Only in Chelyabinsk can you find a Cossack fortress, a migration centre, Tankograd, a city of steel-workers and hockey players, scientists and musicians all in one place. We recommend visiting these ten sights to truly gain a complete impression of the capital of the Southern Urals.
One of the symbols of Chelyabinsk is Kirovka, a pedestrian street that locals like to call Arbat. Located in the very heart of the city, near the Revolution Square, Kirovka is a popular spot for walking. Head over for a quick bite, listen to street musicians, and take pictures with the many sculptures.
If you haven’t taken a selfie with a woolly rhinoceros yet (or have you?), then be sure to visit the main local history museum in the region. The museum has over three hundred thousand items in its collection. A particular favourite at the museum is the archaeological collection based on the excavations of burial mounds and sites along the banks of the Ural rivers.
And, of course, this is the only place where you can get an up-close look at the meteor that fell into Lake Chebarkul on 15 February 2013. A large fragment of the meteor is preserved under a glass dome.
There's a good reason why the airport in Chelyabinsk is named after Igor Kurchatov. A native of the Southern Urals, this famous physicist was the director of the Soviet atomic project. There is a monument to Kurchatov at the end of the city's main street, Lenin Prospekt. The monument of the scientist stands between two 27-metre columns with half circles that symbolise a split atom. This is the go-to spot for young people in the city. Hipsters meet on a small platform near the monument and athletes go to ride bicycles and skateboards.
Southern Ural State University, the main university of the region, is located next to the monument to Kurchatov. Interestingly, the architect who designed the university originally intended the building to resemble Moscow State University. However, in Soviet times, the project had to be heavily modified and down-sized. The upper floors, the tower and the spire were only completed in the early 2000s, along with two copper sculptures on the roof of the building that represent Prometheus carrying the fire of knowledge and the goddess Nike holding the wreath of glory.
There is a monument to the (eternal) student at the entrance to the main building. Students believe that if you rub it in a certain place, your exams will be a piece of cake!
Not far from the university is the entrance to Yu.A. Gagarin Park. Residents of Chelyabinsk often compare it to Central Park in New York. There are amusement rides, bicycle lanes, a tennis court and numerous rental points for go-karting, catamarans, bicycles, skates, etc. There are plenty of narrow shaded paths for those hoping to get away from the crowded promenades.
The highlight of the park is the Children's Railway, which includes several stations across the park. The railway opens for visitors in May. The train drivers and inspectors on the trains are children.
The park hosts many of the major events in Chelyabinsk, such as the annual harvest festival (an exhibition of flowers and fruits) and Ural Pelmeni on Nikola Zimny food festival.
Not every city boasts a zoo. The Chelyabinsk Zoo was founded in 1996 — its first inhabitants came from a private collection. Now, there are over 470 animals of 136 species here. Among them, there are mammals, birds, and reptiles — including brown and white bears, tigers, cheetahs, various primates, mongooses, meerkats, and many other animals. This is a genuine museum of living nature — the city's residents love spending time here with their children.
The Zoo's staff often give demonstration feedings or 'touching' lectures, where you can get to know the animals up close.
The Miass River embankment has changed significantly over recent years. It's the perfect spot for a pleasant walk or relaxation on one of the nearby benches. Check out the Rock Garden at the local history museum. Samples of Southern Ural rocks are exhibited out in the open air, each weighing several tonnes. A little further is the Rodina organ hall, as well as a circus building not far from the hall.
This main city square has a spacious park, a musical fountain and a statue of Lenin. Friends use this spot as meeting point, families usually go for walks here, and the city’s top events are held on the square. For the New Year's celebrations, a fir-tree and a skating rink are constructed on the square.
This flight simulator based on the real cockpit of the Tupolev-154 aircraft is the only one of its kind in Russia.
Visitors at the centre will learn plenty of new things, including how many minutes an oxygen mask can actually last, how pilots fly aircraft in fog, how the first-class compartment differs from the current business class... And of course, they will get the chance to sit at the controls of a huge aircraft, take off, retract the landing gear and admire the night-time lights of the cities below.
Pre-registration is required, though. A lot of people are interested in becoming a pilot.
This is the newest museum in Chelyabinsk. Although it is difficult to call it a museum, this amazing facility is full of interactive exhibits. For example, visitors can sit in the driver's cabin of a Lastochka train. The interactive simulator takes visitors on a virtual trip, where they can learn how to accelerate, brake, and open the doors for passengers.
The interior of the museum itself is built in a spiral that represents the spiral of time from the first steam locomotives to modern high-speed trains. Both children and adults will find something of interest here.