City (pop., 2006 est.: 1,308,441), west-central Russia. An ironworks was established in 1721, and a fortress, named for Empress Catherine I, was founded there in 1722. It grew as the centre for all the ironworks of the Ural Mountains region, and its importance increased with the building of a highway (1783) and the Trans-Siberian Railroad. It achieved notoriety as the place where Tsar Nicholas II and his family were held prisoner and executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. In 1924 it was renamed Sverdlovsk in honour of Yakov Sverdlov. The city reverted to its original name after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. It is a major industrial centre, especially for heavy machinery.