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Yekaterinburg: Places to Go Online

There are many reasons why you’d need to pop into an Internet cafe. You may have no laptop, or your mobile Internet has run out, and you suddenly have to check emails or send a file. Below are the places in Yekaterinburg, the capital of the Urals Region in Russia, where you can use the Internet on any device, for free or not. Information is true as of September 2011.

When you have no laptop

If you don’t have a laptop, your first choice is the main Post Office in 39, Prospect of Lenin. In addition to a full range of postal services, they also provide you with the Internet. In a room planted with around 15 PCs you can go online without the need to log in.
How much it costs: 2.5RUB per 1Mb. (We paid 75RUB).
How to get there: get into Prospect of Lenin first, and then follow the houses along the odd side of the street to no. 39. Next to it the Wallen Dutch Pub.
Working hours: 24/7.

Your other choice is an Internet Cafe. The beauty thereof is that this option not only provides you with a PC, but also with food and drinks, should you need either. A Kiber-Sport computer club in 40, Pervomaiskaya St is conveniently located within the easy reach from the main “cultural” arteries of Yekaterinburg: Prospect of Lenin, Karl Liebknecht St, and Tolmachyov St. The place serves business lunches at 99RUB, and is open 24/7. They also provide a range of services, including photocopying, scanning, printing, and laminating.

Another place of a similar kind is Block Post computer club in 141, Malyshev St. There is a bar attached, plus you can order pizza at 300RUB per 1 kilo. The club is equipped with 50 PCs with 19-20″ screens, 9600gt video system and Intel E8200/Q8400 processors.
How much it costs: Block Post offers different packages, suitable for all needs. You can also pay on an hourly basis. The price depends on the day of the week and the time of day. Monday to Friday: 8am-10pm – 25RUB/hour, 10pm-8am – 80RUB/hour. Saturday to Sunday: 8am-10pm – 30RUB/hour, 10pm-8am – 120RUB/hour.
How to get there: For Kiber-Sport, walk to the Ural State University in Prospect of Lenin, turn into Turgenev St and walk down to Pervomaiskaya St that runs just parallel to Prospect of Lenin. Turn right and follow the even side of the street to no. 40. For Block Post, follow Malyshev St to where it is crossed by Studencheskaya St. The following buses can take you there: 13k, 25, 27, 36, 40, 60, 60a, 61.

Working hours: 24/7.

When you have a laptop

Wi-Fi hot-spots are scattered all over Yekaterinburg; you can browse the web near the city pond or in a quaint town district. McDonald’s and such like obviously offer the Internet, but you can surf in style, say, at a bookstore. In Chitai-Gorod chain of bookstores they offer free Wi-Fi, provided you have a laptop.
How much it costs: free.
How to get there: since most likely you will be wandering in the city centre, your best option is a Chitai-Gorod bookstore in 49, Prospect of Lenin. It is only a few houses up the road from the main Post Office mentioned above.

Yekaterinburg: Bells Ringing on Cathedral on the Blood

The Russian tradition of bell ringing is rich and famous worldwide; however, it is not always that you get to listen to the melody, let alone stop and contemplate it.The video in the post was filmed in Yekaterinburg during my visit; I had to stabilise the image a bit, and as a result, the picture has acquired a sort of “breathing”. It is a single shot, of course. As you mau know, the Cathedral was erected on the site of the demolished Ipatyev House where the imperial family was shot in 1918.

Horsing and Carting It in the Urals

Climbing a windmill
Driving a cart

Back in 2010, when I moved 3 times in two months, I had to pack and unpack and carry so many things that this experience still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. My sense of humour has always come to my rescue, so when last September, while visiting an open air museum in Yekaterinburg’s vicinity, I saw this cart that stood by a windmill I knew what to do. As Ringo Starr would sing, “all I had to do was act naturally”.

Riding a cart
Holy water well
A piglet in the rye

Shortly before that, after visiting several wooden houses, I was so tired that I literally dropped into another cart’s seat. As you can tell by my face, it was a moment of sheer bliss.

The windmill you see me climbing is one of the historic mills built without a single nail. The open air museum has been lovingly created by a local historian and his wife from 1960s onwards. It contains several wooden houses that showcase the attributes of everyday life in the Urals, a church, a windmill, a prison, and a fire station.

In 2010 I got to walk for a bit and to touch the wheat ears in Essex; almost exactly a year later, in 2011 I was gleefully rolling in the rye fields in the Urals. “The piglet in the rye” is a toy I brought to a friend’s daughter.

And after visiting the open air museum in Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha I was taken to a monastery in Verkhnyaya Sinyachikha, where in 1918 in a shaft died the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna and several Great Princes from the Romanovs family. We tried the monastic apples, very sweet, and then we went to the holy water well. I drew a full bucket, which apparently means that I shall be a good bride to my fiance, when it comes to that.

A geographer I came to know last year told me that I should like the Southern Urals because the region resembles Wales. As for me, I crave to visit the Hermitage in St. Petersburg…

The Star Wars Factor Inspires Brothels and Weddings

Steve Woods reports at Technorati about Princess Leia Freaks: SciFi Themed Brothel to Open in Vegas. Apparently, Dennis Hof, a Nevada businessman who has already made his name as the creator of several brothels, is teaming up with the former madame Heidi Fleiss to bring to life the ultimate geek fantasy.

Chubakka, Master Yoda, and Darth Vader Attend a Wedding in Yekaterinburg

As we know, “there was no sex in the USSR”, so the inexplicable sex appeal of George Lucas’s series has so far only left its mark on the way Russian weddings are celebrated. In Yekaterinburg, the couple and most guests got dressed in Star Wars costumes (see the photo). The only person who refused to take part was the grandfather who claimed to be too old for this sort of fun.

A Moment of 2011: Work

When I look back at 2011 I remember it as an absolutely amazing year. This year was marked by the following:

  • publications of my poetry and prose in Russian national press;
  • participation in a conference in Ivanovo, dedicated to the problems that post-Socialist cities face in modern times (a kind of urban reconversion, if you like); I spoke about Manchester;
  • six big conferences and events where I went as a journalist, e.g. Moscow Design Week 2011 and Moscow Tourism Week;
  • a trip to Yekaterinburg, when I also spent 25 hrs on the train each way;
  • publications at various authoritative web portals;
  • yet another photo inclusion (and that’s not Schmap!);
  • translation of two books into Russian;
  • very many translation and editorial engagements;
  • participation in a fascinating project, Bloggers Portraits;
  • big bossy time (as the editor-in-chief)…

I probably forgot to mention some projects, but even so I’m delighted to be finishing 2011 pleasantly tired. As they say, doing nothing is the hardest thing in the world, and nobody ever died from work. The full body massage I finally had two days after my birthday in December was very well-deserved, put it this way.

The good news is that even with this amount of work I managed to continue with Los Cuadernos de Julia; not only that, the amount of posts is mind-blowing even to me: 466, and it’ll be over 470 by January 1st.

And even better news is that I previously mentioned some technical support that I needed in the guise of gadgets, and last weekend I got everything I wanted. How good is that?

So, on Christmas Eve when I’m writing this I say a huge ‘thankyou’ to my Guide and Protector.

A Moment of 2011: The Blazing Setting Sun at the Border of Europe and Asia

Sunset over Europe-Asia border


Champagne fence
Trees of wishes
Urals pine trees
Walk into sunset

Since 2006, 2011 has been the most positive and wonderful year. The moments I pictured may not have always been the most uplifting, but they nonetheless bring back good memories. I want to share them with you in these last 11 days of the passing year, and we start with the sunset in Yekaterinburg. The picture was taken at the small park “on the border of Europe and Asia”. The park hosts wedding parties, therefore here’re trees of wishes, “the Gates of Love”, and a fence made of champagne bottles. I was lucky to have been taken there at the sunset. The warm September evening saw us, three girls, enjoying ourselves that included posing in front of the Europe-Asia obelisk you see here in the photo. This was the last day of my visit to the capital of the Urals Region, and I doubt it could be better.

The Clash of Times in Post-Soviet Cities

Yekaterinburg: Komsomol and Cathedral

One of my vivid recollections of the visit to Yekaterinburg is the fact that many of its streets have not been renamed. As a result, the Cathedral on the Blood on the spot of Ipatyev House where the imperial family had been shot stands at the junction of Tolmachyov St and Karl Liebknecht St. Not far from there runs Rosa Luxemburg St, and there are plenty of streets and squares still carrying the names of October Revolution, the First Five-year Plan, and various professions and recreations, from Weavers to Mountaneers.

Similar situation stands true in other Russian cities. In Ivanovo, not only have the monuments to Lenin been preserved, and the streets still carry the names of Lenin and Stalin, there also stand monuments to other revolutionaries. The wave of renaming the streets and knocking down the statues only seriously affected Moscow and St. Petersburg. The other cities and towns get by without many changes, and the newly built cathedral stands face to face with the monument to the Komsomol of the Urals.

Yekaterinburg Posters: When a Picture Says a Thousand Words…

Coming to a new city, you (I) somehow manage to notice just about anything, most of which a lot of citizens would ignore. And even though a lot of you, dear readers, sit abroad and don’t read in Russian, fear not: you will be able to understand everything about the posters I am about to share with you.

1. This is an advertising poster for the concert of Butyrka band. Do you think those guys look like they’ve been through a lot together? You’re right: “Butyrka” is a short name for one of Moscow prisons. The concert offers “the best in 10 years” and “only for friends”. You can tell the guys mean business…. show business, that is.

2. Since when have the antique statues begun to hide behind the modern faces? Since when have the guys begun to wear antique bodies instead of their own? Apparently, it’s what women want on a Ladies’ Night. No comments.

3. Ah, look at that! I never thought this famous Russian stand-up comedien looked like the most repulsive person on Earth. I’m sure neither did Mikhail Zadornov know this.

4. I remember reading an interview with the actor I mention here and there on this blog, and the journalist asked him: “Now, you say that you’re not a vegetarian, but animals are in pain when we use them for food” “So what?” the actor replied. “Fish are in pain, too“. The poor fish may be in pain, of course, but in his native city people are really concerned about little rabbits and such like. The poster reads: “Vegetarianism. Because I love animals”.

5. The art of love is nowadays taught at the private sessions, and surely, there is no better person to teach you “what men should not know” than a Geisha. The poster hangs across the road from the Circus.

6. “A Master today – a Minister tomorrow” reads the slogan of the Ural State Economic University. Which reminded me of a scene in The Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov: “Money in the morning – chairs in the evening. Money in the evening – chairs in the morning”. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

7. Finally… “Your child spends HOURS in front of the PC? Maybe he is a future HACKER?” If so, then a computer school is there just for you and your kid.

Yekaterinburg Arboretum: Chapel, Fountains, and Roses

My visit to Yekaterinburg was partly for work, and one of my tasks was to explore the public gardens in the city. Granted there were not too many of them, I still managed to identify a few places where one could go and enjoy the Nature, a bit of fresh air, and perhaps, some solitude.

Speaking of solitude, arguably there is no better place to enjoy it than in Yekaterinburg Arboretum. It is located at Geologicheskaya metro station, across the road from the Circus. The alley you can see in the photo oozes Surrealism (the way I see it at least). On the arboretum grounds stands the chapel of St. Alexander Nevsky, erected in 1881 and restored in 1993. It is very small but lovely inside.

Walking away from the chapel along different alleys you come to the fountain. It looks classical, especially when seen from the side, with sumptuous flowerbeds preparing the view. And just a few steps away is a beautiful rosary where I took immense pleasure photographing flowers. I give them all to you.

A Manchester of the Urals: Yekaterinburg and Cows

A Movable Feast
Manchester Hindu Cow, 2007
Yekaterinburg Cow, 2011

One of my early years in Manchester was marked by facing the cows. Painted creatures were awaiting me everywhere – pretty much like the penguins did in Liverpool in 2009. Little did I think that cows would be just as popular in Yekaterinburg – the capital of the Urals region that is incidentally nicknamed “Manchester” for its industrial past, rock music, and irreverence to glamour and standards.

Cow “under construction”
Yekaterinburg Cow

Sadly, the very first cow I met in Yekaterinburg was undergoing a little bit of overhauling; but another marked time by the Ratskeller beer restaurant. There are quite a few pubs in Yekaterinburg (yes, PUBs), some Irish, some Scottish, and one is Dutch, called Wallen Pub. I went into the latter on what was the hottest day during my time in the Ural (considering I was overdressed, too!) and had a pint of Irish ale. Which was good, actually.


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