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Arkhangelsk was Russia's principal port until the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703

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Yekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg), formerly known as Sverdlovsk, city (1993 pop. 1,358,000), capital of the Sverdlovsk region and the administrative centre of the Ural district, Eastern European Russia, in the eastern foothills of the central Urals, on the Iset River.

Yekaterinburg is one of the largest cities of the Urals, an air and rail junction (a western terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway) and a leading industrial, scientific, and cultural centre.

Yekaterinburg is among Russia's leading producers of turbines and ball bearings. Other industries include metallurgy, gem cutting, and the manufacture of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and tires.

The city's educational and cultural institutions include the Urals branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, several mining schools, and a meteorological observatory.

Yekaterinburg began as a fort and metallurgical factory built in 1721 on the site of an earlier settlement.

In 1723 the city was named Yekaterinburg in honour of Peter I's wife, who became Empress Catherine I.

The first ironworks were established in 1726, and the city developed steadily as an administrative centre for the mining towns of the Urals and Siberia. Its importance was enhanced by the building of the Great Siberian Highway through the city in 1783, but even more so by the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the 19th century.

Tsar Nicholas II and his family were imprisoned and shot by the Bolsheviks at Yekaterinburg in 1918.

The city was renamed in 1924 for the Communist leader Y. M. Sverdlov.

The transfer of much Soviet industry from European USSR to the less vulnerable Urals during World War II further stimulated the growth of the city.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the name of Yekaterinburg was restored to the city.

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