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Ekaterinburg: Ganina Yama
August 7, 2014 15:29


Ganina Yama is an old forest mine in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg named after the contractor Gavriil (diminutive is Ganya) who bought it in XIX century.

By the XX century the mine was abandoned, only the holes of old mines and pits were left. Yakov Yurovsky, the organizer of the execution of the family of the last Russian emperor, ordered to bring the bodies here on the night of July 17, 1918 in order to throw them into a pit filled with water. However, the mine was shallow. The versions of the events that followed differ: we do not know for sure whether the remains were taken to a nearby Porosenkov Log and buried there or they were burned with fire and sulfuric acid without a trace at Ganina Yama. Anyway, the mine was involved in the last act of one of the most important dramas of the national history. Despite the thick curtain of secrecy and the conspiracy of silence, it was impossible to conceal the fact of burial.

Even in the impenetrable 1970s people came to the land plot in order honor the memory of the killed, and beginning from perestroika (reformation period) pilgrimage gradually became popular. On July 17, 1991 the Ekaterinburg bishop gave his blessing to installation of worship cross in this place. Ten years later the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Nikolai Aleksandrovich, Aleksandra Fedorovna, Aleksei, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia shot in the basement of the Ipatiev’s House as holy martyrs, and built a monastery in Ganina Yama.

Its full name is the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs in Ganina Yama. The money for the construction was donated by one of the key enterprises of the Sverdlovsk Region – UMMC (Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company). Now there are seven wooden cathedrals standing behind a wooden fence among few pines: The Cathedral of Holy Martyrs, of St. Nicholas, of Saint Sergei of Radonezh, of Saint Seraphim of Sarov, of the Iberian Mother of God and of the Reigning Mother of God and of Job the Long-suffering (although the Cathedral of the Reigning Mother of God has recently burned, but it is about to be restored).

The monastery  has a bell tower and everything that monks  and pilgrims may need - a chapel, a museum, a refectory, a vicar’s house, as well as tiled sidewalks, benches, dustbins, an artificial pond, brand new bronze monuments, covered wooden crossings, information stands and a gate tower with an extensive paved parking for pilgrims’ buses. The architects of the local cathedrals were evidently inspired by ancient wooden architecture. Because of their novelty, comfort and crowds of people the cathedral built of neat round logs and covered with bright green artificial tiles unexpectedly resemble a cottage settlement.

However, the very loophole of Ganina Yama where the corpses were probably thrown away still produces a strong impression: it's just a loophole overgrown with cheerful fresh grass and gradually turning into an abyss. It is surrounded by wooden covered walkway raised above ground level with handrails you conveniently rest upon. It is chilly and somehow scary to stand here even on a sunny day - it seems that the death funnel can quietly and easily suck a living person in.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Ganina Yama Sverdlovsk Region Ekaterinburg   

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