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3Sep/102

The Romanovs’ gruesome end

Tourists wonder if it's worth visiting the sites in Yekaterinburg where Russian Tsar Nicolas II and his family were brutally murdered and buried. Sounds scary and gloomy but yes, it's worth it. Even if you don't know much of the history you will soon learn it.

To be honest with you, I used to find it a weird type of curiosity: to go to the forest picturing yourself how 7 naked bodies of the former royalties including children met their end in a mineshaft. So I didn't. But then I started to do guided tours and read a book by Eduard Radzinski 'Nickolay II'. Recommend it to everyone as it's a well written, not boring, deep psychologic insight into Tsar's personality based on secret files of the Kremlin archives which explains why the Romanovs were called a doomed family. Having read this book or any other of the kind you are sure to go and see everything with your own eyes

I must say that now Last days of the Tsar's family is my favourite part of the tour around the Urals. It's thrilling and captivating. It's like telling a detective story and being a part of it. The guests of the city feel like they are investigators because there is still a lot to investigate.

The tour starts on the site of former Ipatyev house where the family spent their last 78 days and was murdered in the basement. The house was destroyed now there is a gorgeous Church on the Blood to visit with a museum on the ground floor. From there track down the Bolsheviks' route to Ganina Yama (Ganina pit)17km north to Yekaterinburg. Now it's a beautiful monastery with 7 churches by the number of the family members. The place is worth visiting to see examples of wooden architecture and also to get away from the busy city. I personally like the atmosphere there: very quiet and serene, yet a little sad. The best thing in Ganina Yama is an open-air display of the enlarged photographs taken by the Grand Duchess. The girls liked photography and took many pictures of their every day unfortunately short life. This silent exhibition speaks more than any words. So don't forget to take a look at it and there is also a smaller one in front of the Church on the Blood

I am often asked whether the Romanovs' remains are kept here. No, after the identification the remains were sent to St. Petersburg and buried in a family vault. In Yekaterinburg you can find some family belongings from Ipatiev house, their icon and a milk tooth of tsarevitch Alexey. Besides, two bodies of Alexey and his sister Maria haven't been found yet. Maybe you will be the one to resolve the Romanovs case in the forests of Ganina Yama!

Book the tour to Ganina Yama here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/monastery-ganina-yama

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  1. Why did they have to tear down the actual Ipatiev house?

    • Good question Marjorie!
      From 1918 to 1977 Ipatiev house was a museum of Workers Revenge and surved for other Commie purpurses. However, it attracted too many tourists including foreign journalists even though the region was closed to foreigners. After the photo of the house appeared in a western newspaper, the Kremlin ordered to tear it down. The plan was carried out by then governor Boris Yeltsin.
      By the way there’s an exact copy of Ipatiev hose in Yekaterinburg on Chapaeva st. built same time by the same architect. So you can see what it looked like.


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