Yekaterinburg was founded on November 18, 1723, named after Russian emperor Peter the Great's wife, Yekaterina, who later became Catherine I after Peter's death, serving as the mining capital of the Russian Empire as well as a strategic connection between Europe and Asia at the time. In 1781, Catherine II "the Great" gave Yekaterinburg the status of a district town of Perm Province, and built the main road of the Empire, the Siberian Route, through the city. Yekaterinburg became a key city to Siberia, which had rich resources, and was known as the "window to Asia", a reference to Saint Petersburg as a "window to Europe". In the late 19th century, Yekaterinburg became one of the centers of revolutionary movements in the Urals. In 1924, after Russia became a socialist state, the city was named Sverdlovsk (Russian: Свердло́вск) after the Communist party leader Yakov Sverdlov. During the Soviet Era, Sverdlovsk was turned into an industrial and administrative powerhouse that played a part in the Soviet Union's economy. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the city changed its name back to its historical name of Yekaterinburg.
Yekaterinburg is one of the most important economic centers in Russia, and the city had experienced economic and population growth recently. Some of the tallest buildings in Russia are located in the city.
Russian historian Vasily Tatishchev and Russian engineer Georg Wilhelm de Gennin founded Yekaterinburg in 1723 and named it after the wife of Russian emperor Peter the Great, Yekaterina, who later became empress regnant Catherine I. The official date of the city's foundation is November 18, 1723. It was granted town status in 1796.
The city was one of Russia's first industrial cities, prompted at the start of the eighteenth century by decrees from the Tsar requiring the development in Yekaterinburg of metal-working businesses. The city was built, with extensive use of iron, to a regular square plan with iron works and residential buildings at the center. These were surrounded by fortified walls, so that Yekaterinburg was at the same time both a manufacturing center and a fortress at the frontier between Europe and Asia. It therefore found itself at the heart of Russia's strategy for further development of the entire Ural region. The so-called Siberian highway became operational in 1763 and placed the city on an increasingly important transit route, which led to its development as a focus of trade and commerce between east and west, and gave rise to the description of the city as the "window on Asia". With the growth in trade and the city's administrative importance, the ironworks became less critical, and the more important buildings were increasingly built using expensive stone. Small manufacturing and trading businesses proliferated. In 1781 Russia's empress, Catherine the Great, nominated the city as the administrative center for the wider region.