Ekaterinburg Russia. Ekaterinburg History. Part 3
History of Ekaterinburg, Russia. Part 3. Architecture
At the beginning, Ekaterinburg of Russia, like other cities of plant-fortress type of that time, had regular planning. It was surrounded by wooden-earth fortifying constructions and, during the 18th century, it remained to be a wooden settlement. However, with the time, settlers began erecting stone buildings. There were 13 stone buildings already by the end of the century. At that time the population of Ekaterinburg was estimated at nine thousand people.
The first stone building of Ekaterinburg was the building of the Mining Government. It was built in 1739 and had two floors. The 3-d floor was built in 1833-1835 years. Now the Ural State Conservatory is situated at this place, a lot of outstanding musicians graduated from this conservatory.
Another building remained since those times. In 1749 the Mining Hospital was erected on the left bank of the Iset River not far from the Dam. Now Museum of Fine Arts is located there. Meanwhile, the most imposing construction of the middle of 18th century was the Saint Ekaterina’s Cathedral. The cathedral was built in Russian baroque style, it had a three-circle bell tower, 55,5 meters high, and a nine-circle gilded iconostas. The bell tower’s top was decorated with the tower clock and all city inhabitants used the bell tower clock to set their watches and clocks to the correct time. The cathedral was pulled down in the 20th c., in 1930-s. Now there is Square of Labor with the fountain "Stone Flower" in the center of the square.
In the 18th -19th centuries classic style prevailed in the architecture of the city. A number of amazing constructions were built in classics style. Probably, the most outstanding classic style building was Rastorguev-Kharitonov Estate, it is situated on the northern side of Voznesenskij hill (Ascension hill). The estate's building began in 1794 and finished in the beginning of the 19th century. Picturesque park successfully supplements perfect architectural ensemble. Designers created an artificial lake with rotunda in the center of it, there were built vivid pergolas and a grotto with artificial mounds nearby. There is a number of other buildings constructed in classic style, like the houses of main chief and main forestry officer, Malahov's country cottage, drugstore of mining department and the house of merchant Oshurkov.
In the middle of the 19th century the gold-rush seized Ekaterinburg. Scores of Ekaterinburg merchants and manufacturers enriched due to Siberian gold. Merchants Rastorguev, Zotov, Kazancev and Balandin were the richest Ural merchants. Owing to fabulous riches the town of Ekaterinburg began growing and developing. New churches and cathedrals were built. Merchant Rjazanov financed construction of the first theatre of Ekaterinburg. Merchants built a lot of mansions and estates, which made the city even more beautiful.
During the 19th century the face of the town visibly changed. Its territory was enlarged; city planning became more accurate, main streets, avenues and squares were arranged. Stone buildings were erected in the center of Ekaterinburg, they attracted attention, especially in comparison with small wooden houses. Many buildings, marvelous examples of civil and industry architecture appeared during this period. New buildings appeared mostly in south and east parts of the city.
In the second half of the 19th -beginning of the 20th centuries a number of interesting constructions were erected in Ekaterinburg. They reflected changeable tastes of the epoch. New Ekaterinburg buildings were built in various styles from pseudo Russian architecture to modern and classic. Such industrial buildings like Borchaniniov’s mill and the railway station are worth mentioning.
As for constructions of public purpose, the building of the district exchequer and the City Theatre must be mentioned. Today the City Theatre is known as the State Academic Opera and Ballet House. It was built in 1911-1912 years and according to the words of contemporaries "it was the best one in Asian Russia". The building of Business Club is unique too and there is nothing of this kind in the Urals. The building had wonderful acoustics, and thus it was handed over to Sverdlovsk State Philharmonics in 1936. A number of merchant mansions were built. Among them was a mansion, which belonged to a merchant Borchaninov. It reflected tastes of Ekaterinburg industrialists of that epoch. But the most impressive and outstanding mansion was the country estate, belonging to a merchant Zheleznov. It was erected at the end of the 19th century. Now the former estate houses the Institute of History and Archaeology, it belongs to the Ural department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the leading academic establishment of the Ural region in the field of liberal researches.