name was given to honor Peter the Great's wife Yekaterina. By the way, in the Soviet times the city was called Sverdlovsk after Bolsheviks' leader Yakov Sverdlov. Sverdlovsk was closed to foreigners and nobody really cared how to spell it in English.
Only in 1991 the city got its old name back and the confusion began. For example, my teacher of English suggested saying Katherinsburg. Many people kept calling it Sverdlovsk (the communists still stick to it)
Finally, if the name of the first Russian President Yeltsin was written with Y then his native city should have Y as well. Thus: Yekaterinburg - now it's official! However, the City Administration seemed to ignore officialisms that's why all the official Internet sites, books and maps printed in Yekaterinburg bear the name Ekatrinburg.
No matter how you write it with Y or E in your itinerary, just remember that the youngsters in Yekaterinburg like to use the nick name and will tell you that this is Yo-burg. While some elderly people call the city Sverdlovsk and there is one more Sverdlovsk still exists in Ukraine. So make sure you're not in the wrong city. Well, hope you don't drink that much vodka to mix up the countries!
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