Worth a Trip: Europe–Asia Border
The Ural Mountains have numerous monuments marking the border between Europe and Asia. Interestingly, the border was thought to be the Don River by the Ancient Greeks, but Yekaterinburg’s founder Vasily Tatishchev drew it at the Ural Mountains in the mid-18th century, based on ideas of the day.
One of the more historic monuments is located 40km west of Yekaterinburg near Pervouralsk. It was erected in 1837 to commemorate a visit by Tsar Alexander II, who drank wine there and inadvertently began a favourite pastime of locals – drinking a glass in Europe and another glass in Asia (as if you needed an excuse!). To reach the monument, take a taxi (about R1000 return if you order in advance) to Pervouralsk. Expect to pay another R200 per hour for the driver to wait. Bus 150 leaves frequently from the Severny bus station to Pervouralsk (R97; platform 9).
The city has erected a new border marker, more conveniently located just 17km out of Yekaterinburg and looking a little like a mini Eiffel Tower. This one is more kitsch, but a taxi will take you out there for about R600 return, with an hour at the monument.