Imperial Era (1723-1917)
Vasily Tatishchev and Russian engineer
Georg Wilhelm de Gennin founded Yekaterinburg in 1723 and named it after the wife of
Peter the Great, Yekaterina, who later became empress regnant
 The official date of the city's foundation is November 18, 1723.
 It was granted town status in 1796.
The city was one of Russia's first industrial cities, prompted at the start of the eighteenth century by decrees from the Tsar requiring the development in Yekaterinburg of metal-working businesses. The city was built, with extensive use of iron, to a regular square plan with iron works and residential buildings at the center. These were surrounded by fortified walls, so that Yekaterinburg was at the same time both a manufacturing center and a fortress at the frontier between Europe and Asia.Catherine the Great, nominated the city as the administrative center for the wider region.
It therefore found itself at the heart of Russia's strategy for further development of the entire Ural region. The so-called Siberian highway became operational in 1763 and placed the city on an increasingly important transit route, which led to its development as a focus of trade and commerce between east and west, and gave rise to the description of the city as the "window on Asia". With the growth in trade and the city's administrative importance, the ironworks became less critical, and the more important buildings were increasingly built using expensive stone. Small manufacturing and trading businesses proliferated. In 1781 Russia's empress,
October Revolution, the family of deposed Tsar
Nicholas II were sent to internal exile in Yekaterinburg where they were imprisoned in the
Ipatiev House in the city.
In the early hours of the morning of July 17, 1918, the deposed Tsar, his wife
Alexandra, and their children Grand Duchesses
Anastasia, and Tsarevich
executed by the
Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev House. Other members of the
Romanov family were killed at
Alapayevsk later the same day. On July 16, 1918, the
Czechoslovak legions were closing on Yekaterinburg. The Bolsheviks executed the deposed imperial family, believing that the Czechoslovaks were on a mission to rescue them. The Legions arrived less than a week later and captured the city.
Soviet Era (1917-1991)
In 1924, after the
Russian Revolution, the city of Yekaterinburg was named Sverdlovsk after the
Communist party leader
Yakov Sverdlov. During the 1930s, Sverdlovsk was one of several places developed by the Soviet government as a center of heavy industry, during which time the famous
Uralmash was built. Then, during
World War II, many state technical institutions and whole factories were relocated to Sverdlovsk away from cities affected by war (mostly Moscow), with many of them staying in Sverdlovsk after the victory. The
Hermitage Museum collections were also partly evacuated from
Leningrad to Sverdlovsk in July 1941 and remained there until October 1945.
The lookalike five-story
apartment blocks that remain today in Kirovsky, Chkalovsky, and other
residential areas of Sverdlovsk sprang up in the 1960s, under the direction of
On May 1, 1960, an American
U-2 spy plane, piloted by
Francis Gary Powers while under the employ of the
CIA, was shot down over Sverdlovsk Oblast. He was captured, put on trial, found guilty of
espionage and sentenced to seven years of
hard labor. He served only about a year before being exchanged for
Rudolf Abel, a high-ranking
KGB spy, who had been apprehended in the United States in 1957.
In 1977, the Ipatiev House was demolished by order of
Boris Yeltsin, to prevent it from being used as a rallying location for monarchists. Yeltsin later became the first
President of Russia and represented the people at the funeral of the former Tsar in 1998.
There was an
anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk in April and May 1979, which was attributed to a release from the
Sverdlovsk-19 military facility.
Contemporary Era (1991-present)
1991 coup d'état attempt, Sverdlovsk, the home city of President
Boris Yeltsin, was selected by him as a temporary reserve capital for the
Russian Federation, in the event that Moscow became too dangerous for the Russian government. A reserve cabinet headed by
Oleg Lobov was sent to the city, where Yeltsin enjoyed strong popular support at that time.
 Shortly after the failure of the coup and subsequent
dissolution of the Soviet Union, the city regained its historical name of Yekaterinburg on September 4, 1991. However, Sverdlovsk Oblast, of which Yekaterinburg is the administrative center, kept its name.
2000s, an intensive growth of trade, business, and tourism began in Yekaterinburg. In 2003,
Vladimir Putin and
Gerhard Schroeder negotiated in Yekaterinburg. From June 15 to 17, 2009, the
BRIC summits were held in Yekaterinburg, which deeply affected the economic, cultural and tourist situation in the city. In July 13–16, 2010, a meeting between Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor
Angela Merkel took place in the city.