The Urals, Bordrline Between Europe and Asia

 (Perm / Solikamsk /Ekaterinburg / Verkhoturie / Nizhnyaya Sinichikha / Neviansk / Tobolsk / Tyumen /Ekaterinburg )

12 Days / 11 .Nights





The Ural mountains, separating Europe from Asia are known from the ancient time. Pliny the Elder, the Roman writer and scientist, thought that the Urals correspond to the Riphean Mountains mentioned by various authors. They are also known as the Great Stone Belt or simply as The Rock in Russian history and folklore. The Urals run for 2,498 km (1,552 mi) from the Kazakh steppes to the coast of the Arctic ocean. The Urals are among the world\'s oldest extant mountain ranges. For its age of 250 to 300 million years, the elevation of the mountains is unusually high.

Since the Russian conquest of Siberia the Urals have been the country's invaluable source of mineral resources, precious and semi-precious stones including large deposits of gold, platinum, coal, iron, nickel, silver, magnetite, chromite, chrysoberyl, quartz, zircon, topaz and beryl, among others. Some of the minerals like malachite are rarely found elsewhere. Such is the wealth of Ural region that it became the source of many folk tales and literary works. The most illustrious of these is a set of beautiful fairytales by Pavel Bazhov, used by famous composer Prokofiev in his Tale of the Stone Flower.

Some of the enterprising Russians made huge fortune out of the abundance of the Urals, most notably the Stroganovs - dynasty of highly successful Russian merchants, industrialists, landowners, and statesmen of the 16th - 20th centuries who's influence eventually earned them nobility. The resources of Urals where behind the success of the Romanov's imperial expansion and Russian industrial revolution of XIX century.

The wildlife of the region is abundant with various spices of flora and fauna, some very rare. The history of the Urals is closely connected to the history of the rest of Russia with many of its momentous events taking place in the region.

Perm - is a large city and the administrative center of Perm Krai, Russia. It is situated on the banks of the Kama River. With the population of about 1 million people, Perm is one of the largest urban centres of Greater Ural area and among top 15 cities of Russia. The history of the modern city of Perm starts with the development of the Ural region by Tsar Peter the Great. Vasily Tatishchev, appointed by the Tsar as a chief manager of Ural factories, founded Perm together with another major center of the Ural region, Yekaterinburg. In the XIX century, Perm became a major trade and industrial center with several metallurgy, paper, and steamboat producing factories, including one owned by a British entrepreneur. In 1870, an opera theatre was opened in the city, and in 1871 the first phosphoric factory in Russia was built. In 1916, Perm State University — a major educational institution in modern Russia — was opened.

Kungur - an old Russian town with historic architecture. Founded as a frontier fort, like many Ural and Siberian towns, it withstood a siege by rebel forces of Yemelyan Pugachev. By the end of the 18th century, Kungur is an important transit trade centre of the Siberian road, as well as the centre of leather manufacture in Perm province. Kungur rope and linseed oil were widely known. By the end of the 19th century it became a significant industrial (including manufacture of leather footwears, gloves, and mittens) and cultural centre.  Nowadays the town is famous for its Ice Cave. Ramified passages stretch under the ground for over 6,000 metres, and only a small part has already been explored. In the explored part of the cave there are several dozens of grottoes; the largest one, which is called the Druzhba (Friendship) Grotto. Over millennia, limestone bearing water has created an infinite variety of forms in the cave, like snowflakes which change in size during the year and reach the size of a maple leaf during late winter. 

Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg) – is the capital of the Ural region and one of the largest and most important cities in Russia. It is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District (one of the seven large geographical and administrative areas of the country). It was founded in 1723 and named after Saint Catherine, the namesake of Tsar Peter the Great\'s wife. From 18-19 centuries a number of historical buildings still visible. Ekateringburg is famous as the place where the family of the last Russia emperor was executed by the Bolsheviks as well as the home town of Boris Yeltsin.

Verkhoturye – this historic town was founded in 1598. It has been relatively untouched by industrialization and much of its historic appearance has been preserved. Being one of the oldest Russian settlements east of the Urals, and with forty churches in the area, Verkhoturye is considered one of the centers of Russian Christianity. Famous churches include the Trinity Church (1703—1712), Nikolay Monastery (established in 1604) with the Cathedral of Exaltation of the Holy Cross (1905—1913), and Transfiguration Church (1821). In addition, the town houses the oldest convent beyond Urals (established in 1621).

Neviansk – town most famous for its unique leaning tower built in the 18th century. Its construction was funded by Peter the Great’s associate and a famous Russian manufacturer Akinfiy Demidov. The height of the tower is 57.5 m2. It\'s believed that it was built between 1725 and 1732. The purpose of the tower is not clear. Some say that Demidov used it as a "bank safe", others believe it was either a watchtower, or a belltower, or a prison, or even a laboratory for conducting chemical experiments and producing counterfeit money. Some historians think that the tower was supposed to embody the might of the Demidov family and serve as some sort of an architectural symbol of their dynasty. In the construction the architects used some of the world\'s most advanced technologies available at that time.

Tobolsk – is the old historic capital of Siberia. It was founded by Cossacks of Yermak – the conqueror of Siberia, in 1585-1586 during the first Russian advance into Asia near the ruins of the Siberian Khanate\'s capital, Qashliq. It became the seat of the Viceroy of Siberia and prospered on trade with China and Bukhara. It was there that the first school, theatre, and newspaper in Siberia were established. Since the Trans-Siberian railway bypassed the city, it was relatively spared of the modern development and many historic buildings remain to this day. Tobolsk is the only town in Siberia and one of the few in Russia which has a standing stone kremlin, or elaborate city-fortress, built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. The principal monuments in the kremlin are the Cathedral of St. Sophia, a merchant courtyard and episcopal palace (now it is a museum of local lore). Apart of that the city has a number of remarkable baroque and Neoclassical churches from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Tyumen was the first Russian outpost in Siberia; it was founded in 16th century to support Russian expansion to Siberia. Since its foundation, Tyumen has always been an important settlement. Located at the crossing of water and land routes, the town rapidly developed from a small military settlement to a large commercial and industrial city. The city core, the Old Tyumen, retains many historic buildings illustrating the city\'s development during the 18th-20th centuries. Today Tyumen is one of the most important business centres of Russia, and is of importance in the nation's in politics, education and culture. In spite of all the modern development Tyumen's historic centre has a large number of old brick and lumber historical merchant houses. It is sometimes called the capital of the villages for the number of the countryside style log one and two stored houses.

The program of the tour:


Arrival in Perm (around 21:00), transfer to the hotel ‘The Urals’; check-in, dinner.

Day 2

Buffet breakfast, general sightseeing tour of Perm, trip to Solikamsk, (Tcherdyn via Ussolsk), to the land that was a private domain of the Stroganov dynasty of the Russian manufacturers; lunch, visiting historical mansions of the Russian nobility; return to Perm, dinner at the hotel, overnight.


Day 3

Breakfast, trip to Ekaterinburg via Kungur, the vast spaces conquered for Russia by Yermak in the 17th century; visit the ice cave in Kungur with 20 grottos and subterranean lakes. The trip from Perm to Kungur takes 1,5 hour; tours in Kungur take 4 hours; it takes 5 hours from Kungur to Ekaterinburg; arrival in Ekaterinburg, check-in at the hotel “Isset”, dinner.


Day 4

Breakfast, general sightseeing tour of Ekaterinburg, lunch, afternoon excursion to the Russian Golgotha: visits to the Temple Built On The Blood, and to the Ganina Yama (pit) where The Tsar family was buried after the massacre; continue the sightseeing tour of the city; dinner at the hotel.


Day 5

Breakfast, one day trip to Verkhoturie (about 300 km, 5 hours), the Christian Orthodox capital of the Urals; visits to the first Russian Friery built in 1604, the Trinity Cathedral (under UNESCO protection), and the kremlin (citadel)– all dating back to the beginning of the 17th century; lunch in Verkhoturie; dinner at the hotel on return to Ekaterinburg.


Day 6

Breakfast, trip to Nizhnyaya Sinichikha (100 km), the site closely associated with the Grand Princes of the Russian royal Families, visit the Museum of the Local Lore, the Museum in the open air to see the wooden houses of the salt founders dating from 17th to 19th centuries, the collection of the church bells, and paintings done by the Urals artists; lunch; return to Ekaterinburg, dinner and overnight at the hotel.


Day 7

Breakfast, trip to Neviansk (about 2 hours drive), visit to the famous Nevian Leaning Tower with an incident of 2 meters; continue excursion to Tavolga village to see pottery workshops with master class; lunch in Neviansk; trip to the borderline between Europe and Asia; transfer to the rail station to board a night train to Tobolsk (packed dinner in the train).


Day 8

Arrival at Tobolsk (around 08:00 a.m. local time), general sightseeing tour of Tobolsk, a Siberian town situated on the banks of the deep water Irtysh River, on the way to the hotel “Slavyanskaya”; check-in,


Buffet breakfast (extra), time at leisure, lunch, continue the sightseeing tour of Tobolsk, visits to the Kremlin and the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the study room of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II; the ‘heaped’ cemetery and the graves of the Decembrists, the Museum of the Religions of the Peoples of Siberia, the bone carving workshop, Minsalim – a castle-prison of the 19th century; dinner and overnight at the hotel.


Breakfast, check-out, trip to Tyumen (about 80 km from Tobolsk); excursion to the museum-house of Gregory Rasputin in the Pokrovskoye village where he was born; the Museum of Oil and Gas in Tyumen; check-in at the hotel “Verkhny Bor” (Upper Pinewood) that is situated near the hot springs (about 45 degrees C); leisure time, bathing in the springs; lunch and dinner at the hotel.


Breakfast, check-out, departure from Tyumen to Ekaterinburg; on the way visit to one of the best Russian sanatoria “Obukhovsky”, with the winter garden, pheasants, and mineral springs; lunch; visit to the Porcelain Factory, and the shop on its grounds; arrival to Ekaterinburg, check-in at the hotel “Isset”, dinner and overnight at the hotel.


Breakfast, check-out, transfer to the airport, departure.

The price of the tour is quoted by request.