I’m often asked about a beautiful green three-storey building in the historical center of Yekaterinburg. What is there in the building and what is the story behind it?
The building is definitely the most beautiful in the city. It is Sevastyanov’s House. Nikolay Sevastyanov was a successful businessman. He made a fortune during Gold Rush in Yekaterinburg at the beginning of 18th century. Just like other merchants of provincial Yekaterinburg, Sevastyanov felt envious of his counterparts from Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Ural oligarchs might have more money but they didn’t have fame and nobility the Muscovites enjoyed. I should add here that Yekaterinburg residents have inherited the competitive spirit and still live with it. For example, Yekaterinburgers have a firm belief they live in the third major city in Russia (after Moscow and St. Petersburg of course). Despite the fact that Kazan officially patented the name of ‘Russia Third Capital’ in 2009, we still tend to call Yekaterinburg the third capital or at least the Capital of the Urals.
So Sevastyanov’s kitschy eclectic house was to make this statement – Yekaterinburg is not a provincial Godforsaken place. And speaking about God, Sevastyanov even sent a request to the Tsar to get permission to cover the roof with gold. That was too much, as only Churches in Russia may have golden domes so that God can notice them. For his daring intentions Sevastyanov was ordered to go to church every day wearing heavy iron-cast boots. Luckily for him, the church of St. Yekaterina was just across the street from his beautiful house.
Another interesting fact: the owner had never lived in his house. Sevastyanov rented it to rich visitors. He himself preferred a modest life-style and had a small wooden house behind the mansion. However, every day he would sit outside on a bench facing the big green house and watching passersby who would inevitably stop and gaze at his creation. Neither Sevastyanov nor the bench is no longer here but passersby continue gazing at the house with admiration.
And guess who was the last visitor to stay in Sevastyanov’s House? Mr. President of Russian Federation was the one. The house had served as president Medvedev's residence until summer 2010 when a newly built residence was made for him. People from the president’s circle stated that they had liked Sevestyanov’s House better.
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