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16Aug/130

Best of Russia 2012

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The photo exhibit Best of Russia is held in Yekaterinburg for the 3d time. It represents the photos taken by Russian professional and amateur photographers in 580 Russian locations in 2012.

The project shows the life of the country during one year viewed by Russian citizens. Here you can travel to the wilderness of Kamchatka, see the rural South of Russia or witness the riots in Moscow.

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The youngest participant of the project is 7 years old, the oldest is 80 years old. The only rule of the contest: photos have to be created in Russia!

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The exhibition is open in Yekaterinburg till August 25th in the Museum of Fine Arts on Vainera st. 11 from Tue. till Sun.

opening hours: 11.00 - 19.00, Wedn-Thur 11.00 - 20.00

admission: 150rub, photo: 50rub The cash desk closes 1 hour before the closing time of the museum.

click to the gallery to see some more photos:

 

21May/120

Red line tour in Yekaterinburg

When walking in the center of Yekaterinburg you can see a red line drawn in the middle of the pavement. Some locals still think it’s a divider for pedestrians or a lane for bicycles. But the truth is the red line is a guideline for tourists. Just find it on Prospect Lenina and go down the line and in three hours you’ll get back to the starting point with photos of all the main sites in your camera!

The Red Line project started in 2011 as a blog by Dmitry Kalaev. The Internet users were voting for the best sites in the center of Yekaterinburg. Eventually, 35 historic objects were chosen including the Church on the Blood, Opera Theatre, the Beatles monument, QWERTY monument, Literary Quarter etc. The Red Line was drawn on June 18 2011. Its length is 6.5 kilometers.

Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour

walking to the Church on the Blood

This summer (2012) activists of the Red Line project are planning to draw QR codes for each site along the line, to print maps and to add full descriptions of the objects on the webpage  www.ekbredline.ru

The Beatles monument on the redl line

QWERTY or giant keyboard is a must-see according to Wikipedia and to the red-line volunteers

You can walk along the Red Line on your own or get a guided tour to learn more about the historical places. Sometimes there are free excursions arranged by volunteers for special events.

As a manager of the English newspaper Your Yekaterinburg, I invited the readers of the paper to take a guided tour down the Red Line when the annual Night in the Museum event took place in Yekaterinburg. It took us 2.5 hours to do the whole tour. The weather was great and so was the company! The photos for this post were taken during our tour and you can see me with a yellow scarf 🙂

The first map of Yekaterinburg of 1723. Those days the city was smaller than the Red line route

Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour

29Nov/110

Germans in the Urals

Russian Germans (Russkie Nemtzy) is a generalized term used in the Russian language to name the people whose forefathers moved to Russia before the Revolution or were sent to labour camps during the Great Patriotic War in the USSR. Many of them migrated to Germany in 1990s but some decided to stay. For instance, my elderly neighbor babushka Anna said she was too old to integrate into the western society. Assuming that she lived in the industrial town of Nizhni Tagil, she had probably been a victim of Stalin repressions but she never spoke about it.

There are about 600 000 Russian Germans living in Russia today, over 20 000 of them live in Middle Urals. The Festival of German Culture in Russia was held for the first time in November in Yekaterinburg. About 200 of Russian Germans came from different parts of the Urals to share what they have preserved: folk songs and dances, national costumes and German quisine. By the way, the first Governer of Sverdlovskaya Oblast , Eduard Rossel is Russian German too. Other famous Russian Germans in the Urals are fellow artists Lew Weiber and Michail Distergeft.

Both were sent to Gulag and spent their youth working in coal mines in Karpinsk (Northern Urals). They were released After the Second World War. Weiber studied at the college of Arts in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg). Distergeft did the same in Nizhni Tagil. Of course, they were ‘ne vyezdnie’ (not permitted to travel abroad). There was a term Inner Emigration in Soviet artists’ lexicon in 1960s. It meant that looking for harmony the artists preferred to retreat to nature in order to create something for themselves and for a close circle of friends.

Yekaterinburg Gallery of Modern Art  (www.uralgallery.ru) exhibited the paintings of Weiber and Distergeft  as a part of the Festival of German Culture. The exhibition was called “The nature of memory. The memory of nature” It had Weiber’s landscapes of the Urals and graphic works by Gistergeft who portrayed the life of the Germans in labour camps. The graphic works were made in 1990s when Distergeft lived in Oranienburg, Germany.

14Jul/111

Innoprom 2011- Yekaterinburg goes innovative

Innoprom 2011 is an international Ural exhibition and forum of industry and innovations held in July 14-17 in a newly built Yekaterinburg Expo near Koltsovo Airport

Total area of Expo is more than 200 thousand sq.m.

President Medvedev stated in May at the Skolkovo innovation centre that innovative infrastructure should be applied in other regions. Sverdlovskaya oblast is one of these regions. The list of participants includes Russian Railways, Ltd. "Gazprom Transgaz Ekaterinburg" and the Swiss Association of Mechanical Engineers Swissmem, as well as collective expositions of Germany, Israel, China, Poland, Canada, Austria and Vietnam.

Russian RZD and Siemens signed an agreement to produce high-speed trains Desiro in the Urals

Apart from industrial objects there is an interesting exhibition of Contepmporary Art

and a must-see for families with kids TechnoDrom - a project of a scientific museum for children which, I really hope, will be opened in the Urals one day...

Innoprom is opened daily 9-19. There are free shuttle buses running every 20 min from the main train station and from the metro station Ploschad 1905

p.s. Innoprom is now held every year in middle July

28Jun/110

Best of Russia – Moscow photo project exhibited in Yekaterinburg

This summer you don't need to go far in order to explore Russia. Just pay a visit to Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts on Vainera st. 11

Ice Breath of Siberia by Vitaly Tumanuv, 25y.o., Lobnya

All Russian annual photo project ‘Best of Russia ‘10’ arrived at Yekaterinburg. The photo exhibition with 365 best photos of the year was brought from Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow.

Physical Jerks by Sergey Voronin, 54y.o. Podolsk

Small portrait by Alexander Alpatkin, 46y.o. Kurgan (Urals)

The idea is to show the life of the whole country during one year viewed by Russian citizens and to discover most talented photographers. The organizers received 26 000 photos from 570 Russian settlements created by professional and amateur photographers.

That ‘Locked Out’ Feeling by Ilya Nodiya, 21 y.o. Omsk

Children are the flowers of life by Dmitry Ternovsky, 29y.o. Moscow

365 project’s best photos were chosen by the authoritative jury committee. The exhibition is divided into five sections: architecture, nature, style, people, events and everyday life. There is only one rule – photos have to be created in Russia.  

The exhibition is held in Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Art on Vainera 11 until September, 4. Entrance fee 150 R

Hypno-Cat by Pavel Kuleshin, 26y.o. Moscow

25Jun/110

Michael Jackson in Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg is already proud of the first monument to the Beatles in Russia (read about it:   http://askural.com/2010/09/new-monuments-of-yekaterinburg/) Now the city has a sculpture of Michael Jackson too!

Local fan club of the King of Pop gathered money to erect a sculpture in the city centre. Michael, who had never been to the Urals, appeared on Vainer St. in front of Greenwich Shopping Mall on June, 25th - 2nd anniversary of Jackson’s sudden death.

Jackson's fans in Yekaterinburg are very young

Michael Jackson gave his first concert in Russia in 1993. The main difficulty for the Moscow organizers was to find 8 computers for the show. Those days few Russians could afford them. Due to high ticket prices and heavy rain the stadium was only half full and Michael refused to start the show. At the last moment the organizers had to open the gates and let passersby enter for free.

4Feb/110

Boris Yeltsin in marble

This week Yekaterinburg is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Boris Yeltsin’s birth. A big man from the Urals started his political career in Sverdlovsk, then was promoted to Moscow in 1985 and became the first president of Russia. Now his statue is the first monument since the Soviet era erected to a political leader.

The monument is made of 15 ton marble pieces. It’s 10 metres tall - Boris’s height was 1.87m., much taller than his followers Putin and Medvedev (1.70 and 1.62 respectively). No wonder, the monument was erected on the Street named after Yeltsin. In the Soviet times the central street used to be a neglected area with shabby barracks. It was thanks to Yeltsin that the ugly barracks were demolished and people were moved to the new apartment buildings. Yeltsin also ordered to build a Drama theatre on this street. In the future there will be a presidential centre on Yeltsin Street too with a library and a museum. The museum will have an exact replica of Yeltsin’s office in the Kremlin.

The building of the future presidential centre of B.Yeltsin

2011 is also the 20th anniversary of the failed coup arranged by the Communists in August 1991 when Yeltsin climbed up onto a tank outside the Russian parliament and called for a general strike. On 23 August Yeltsin banned the Communist party in Russia. The photo exhibition of those events is now held in the Museum of History in Yekaterinburg. The exhibition is called ‘Yeltsin – Yes!’

There are very different opinions in Russia of Yeltsin’s presidency. The 90s are remembered as years when few men became billionaires while pensioners lived in poverty. Gangsters and mafia controlled the cities, it was especially characteristic for Yeltsin’s home city Yekaterinburg. The president was famous for his drunken speeches. I heard a lady from Moscow saying on the radio about Yekaterinburg: “Everything is wrong in your city – you killed the Tsar and failed to raise a president.”

By the way, it was Yeltsin who ordered to demolish Ipatyev House – the place of the Tsar’s murder in 1978. Though later he would say the order arrived from the Kremlin and he couldn’t disobey. However, Boris always had a huge support in Yekaterinburg. 95% of the Yekaterinburgers supported him in 1991 and the recent celebration events show that most of the Ural citizens don’t have a grudge against him.

Another interesting exhibition took place on Lenin Avenue. Local contemporary artists erected a carton monument to letter E. It is the most important letter for the city as both Yekaterinburg and Yeltsin start with ‘E’ in Russian. The citizens could bring the photos of the prominent people whose names start with E. The photos were then glued to the monument.

8Oct/100

Russian presidents in Yekaterinburg art gallery

Yekaterinburg Gallery of Modern Art as usual holds an interesting photo exhibition Our Shots this October. The most curious photos of the famous Russian newspaper Kommersant present top Russian personalities in a very peculiar way.

If you happen to stay in Yekaterinburg do visit it on Krasnoarmeyskaya 32. More information about the gallery is here (the web-site is in English) http://www.uralgallery.ru/en-index.php

And some photos from the exhibition are here:

29Sep/101

New monuments of Yekaterinburg

Like all post-Soviet cities, Yekaterinburg has many impressive Soviet monuments including ubiquitous Lenin on Lenin Avenue. Fortunately, the 21st century artists have paid their tribute. The new monuments and sculptures of Yekaterinburg are less grandeur, more true-to-life and attract many tourists. Thanks to them the city looks cosier warmer and unique.

Giant keyboard aka QWERTY monument or Klava in Russian

Well, this one is following the Soviet traditions being rather gigantic - QWERTY monument is relatively new but has already become one of the main city attractions along with Church on the Blood. It's interesting, that in a few days after the official opening of the monument somebody stole two concrete letters (each letter weighs 80 kg!) The letters were never found and were replaced by the new heavier ones. You can find it and jump from Enter to Delete on the eastern bank of the Iset River between Malysheva and Kuybysheva streets next to the Beatles monument.

Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour

The monument to the Beatles was opened by the local fan club in Yekaterinburg. Reportedly, it's the only Beatles memorial in Russia

Sir Paul hasn't had time to visit it yet but John Lennon's band Quarrymen came to the opening ceremony and that was more than enough to make the post-Soviet fans happy.  Now the monument is also supported by the Wall of Love. The wall depicts the houses of the Beatles in Liverpool and everyone can leave a peaceful message on it.

The Russian music fans like to take pictures at the monument to Vladimir Vysotsky and Marina Vlady in front of Antey skyscraper

Vladimir Vysotsky was an iconic Soviet singer. His songs about common people in Moscow or Gulag were officially banned in the USSR. A French actress Marina Vlady was his long-term long-distance love.

Vainera walking street (a so-called Uralski Arbat) is full of bronze sculptures dedicated to the city dwellers of the past. For example, the sculpture of Artamonov - a local craftsman who invented a bicycle. Didn't you know that the bicycle was invented in the Urals? Every local child will tell you so. Okay, it wasn't the first bicycle ever but the first created in Yekaterinburg.

The legend says that Artamonov created and iron bicycle and rode all the way to St. Petersburg to see the coronation of the Russian Tsar. He then came back still on his iron friend.

If you go to the right from the Central Train Station you get to the old station which is now a Rail Museum. There are some interesting sculptures of the station workers in front of the museum:

A sculpture of provodnitsa carrying tea to her passengers. Provodnitsa (carriage attendant) is a well known word to anyone who went by Trans-Siberian trains.

Yekaterinburg has also the one and only monument to an Invisible Man. I intentionally didn't post the photo of it so that you can use your imagination and think how a monument to an Invisible Man may look like. To find the answer just visit Yekaterinburg. You will spot the monument near the main entrance to Belinski Library on Belinskogo st, 15.

Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour

Here are some more photos of the new monuments and sculptures in Yekaterinburg:

15Sep/100

Contemporary art in Yekaterinburg

With 50 museums, 15 theatres and 20 institutions of higher education Yekaterinburg is sure to have busy cultural life. Recently it has attracted many contemporary artists as the first Ural Biennale of Contemporary Art is now open in the city until middle October.

The exhibitions are set in 6 factories of Yekaterinburg. The most interesting and worth visiting is in Urlamsh - the Ural heavy Machine Building Plant. You can get there by metro. The one and only metro line in Yekaterinburg goes directly to the northern district of Uralmsh. Uralmsh is a large industrial and residential area, back in the 90s it was known as the criminal capital of Russia. It is still a dare to walk in Uralmash after midnight but it's OK during a day. Take my word as I lived in Uralmash for 5 years.

Normally it's impossible to get to the territory of the huge Uralmash factory unless you work there. Thanks to the art you have a unique opportunity to see this top secret place. Getting inside can be quite adventurous. The whole process of entering the factory is a good example of a never-dying Russian bureaucracy. It can be annoying especially if you've already had difficulties getting a visa. But if you have sense of humour the experience is remarkable.

First of all, you have to show your passport everywhere. Then you will be told not to take any photos as if it's not a contemporary exhibition but a KGB office. At the entrance to one of the buildings our group of visitors was greeted by a typically Soviet big shrewish woman in grey uniform with a stern face and a coquettish purple lipsticked mouth. She was a factory security guard and a perfect prototype of a Russian woman of the Cold War era. You know the one that was later fortunately replaced by a new image of slender tennis players.  I was tempted to take a picture of that woman but was afraid that she might easily throw me away to the factory shaft for this. The woman said that she wouldn't let us in because we had to have the detailed plan of our excursion in the factory with the copies of our passports, signatures of some important people and probably sealed by Putin at that. We didn't have all those papers. To my reply that we came not to spy but to see the art exhibit she answered in triumph - Bureaucracy is not yet cancelled in Russia! I now have no doubts that it will never be cancelled in Uralmash factory No matter how hard our president is trying to eliminate red tape in the country he simply won't be able to get inside because he hasn't got a detailed plan of his visit.

Anyway, we did get inside after we wrote our full names on a sheet of paper for our lovely lady-guard and promised her not to take any pictures there. Well, I came to see contemporary art so I took a few...

Ural Biennale of Contemporary Art takes place in September-October every second year. The next one is in 2014