The city is most famous for an act of infamy during chaotic aftermath of the Russian Revolution. In 1918, the Ural Soviet took it upon themselves to brutally excecute the former Tsar Nicholas II, and his entire family, women, childern and all. They had been imprisoned here, isolated from the centres of power to the west, so as not to become a rallying piont for opponents of the young Communist regime. But forces of the White armies were advancing on the city and a decision was taken to end the monarchy, once and for all.
Ironically, this act did more to immortalise the incompetent Tsar than any of the disasterous events of his misrule of Russia. A church with golden domes rises high above the designated site of the executions, not far from the banks of Yekaterinberg's City Pond. The Russian Orthodox Church designates the Romanovs as 'saints'.
Today, the faithful come to the crypt of the church to pay homage to this fantasy. A posse of green robed priests presides over the ceremonies, the atmosphere enhanced by the smell of incense in the air, and the voices of a choir, rising over the baritone chants of the priests.