Yekaterinburg is the administrative center of Sverdlovskaya Oblast and Uralsky Federal District. It is the fourth largest city in Russia by population (2006). It is also located on the dividing line between Europe and Asia, which makes it the most eastern European city with over one million residents.
The city was founded in 1723 by V.Hening and V.Tatischev by order of Tsar Peter the Great. From 1924 till 1991, it was renamed Sverdlovsk to honour of Y.Sverdlov, the first Soviet Russia Prime Minister.
Since its foundation Yekaterinburg has been a center of the mining industry, metallurgy, and defense production. Since the 19th century the city has been a center of gold-mining industry.
Throughout the 1930-1940s, many large industrial plants including Uralmash, the biggest heavy machinery factory in Europe, were built in Yekaterinburg. During World War II, the city became a center of armaments industry.
Nowadays Yekaterinburg is a center of electronic industries and a scientific, transport, and financial center. There are more than 50 banks, 130 foreign company branches, 200 large industrial plants, 30 universities, and 120 research institutions in the city.
The first high-rise in Yekaterinburg was built in 1936, however, massive development of buildings above 12 floors began in the 1970s. Since the 1980s the buildings up to 16, and since the year 2000 up to 24 stories tall have been constructed in Yekaterinburg. In 2005 construction of the first skyscrapers of 37 and 40 stories got started.