The Urals – a unique geographical region, which forms the border of two continents – Europe and Asia. (Russian: Ура́л oo-RAHL) is a common geographical name of the area of Russia around the Ural Mountains. It is a vast territory which includes major cities like Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, as well as parts of the polar areas. The Ural mountains are among the oldest mountains on Earth and are generally not very high, more often looking like large hills, though there are some taller ones, too. Travellers to Urals should not miss Yekaterinburg; usually it is a starting point of any trip to the Urals.
At the heart of the region – the Ural mountain range. Ural Mountains stretched more than 2,500 kilometers – from the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean to the deserts of Kazakhstan. On this border are installed several dozen of monuments and memorials.
Geographers have divided the Urals into five geographical areas: Polar, PrePolar, Northern, Middle and Southern Urals. The highest mountains are in the PrePolar Urals. Here is the highest mountain of the Urals – Mountain Narodnaya . But these northern regions of the Urals are most hard tracked and undiscovered. On the contrary, the lowest mountains are located in the Middle Urals and they are inversely the most densely populated and developed.
The Urals include such administrative territory in Russia as: Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Kurgan region, Perm, Bashkortostan, as well as the eastern part of the republic of Komi, Arkhangelsk region and the western part of the Tyumen region. In Kazakhstan, the Ural Mountains evident in the Aktobe and Kostanay Region.
Except for the polar and northern sections, the mountains are forested, and lumbering is an important industry. Urals has famous Virgin Komi Forests, which were included to the World Heritage List.
The great mineral resources of Russia are in the Urals. Iron ore is mined in the south, and there are rich deposits of coal, copper, manganese, gold, aluminium and potash. Oil fields and refineries along the Kama and Belaya rivers in the West Urals produce oil. Emeralds, chrysoberyl, topaz and amethyst are mined, as are deposits of bauxite, asbestos, zinc, lead, silver, platinum, nickel, chrome and tungsten. Also became famous all over the world the Ural malachite. The Urals industrial area (c.290,000 sq mi/751,100 sq km), a major Russia metallurgical region, is in the central and South Urals and the adjacent lowlands. Huge industrial centers are found at Yekaterinburg, Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk, Perm, Berezniki, Nizhni Tagil, Orsk, Orenburg, Ufa, Miass and Zlatoust.
West and east foothills of Urals and neighbor plains often have deep river valleys. Urals has a lot of rivers and lakes. Several hundreds of ponds and water storage basins are created on rivers. The composition of mountains, forests, rivers and lakes makes Urals one of the most beautiful regions in Russia. It is famous for its beauty. Here you can see the beautiful mountains, swim in clear lakes, rafting, visit the caves and see interesting historical and architectural monuments …
The easiest and fastest way to get to Urals is by plane. All major cities have airports with few direct international flights. The biggest airport in the Urals is Koltsovo (Yekaterinburg), it has flights from such cities as Munich, Prague, Beijing, Frankfurt, Prague, Tel-Aviv, Istanbul, Wien, Dubai and Helsinki. You can also use trains or intercity buses to get to cities of Urals from Moscow or St. Petersburg.
Interestingly, the term “Ural” did not exist until the XVIII century. The appearance of this name we must Vasily Tatishchev. And up to this point, only Russia and Siberia exist in the minds of the country’s inhabitants. Ural then were attributed to Siberia.
Whence originated the place-name “Ural”? On this account, there are several versions, but the most probable, that the word “Ural” comes from the Bashkir language. Of all lived in this territory only in Bashkir peoples since ancient times were in vogue word “Ural” (“belt”). Moreover, at the Bashkirs even exist legends, in which there is “Ural”. For example, the epic “Ural-Batyr”, which tells about the progenitor of the people of the Urals. “Ural-Batyr” incorporates the ancient mythology that existed many years ago. It presents a wide range of ancient beliefs, rooted in the bowels of the primitive communal system.
The modern history of the Urals starts with a hike of Ermak squads, when started to conquer Siberia. However, this does not mean that before the arrival of the Russians, the Ural Mountains doesn’t have nothing interesting in itself. Here. in ancient times lived people, that has its own distinct culture. Archaeologists have found in the Urals thousands of ancient settlements.
Since the beginning of the colonisation here lived Mansi, but were forced to leave their native places, going further and further into the forest. At present, it is almost an extinct people, who will soon cease to exist.
Bashkirs also were forced to retreat from their lands in the southern Urals.
It is not surprising that from time to time flashed Bashkir revolts. Bashkirs flown on Russian settlements, burned them to ashes. It was a bitter payment of humiliation they experienced.
Russian is the official language, so wherever you go in Urals, you’ll find someone who speaks it. English is becoming a requirement in the business world, and younger people especially will often know enough to communicate, but by no means is English universally understood and spoken. In upscale hotels almost the entire staff has a working knowledge of foreign languages (including English).
It’s hard to learn the language in a short time; concentrate on learning some key “courtesy” phrases, and the Cyrillic alphabet (e.g. “ресторан” spells “restaurant”) so you have a chance to recognize street names, labels and public signs.
The most significant cities in the Ural region are Yekaterinburg and Ufa. Other major cities that have a population of over one million people include Chelyabinsk.
Several small cities also can be interested for visitors:
- Kungur with its famous ice cave
- Nevyansk with falling tower
- Verkhoturye — the orthodox center of Urals
- Arkaim — ancient Slavic city-observatory
- Tobolsk — historical capital of Siberia
- Taganai – beautiful mountains
- Chusovaya – the most beautiful river of Urals
- Zyuratkul – National park Zyuratkul is located in the Western part of the Chelyabinsk Region. The park was established is 1993. On the territory of Zyuratkul there are several mountains and ranges, which affect is its beauty. Lake Zyuratkul is the only lake in the Urals that is located at around 724 meters above sea level. Because of its beauty and location in the valley of the mountains, it is different from all other lakes in our area. Flora and fauna of the National Park is diverse. In the Park there are quite rare plants, the majority of them is in the Red Book. There are more than seventy items. Also the Park is inhabited with about 40 species, the largest of which is a bear and a moose. In the Park there are nearly 150 different species of birds. About 20 species of fish live in the rivers and ponds of the Park. Here you can catch bream and perch, pike and roach. Among the Park rarities are Golden eagle, otter and 7 species of insects listed in the Red Book of Russia. Among them are the rare for the Urals species of ground beetles. If you want to have a good time in the fresh air, climb into the mountains, to see the inhabitants of the Park, you should come to Zyuratkul.
The major forms of transportation between cities in the Ural region include train, bus, electric train, and airplane.
For inner-city travel, most cities offer a combination of these services: bus, trolleybus, and tramvai.
In any Russian city, however, you can find a taxi with great ease. Simply stand on the side of the road, and hold your hand out at waist level. Within a minute or two, someone will stop to ask you where you’re going. In the Urals, short trips generally cost between 100 – 150 rubles (3-5 €), while longer, cross-town trips may cost over 150 rubles (over 5 €). Always be wary, however, when flagging down a taxi in Russia. It is not recommended to get into a car with two or more males or with suspicious-looking individuals. You shouldn’t expect to run into problems, but it’s always better to play it safe in Russia.
Urals offers great possibilities for rest and travels, below is an incomplete list of what to see in Urals:
- Europe-Asia Border located near Yekaterinburg
- The Ural Mountains
- Virgin Komi Forests — natural world heritage located in Perm Krai
- Cities of Urals: Yekaterinburg – an administrative center of Urals Federal Distinct; Perm – the city situated on the great russian river Kama; Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and others.
- Tyumen hot springs
- Tobolsk Kremlin
- Kungur ice cave
- Neviansk falling tower
- Verkhoturye – the orthodox center of Urals
- Arkaim – ancient Slavic city-observatory
- Natural parks and reserves
- Places of mining of gold, gems and minerals (such as Berezovsky Gold Mine, located near Yekaterinburg)
- Outdoor museum of wooden architecture in Sinyachiha (not far from Yekaterinburg)
This list is incomplete because actually it depends on your interests and wishes what to see or to do.
Urals is a heaven for fans of active rest, you can try the following:
- skiing or climbing in the Ural Mountains
- Russian baths,
- Russian sledge,
- indoor entertainment (clubs, restaurants, museums, theatres, exhibitions)
- taste traditional Urals cooking and see folk performances
The Urals region is famous for its pelmeni, small dumplings usually stuffed with beef and eaten in large quantities topped with butter, vinegar, sour cream, or a combination of the three.
You can also try traditional russian food such as pancakes, borsch and different pies.
You can try Vodka, local soft drinks (Tarhun, Buratino, Baikal, etc.), kvas (sour-sweet non-alcoholic naturally carbonized drink made from fermented dark bread) and mors (traditional wild berry drink).
Where to stay
Ural Region has a very good choice of hotels – from small hotels to 3-4* institutions. If you wish, you can choose easily a decent housing closer to a downtown and the major transportation hubs or the historic central district, close to the Airport or the Railway Station.
Booking.com offers for booking more than 10 hotels in Uralsk. You will be able to choose the hotel, using a variety of filters: star-hotel, hotel type (hotel, apartment, villa, hostel, etc.), the cost of the hotel location, evaluation of people who have visited the hotel, the availability of Wi-Fi and much more. Go to the service of selecting and booking a hotel in Uralsk.
The hotels have all accommodations for traveling businessmen and idle holidaymakers. There are lot of hostels in the region, where Russian and foreign tourists may stay. Most of them delight with their original concept and affordable prices: from 250 RUB (~3.5€) per bed in a dormitory. If you prefer comfort – choose any of the three-star hotels with rooms at costs from 1300 RUB (~20€) per night. There are also some 4* star hotels: the average cost would be – 2500-3500 RUB (~40€)), as for the level of service.
Below You will be able to choose the hotel, using a variety of filters: star-hotel, hotel type (hotel, apartment, villa, hostel, etc.), the cost of the hotel location, evaluation of people who have visited the hotel, the availability of Wi-Fi and much more. Go to the service of selecting and booking a hotel in Ural Region.