Detour Worth Making: Yekaterinburg Cemetery Tour of Russian Mafia Tombstones

gravestonesYekaterinburg is one of Russia’s largest cities. Roughly 600 miles southwest of Moscow, this former home to Boris Yeltsin is mineral-rich — making it an important industrial center in the country — but also has a fair amount of culture and tourist-cachet. In addition to the area’s cross country skiing, proximity to the Europe-Asia border, magnificent Opera and Ballet House, and huge water park, it boasts another, lesser-known tourist draw: its cemetery.

In 90s, Yekaterinburg was known as the “crime capital of Russia.” Since many Russian mafia leaders lived — and died — there, the cemetery is filled with their bodies. Featuring blinged out tombs, a visit to Yekaterinburg cemetery is like going to the dark side of Miami Vice.

Don’t feel comfortable going alone? Sokol Tours will take you there. In the meantime, check out English Russia’s photo tour of the graveyard.