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

2Sep/102

What is the Ural weather like?

One word - unpredictable! Right, ok, it's not changing here every 30 minutes like in London but within a few days the weather may change dramatically. When I was younger and could party all night long, I remember one day getting to a night club in my flimsy summer dress and the following morning I had to jump over snow on my way home. And that was in June! This is of course an extreme example and it doesn't happen every summer but...

In the Middle Urals we mainly depend on the winds, whether it's a lovely warm wind from Kazakhstan or bitter Arctic wind or you-never-know-what-it-gonna-bring western wind from Europe. These are literally winds of change that change the Ural weather in a day.

Today (Sept. 2) it's +10, the forecast for tomorrow is +27. Looks like Indian summer is coming! Because my birth day is in mid. October I know exactly that as a rule it first starts snowing on 13th-15th of October but this snow will quickly melt down. The whole region will be covered with snow by the end of November. Then again, last year we had + temperatures until mid. December and skiing resorts were very unhappy with that.
Average winter temperature is -15 -20. It's very pleasant actually because the air is dry. So don't be afraid to go out for a walk at -15, just don't forget to put on winter boots, a fur hat, a shuba (Russian fur coat) and be ready for changes. New Year is the most popular holiday in Russia. Last year it was spoilt by severe cold -35. People had to stay in and drink. Athough a few years ago New Year was accompanied by zero temperature and our beautiful Ice Town in the main square of Yekaterinburg turned into a grey slush.  

Winter lasts until end of March. April can be tricky: sometimes warm, sometimes miserable with occasional snow. Spring (and we talk here about a green season when trees and flowers are in bloom) begins somewhere in May and be prepared for something between +5 and +25. Not really a helpful piece of information, eh? As for summer, until this year I could have said that it's rather cool +17 +22 with many rains and a week of hot sunny weather if you are lucky enough. The summer of 2010 however was unusually hot and dry all over Russia with melting asphalt in the city and fires in the woods.

To cut the story short, when going to the Urals just hope for the best and check out the weather forecast one maximum two weeks ahead because the rest is a mystery...

30Aug/101

Visited Yekaterinburg and didn’t see any mountains!

That's what an American tourist complained about when arrived in Yekaterinburg. Not that he really complained about his visit, he enjoyed it a lot but where are the mountains? The question is not unusual. If you come to Yekaterinburg and stay in the city center you will not see any mountains. Even if you climb the tallest skyscraper called Antey Business Center the view will be somewhat disappointing. So where are the mountains in the Urals?

The thing is Yekaterinburg lies on the flat platform of the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains. You get the most picturesque view when travelling by train from Perm (on the western slope) to Yekaterinburg. Then again don't expect to see snowy peaks broken by clouds. The Ural Mountains are one of the oldest in the world - three hundred million years old. Those days the mountains were as high as the Alps 4-5 km. Now they are only 300-400 m. However it's enough to give you many opportunities for snowboarding and mountain skiing. You may start right in Yekaterinburg as there is Uktusskaya Gora (mountain) within the city boundaries. Take a trolley bus from the center in the southern direction and get off at Uktuss. The slope is good for beginners and you can rent all the necessary equipment there.

To see the real mountains take a trip to the north to Gora Yezhovaya (90km from Yekaterinburg) or Gora Belaya near the town of Nizhni Tagil (170 km from Yekaterinburg). Gora Volchikha (Wolf Mountain) is popular with the citizens and it's only 50 km west to the city. Serious winter sport amateurs should visit Abzakovo skiing resort in Southern Urals - one of the best known in Russia it is Vladimir Putin's favourite. Although now Mr. Putin claims that his favourite slopes are in Sochi (for promotional reasons of course).

It's not only in winter when the mountains are worth visiting. In summer you can go horse riding, cycling and hiking. As for hiking, I would recommend Nature Park Olenyi Ruchyi (Deer Creek). It's amazing any time of the year especially in autumn. See the pictures on my Facebook page Yekaterinburg for You.

24Aug/102

Is Ural in Siberia?

This question is often asked: Where's actually Ural? Is it somewhere in Siberia? To tell you the truth, even the Russians from the western part of the country don't know exactly and call it Siberia.

Bear it in mind that the citizens of the Ural Mountains are very much upset when somebody calls them Siberyaki (people of Siberia) because they are Uraltzy. However they will forgive you for not knowing the proper terms (though they will not forgive the ignorant Russians!)

Just remember this simple fact: the Ural Mountains is a natural boderline between European Russia and Siberia, in other words between Europe and Asia. While the Ural region is neither Europe nor Asia. It's just Ural. The ancient Finno-Ugric tribes gave it this name which means a rock. So in  the old times the Russians called the western part Moskovia and everything 'over the rocks' was and still is Siberia. 

Are there any differences between the citizens of Ural and other Russian? Not at all. They all look very Russian and speak Russian. It's just the feeling of identity that all Uraltzy have even though most of them came to Ural from all possible parts of the USSR: Kazakhstan, Tatarstan, Volga Region, Russian Far East or from Belarus like my family! 

I've been living in the Middle Urals for 30 years and travelling around Russia I see it clearly - this relatively small region (small compared to Russian sizes as it's actually the size of Germany) is neither Moskovia nor Siberia. It's just Ural and I'm happy to be Uralochka (a girl from the Urals)