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Monday, 2 February 2015
Colour Photographs of the Ipatiev House
Topic: Ekaterinburg

Colour photographs of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, 1975
The Ural city of Ekaterinburg is notoriously known as the scene of the murders of the Russian Imperial Family in 1918. It was here that they were taken under house-arrest in the Ipatiev House, also known as the “House of Special Purpose.” 

During the Soviet years, the Ipatiev House was used for a number of purposes. The rare colour photographs presented with this article were taken in 1975, just two years before the building was demolished.   

On August 4, 1975, Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union authorized the demolition of the Ipatiev House, where the last Tsar of Russia and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks almost sixty years earlier.

On of the most dramatic events in Russia’s history is the brutal murder of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra and their five children in July 1918. The entire Romanov family was herded into the basement of the infamous house in Ekaterinburg and shot. Their remains were not discovered until 1979.

At first, the Ipatiev House was turned into a museum devoted to the Russian Bolshevik Revolution. The communists took pride in the last prison and execution site of the family, and it was celebrated as a “symbol of justice”. It was often visited by Communist Party members, who would gather around and pose for photographs before the bullet-damaged wall of the basement. Conversely, the house was slowly becoming a place of worship for those wishing to honour the memory of the imperial family. More and more often, the house keepers would find flowers placed at the steps of the house.

The museum was closed down in 1932, and throughout the years served as place for various administrative establishments, before becoming an Anti-Religious Museum in 1938. During the years of World War II, the Ipatiev House turned into a hiding place for exhibits of the State Hermitage museum of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

With the upcoming 60th anniversary of the execution looming in 1978, the site where the tragedy played out was attracting even more attention, especially from foreign visitors and press. The KGB Chairman, Yury Andropov, had sent a secret note to the Politburo with the proposal to order “the demolition of Ipatiev House in the course of a planned reconstruction of the city,” arguing that “anti-Soviet circles in the West are conspiring various propaganda campaigns around the Romanov Tsar family.”

Within days, the Politburo had approved the proposal, but it was not until two years later that the house was brought down. The task was passed on to the first secretary of the Sverdlovsk region, Boris Yeltsin, who later wrote in his memoirs, “It was impossible to oppose…sooner or later we will be ashamed of this piece of barbarism." On September 6, 1977 the house was bulldozed.

Despite the government’s attempts to try to destroy forever the memory of Russia’s last tsar; people kept coming in secret during the night to leave tokens of remembrance on the vacant site, turning it into a place of pilgrimage. With the beginning of Perestroika, the plot of land where the Ipatiev House once stood attracted an increasing number of faithful. In September 1990, the Executive Committee of Sverdlovsk Region allocated the land to the Russian Orthodox Church and allowed the building of an official memorial site.

Architect Konstantin Efremov took on the role as lead designer, but construction was delayed due to the difficult economic situation in the country during the 1990s. The works resumed in 2000, after Nicholas II and his family were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. Finally, in May 2003, a five-domed Church on the Blood in Honor of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was completed to commemorate the Romanovs’ sainthoods.

For more information on the Ipatiev House, please refer to the following article in Royal Russia News:

The Ipatiev House Where the Romanovs Were Murdered: Archived Images includes 14 Photographs 

© Russia Today and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 February, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:36 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 2 February 2015 10:51 AM EST
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Friday, 11 July 2014
Ekaterinburg Prepares for Royal Days
Topic: Ekaterinburg

The Ural city of Ekaterinburg is preparing for its annual celebration of “Royal Days" to be held July 12-20, 2014. During these days, thousands of believers will honour Emperor Nicholas II and his family, who were all murdered in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918. 

The event which honours the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs draws large crowds in Ekaterinburg each year. Events during this year’s festival include exhibitions, lectures, concerts, liturgies and a religious procession from the Church on the Blood to Ganina Yama. Admission is free.

The ceremonial centres of worship during the "Royal Days" will, according to tradition, be the Church on the Spilled Blood, built on the site of the Ipatiev House, and the Monastery at Ganina Yama, built on the site where the remains of the martyrs were originally disposed of by their murderers.

Many of the pilgrims will begin arriving in Ekaterinburg on July 16th. According to a press service of the Ekaterinburg Diocese, the number of pilgrims from across Russia, and even abroad is growing each year. About 300 people attended in 2000, the first year the "Royal Days" was marked, and last year, in 2013 their number exceeded 50 thousand. Organizers are expecting an even greater number of pilgrims at this year’s event. 

In order to accommodate the large crowds, the ceremonies and a Divine Liturgy will be organized in the open air. A large tent with an altar platform will be erected in front of the Church on the Blood, large video monitors, and a powerful sound system and lighting will be installed.

A Divine Liturgy is scheduled to begin at 11:30 on the evening of July 16th, after which the faithful will participate in a 20 km religious procession from the Church on the Blood to the monastery at Ganina Yama in the early morning hours of July 17th.

As in previous years, Royal Russia will offer full coverage of this year’s "Royal Days" at Ekaterinburg, complete with news, photographs and videos.
This is an enormous event, spreading to more Russian cities each year. Take a moment to review Royal Russia's coverage of the "Royal Days" at Ekaterinburg in 2013, 2012 and 2011: 

2013 - Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs - includes 3 videos & 16 photos

2013 - In Memory of the Royal Martyrs ~ 17 July, 1918 - includes 1 video & 3 photos

2012 - Russia Commemorates the Holy Royal Martyrs - includes 4 videos & 25 photos

2012 - In Memory of the Royal Martyrs ~ 17 July, 1918 - includes 1 video & 3 photos

2011 - Pilgrims Pray for the Intercession of the Royal Martyrs in Ekaterinburg - includes 1 video & 20 photos

2011 - In Memory of the Royal Martyrs - 17 July, 1918 - includes 1 video & 15 photos

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:43 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014 4:15 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 10 June 2014
The Last Mystery of the Romanovs: Following the Killers' Footsteps
Topic: Ekaterinburg

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the June 7th, 2014 edition of the Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Darya Kezina owns the copyright presented below.

Walk the route the royal family walked during their last days; visit the sites of their death and their possible resting places. Will you unlock one of the most famous mysteries in Russian history?

Yekaterinburg has been trying in vain for years to rid itself of the mournful brand of “the city where they killed the royal family.”

Click on the link below to read the full article at Royal Russia News:

The Last Mystery of the Romanovs: Following the Killers’ Footsteps 

© Darya Kezina / Russia Beyond the Headlines. 07 June, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 June 2014 1:05 PM EDT
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Saturday, 19 April 2014
Ipatiev House - Where the Romanovs Were Murdered - Archived Images
Topic: Ekaterinburg

Photojournalist and historian Vitaly Shytov, author of the new book, 'Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977' 
Photojournalist and historian Vitaly Shytov has dedicated 40 years of study to the tragic history of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. He has just published his new book, Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977, which features many investigative and archival materials, presenting the most important events in the history of the Ipatiev House in chronological order. 

Shytov’s work provides a unique historical record which documents the importance of the Ipatiev House for the first time. "The country wants to know the truth about his past" - wrote former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, who was promoted to the post of the first secretary of the CPSU Committee of Sverdlovsk Oblast in 1976 by the Politburo of the CPSU. The   following year, in 1977, as a party official in Sverdlovsk, Yeltsin was ordered by Moscow to destroy the Ipatiev House. 

In 1974, Shytov, an avid photographer, and graduate of the Faculty of Journalism at the Ural State University, began compiling information and photographs. He was offered the curator’s post at the Department of Culture, and during the Soviet years he worked in the Ipatiev House itself.

It was during his employment in the Ipatiev House that he began collecting genuine artifacts of the building. In 1977, when the building was being demolished, Shytov filmed the process using a hidden camera. These photographs are included in his book which are supplemented with additional images from local archives, many of which are published for the very first time.

Ipatiev House. Documentary and Photographic Annals. 1877-1977 is the most complete and detailed history of the famous house in Ekaterinburg. Published in a hard cover edition in Chelyabinsk by the Auto-Count Publishing House, the book features more than 700 pages and more than 1,000 photographs. Only available in Russian.

Vitaly Shytov was present for the book’s launch, held on March 27th, 2014 in the Romanov Memoral Hall of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum, in Ekaterinburg. The Romanov Memorial Hall was a fitting venue for the book’s launch, for it’s display of preserved fragments of the Ipatiev House, as well as personal items of Tsar Nicholas II, his family and their retainers, discovered after their brutal murders in the early morning hours of July 17th, 1918.

Note: This article is for information purposes only, this book is not available for sale from Royal Russia. 
Click on the link below to view 13 photographs from the book: 

The Ipatiev House - Where the Romanovs Were Murdered - Archived Images  

 © Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 18 April 2014 6:03 PM EDT
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Friday, 11 January 2013
Romanov Ice Sculptures in Ekaterinburg
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 47 seconds
Topic: Ekaterinburg

For the past 7 years, the Church on the Blood in Ekaterinburg has played host to the Star of Bethlehem Ice Sculpture Festival.

This year's theme marked the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in which 11 teams took part. Each team created a sculpture of the Holy Royal Martyrs from ice.




© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:21 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 11 January 2013 8:30 AM EST
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Sunday, 16 September 2012
The Changing Skyline of Ekaterinburg
Topic: Ekaterinburg


Since the fall of the Soviet Union the skyline of Ekaterinburg has changed dramatically. Many historic buildings dating from the Tsarist period have been torn down to make way for modern office towers and luxury condominiums.

Once a "closed city" to foreigners during the Soviet years, the city has taken advantage of its geographical position to become a hub for business between east and west in post-Soviet Russia.

The unique image above is a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) which depicts the Ekaterinburg skyline as it looked in 1909, then changing to depict it as it looks today. The transformation is astonishing. Dominating the right-hand side of each image is the Ascension Church (which was situated across the road from the Ipatiev House), and dominating the left-hand side of each image is the Rastorguyev-Kharitonov Palace (also situated across from the former Ipatiev House). The dominating building in the 2012 image is of course the Church on the Blood which was built on the site of the Ipatiev House, where the last tsar, Nicholas II and his family were all murdered on July 17th, 1918.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 September, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2012 6:34 PM EDT
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Thursday, 12 July 2012
Tsar Days in Ekaterinburg Begins
Topic: Ekaterinburg


The religious festival Tsar Days (also referred to as Royal Days) opened today in Ekaterinburg and the surrounding Sverdlovsk Region. The event is now in its 11th year is dedicated to the memory of the Tsar-Marytyrs.

The aim of the event is to inform people about the truth of the history of the family of the last Russian tsar, who were all murdered by the Bolsheviks on July 17th, 1918.

Each year thousands of pilgrims come to Ekaterinburg to venerate the saints, visit the places associated with the final days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

The culmination of the festival will be the traditional nighttime procession on the eve of July 16/17 which begins at the Church on the Blood (built on the site of the former Ipatiev House). Following a memorial liturgy the pilgrims form a procession and walk the 21-km route from the cathedral to Ganina Yama.

Ganima Yama or Ganya's Pit was a 9-foot deep pit at the Four Brothers Mine located near the village of Koptyaki, situated about 15 km north of Ekaterinburg. In the early morning hours of July 17th the bodies of the tsar and his family were secretly transported to Ganina Yama and thrown into the pit. 

Last year the event welcomed more than 50,000 people from across Russia, as well as other countries. Organizers are expecting an even larger numbers this year.

The Tsar Days at Ekaterinburg runs from July 12-20.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 July, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:28 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 13 July 2012 6:18 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Church Bell Depicts Royal Martyrs
Topic: Ekaterinburg

A magnificent bronze bell depicting the Royal Martyrs: Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, Tsesarevich Alexei, and Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. The bell rings proudly from the Church on the Spilled Blood, a memorial church built on the site of the Ipatiev House, where the members of the last Russian Imperial family were murdered in 1918 by the Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg.

Members of the Orthodox faithful in Ekaterinburg began raising funds to finance the bell in 2004. The giant bell was cast in Kamensk-Uralsk and installed in the famous church in July 2010.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 March, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2012 11:52 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 February 2012
Nicholas II Rare Photos on Display in Ekaterinburg
Topic: Ekaterinburg


An exhibition featuring photos of Nicholas II and his family, titled With Love to Russia, has opened in Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

A source in the Yekaterinburg eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the collection features rare photos of the last Russian emperor and members of his family.

Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg on 17 July, 1918.

© ITAR-TASS. 27 February, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:15 PM EST
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Monday, 20 June 2011
Mural Depicting Last Russian Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg
Topic: Ekaterinburg

A series of murals depicting important events in the history of the Urals can be seen in the old railway station at Ekaterinburg.

Of particular interest is a painting depicting the Russian Civil War, 1917-1922. The Red Army on the left, the White Army on the right, the central event being the murder of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family at the Ipatiev House in 1918.

The railway station was built in 1878, and underwent an extensive restoration in 2002 at which time the murals were painted in the central hall.

© Royal Russia. 20 June, 2011


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:18 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 20 June 2011 12:20 AM EDT
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