The second game of the FIFA World Cup 2018, Egypt vs Uruguay, sees the world turn its attention to the city of Ekaterinburg Russia. And, for those of you who were lucky enough to nab yourself some tickets, you’ll be gearing up for an afternoon of scintillating football. But, what are you going to do before and after the match? You see that’s the great thing about not just the FIFA World Cup 2018, but any world cup really, getting to explore little-known cities you would perhaps never have considered visiting. So to help you get the most out of your trip, here’s a quick guide to the city.
Named after Peter the Great’s wife, Yekaterina, Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia. Its strategic location just east of the Ural mountains on the Iset River saw it referred to as the “Widow to the East.” Now, Ekaterinburg is one of Russia’s most visited cities. And, for a good reason too. The city boasts a vibrant restaurant scene, fantastic architecture, a fascinating and storied past, a slew of museums and the world’s shortest metro line.
Church Upon the Blood
If you’ve only got time to see one thing before you make your way to the Egypt vs Uruguay game make sure to visit this massive Byzantine-style Church. It is built on the site of the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife and children. Now, the Church commemorates the family who have since been recognized as Saints.
Military Technology Museum
Located on the outskirts of Ekaterinburg, the Military Technology Museum is one of the largest military museums in the world. It’s sprawling grounds, both indoor and outdoor, house over 350 military vehicles. You can see tanks, helicopters, planes and even submarines. And, that’s not all, there are also a whole host of exhibitions that showcase military artifacts, historical vehicles dating back to WWII and weapons.
As with all places that sit at cultural crossroads, the food is delicious. Ekaterinburg is no exception as East meets West, fusing spices and flavors together and transforming them into unforgettable dishes. For traditional, hearty Uzbek dishes check out Nigori. Here, you can suck down bowls of Lagman, and eat your way through vegetable stuffed dolma and tasty pilafs. Vietmon serves up fantastic dishes specific to North Vietnam. You can dine out on spring rolls, fried noodles, and delicious pho soup. The interior is basic, but the food worth the trip. Pashtet reinvents Russian classics and boasts an extensive menu. And, at Pelmeni club you can enjoy various, tasty pelmeni (dumplings) - the region is famous for them - as well as learn to make your own.
The Great Outdoors
Ekaterinburg also boasts access to some beautiful countryside. So, if you’re looking for an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of city life and the World Cup, then make for Olenyi Ruchyi park. It’s a 90-minute drive from the city center, but there are some great hiking trails through birch forests. And, you can raft down the river that cuts through it. For those with a bit more time on their hands, consider heading up into the Ural Mountains. Here, you can hike, horse ride and cycle until your heart’s content.