AskUral.com Hello! My name is Luba. I can show you my Yekaterinburg and Middle Urals in Russia!

2Jun/110

Gora Belaya – a mountain to mount in summer

Last week I got a question from Nicole. She is arriving from Berlin in August and she would like to see some mountains. When you are going to the Urals you expect to see a landscape similar to that in the Alps. But the reality is different and the first thing that tourists ask is “where are the mountains?” – Hmm, actually, everywhere to the North, South or West from Yekaterinburg.

The closest mountain skiing resort is Gora Volchikha (520m) It’s 40 km to the west  near the town of Revda http://www.volchixa.ru But the slope is closed in summer time and there are no chair lifts or trails for trekking. The same story is with other mountains in the vicinity.

The only one mountain with good infrastructure all year long is Gora Belaya - 705m (White Mountain) 150 km north to Yekaterinburg. The long drive is worth it as on your way you can also visit two interesting Ural towns: Nevyansk and Nizhni Tagil.

As winter lasts 5 months here, Belaya is still good for skiing in March

The mountain is called white because even in late May snow is there

The Regional Government invested a lot of money to promote the mountain as the best resort in Middle Urals. The plan was to make it a training ground for the Olympics. Gora Belaya hasn’t become popular all over Russia yet. To date, it is only visited by the locals. Thus a hotel, restaurants, saunas and a swimming pool are deserted most of the year. But our government doesn’t give up, so the resort is open every day from 10 to 22 and the staff will start the chair lift for you even if you are the only visitor.

Book the tour to Belaya Mt here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/northern-urals

A view from the top

As I took these photos on May 9th there were 4 visitors - 3 German tourists and I.

In summer you can also rent a bicycle, roller skates and race in go-cart. The website has prices and maps (only in Russian) http://www.gorabelaya.ru/

Getting there

by car from Yekaterinburg: 115 km down Serovsky Trakt. Pass Lenevka Sanatorium and turn left to detour around Nizhni Tagil, then turn to Chernoistochinsk-Uralets. Turn left at the obelisk on the Europe-Asia border and drive 2 km towards the car park.

By public transport from Yekaterinburg: take any bus, minibus or a local train to Nizhni Tagil. From the main bus station in Nizhni Tagil (which is next to the train station) take bus 113 directly to Belaya. Bus runs twice a day at 10.40 and 15.00 from the city and at 12.20 and 16.30 from Gora Belaya.

25May/110

Europe-Asia border. Is it worth it?

This post is for Don, Michael and many others who asked me if it’s worth going to the border between Europe and Asia and what you can see there, apart from the obelisk.

Honestly speaking, I’ve been there so many times that I take it for granted. But I haven’t seen yet a single tourist who regretted about going there. So, look at the pictures and decide yourself whether you want to go there or not...

Obelisk near the town of Pervouralsk (40km from Yekaterinburg)

The most interesting obelisk is near Pervouralsk (40 km from Yekaterinburg) on Beryozavaya gorka (birch hill). The obelisk was made in honour of Tsar Alaxander II who was traveling to Siberia in 1837. He stopped there and opened a bottle of wine. Since that we have a tradition to drink on the border – one glass in Europe and one in Asia.

The place attracts newly-weds as there is also a tree of wishes where couples hang their padlocks and make a wish sitting on a bench.

Book the tour to the Europa-Asian border here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/europe-asia-border

German couple under the tree made by local blacksmith Pastukhov. Similar tree grows in London

What to do: drink, make a wish under the tree, take photos of village people

Getting there from Yekaterinburg: by taxi (about 1.000R) or by bus or marshrutka (minivan) to Pervouralsk from bus stop Institut Svyazi on Repina street. Bus fare may vary from 20- to 40R Note: buses stop in different parts of Pervouralsk, so it’s wise to ask the driver how to get to the obelisk.

The simplest obelisk but closest to the city (17km from Yekaterinburg)

The most popular place on the border is 17 km from Yekaterinburg one NovoMoskovski trakt.

What to do: continue drinking, buy souvenirs, tie a ribbon on a tree to make a statement that you’ve been there, take a photo of yourself clad as Tsar or Tsaritsa.

Book the tour to the Europa-Asian border here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/europe-asia-border

Of course there are many more marks all along the Ural Mountains:

3Dec/103

Public transport in Yekaterinburg

My foreign friends in Yekaterinburg keep asking me the same question about public transport. Car is not always a good option – some central streets are very narrow and they are even narrower in winter when there are only two ruts in snow. It seems that Yekaterinburg has a good transport system with many buses, trolleys and trams. But does it work well when you don’t know the city and can hardly speak Russian?

 

First of all, there is no determined timetable for public transport. You just go to the bust stop and hope for the best. While buses and trolleybuses stuck in traffic jams every now and then, trams are more reliable. However, Russian drivers and renowned for being terribly impatient so they often use tram tracks to overtake the others and block the traffic completely. Note that some trams have weird routs. For example, if you take Tram 3 form the train station to Lenin Avenue, it doesn’t mean that you can get back to the train station by the same tram as it runs one way in circles. Even after 10 in this city I get perplexed by their routs so it’s a good idea to ask (in Russian) people at the bus stop or a conductor in a tram where it’s heading to.

Those who have already been to Russia know about marshrutkas (minibuses). They duplicate bus routes and run quicker though not safer. Marshrutkas belong to private companies that tend to hire unqualified emigrants from the former Soviet Republics as drivers. They don’t always know Russian, let alone Russian traffic laws. Still the main problem is that in order to make more money marshrutkas drivers overwork sometimes spending twelve hours a day behind the wheel.

Let’s not forget about the metro. Yekaterinburg Metro used to be listed in the Guinness Record Book as the shortest underground in the world. Now that it’s got 7th station, it isn’t famous anymore but is very short all the same. Local metro stations are good for sightseeing. They are decorated with marble and Ural gems and they are not as crowded as in Moscow.

If you travel by Trans-Siberian and arrive at the Main Train Station you can jump into any trolleybus. They all go to the city centre and stop at Church on the Blood. Or you can use metro from Uralskaya station to Ploschad 1905.

Public transport can be complicated for foreigners. On the bright side of things it’s cheap: 18 roubles and you can pay directly to a stout lady-conductor in a bus or a tram. Besides, public transport in Yekaterinburg and all over Russia never stops functioning even when it’s -35 and roads are covered with one meter of snow!