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Saturday, August 18, 2018

The ditch where the Romanovs were thrown


 
Lilies are planted at the ditch where the Bolsheviks threw the bodies of the Romanov family and their staff members after the murderers covered them with sulphuric acid to shield their identities on July 17, 1918/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
 
The Romanovs, Russia's last Royal Family, were murdered  in Yekaterinburg, Russia, almost ten miles from an abandoned ditch, where the Bolsheviks threw the bodies of the family and their staff after shooting, bayoneting, and burning them and their loyal staff of four on the night of July 17, 1918.

Now the ditch and the surrounding area are a holy place, Ganina Yama and the home of the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs, where visitors are invited to come, pay respects, and wonder why the Bolsheviks also murdered the children, a crime they tried to hide for years.

These photographs were taken on July 25, 2018, a week after the centennial of the murders.

To see the second site where the bodies were moved on July 19, 1918, go here.


The family and their servants were canonized on November 1, 1981. Except for the children, Alexei and Maria whose bones were found elsewhere and are still in Russian archives, the family and staff were buried on July 17, 1998 at Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg where most czars since Peter the Great are buried.
 The ditch at Ganina Yama. Yama means "mine."/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
A covered wooden semi-circle walkway surrounds the Romanov burial ditch at Ganina Yama. A cross is at right center and pictured below/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
 

A cross flanked by fresh flowers at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
 

Large photographs of the seven murdered Romanovs hang at the memorial site, each picture bordered by cascades of fresh flowers/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
To the left is a photograph of Czar Nicholas II/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
 

Photographs of the Romanovs bordered by fresh flowers on a wooden walkway form a semi-circle around the burial site/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
Adjacent to the burial site is a chapel with 17 cupolas to commemorate the 17th day of July, 1918 when the family and their staff of four were murdered and brought here. The monastery was built in 2001 and includes seven chapels, one for each family member/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018


The adjacent chapel with its 17 domes, 17 to commemorate the day of the tragedy, July 17, 1918/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The semi-circular wooden walkway with photographs of the Romanovs surrounds the depression in the ground, the site where the bodies were thrown/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The chapel with 17 domes adjacent to the burial site/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
A statue of the five children, Olga, Alexei, Anastasia, Maria, and Tatiana near the burial site at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018


A chapel at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 17, 2018

Another chapel at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018


A chapel at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018

A chapel at Ganina Yama and a woman wearing apparel and head covering the monastery provides to visitors who are not properly clothed/Photo by Veronica,  July 25, 2018

The bust of Empress Alexandra at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The back of a bust of Nicholas II at Ganina Yama/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018

Apparel to cover bare legs for men and women is distributed at the entrance to Ganina Yama, with head coverings for women available, as well/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018


One hundred years later on July 17, 2018 ,an estimated 75,000 people attended a liturgy at the Church on the Blood in Yekaterinburg built on the site of the house where the Romanovs were killed. The people walked to Ganina Yama, about four hours away, following the route the bodies were taken. To the left above are photographs of the Royal Family/Photo, the Vatican


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Movie 'Eighth Grade' is way uncool


 Eighth Grade by Bo Burnham

It's as boring as the first video which is ultra long and is a forerunner of the languor which blankets the film.

I thought this was supposed to be a comedy.  Filmgoers, it ain't.  It's a too realistic picture of what 's happening in eighth grade now, and who needs that?  I went for "fun 'n' games." Not here.

Yawn...

A triple shot of expresso with some androstenedione thrown in would help, and about those long pauses....please.  Can we get some cutting room scissors in here?

Eighth Grade's best (its only?) redeeming quality is the music (by Anna MeredithApplause...a woman!). 


Acting by father (Josh Hamilton), daughter (Elsie Fisher) and "Gabe" (Jake Ryan) is commendable, but the script needs work.  No wonder there weren't any preteens or teens or even millennial in the movie house when I went.  Just a bunch of old folks hoping for some laughs.

A few laughs.

Any laughs.

Not...

patricialesli@gmail.com

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Romanovs' second burial site, July 19, 1918, in pictures


Across these railroad tracks at the Porosyonkov Ravine or Field is the second place the Bolsheviks buried the bodies of the seven Romanovs, their cook, doctor, maid, and footman on July 19, 1918. To hide the bodies from the Bolsheviks' opponents, the Whites, the executioners moved them 4.5 miles from the first place they dumped them on July 17, 1918  at what is now Ganina Yama, a monastery.  

At this location 61 years later, amateur sleuths found the remains. This is how the site looks a little more than 100 years later/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
Entrance to the second burial site/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
Monuments stand on both sides of the second burial site/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
One monument at the second burial site/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
Another monument at the second burial site/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The second burial site of the seven Romanovs and their four staff members/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The second burial site of the seven Romanovs and their four staff members/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The cross and second burial site of the seven Romanovs and their four staff members looking towards the exit path/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018
The exit looking towards the railroad tracks/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July 25, 2018


patricialesli@gmail.com

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Russia's old houses in Yekaterinburg


One of the many old wooden houses, mostly unoccupied and some available, in Ekaterinburg, Russia /Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

Where is Yekaterinburg and why did I go there? (Ekaterinburg is the Russian spelling, and the pronunciation is German:  EkaterinBORG.)

Glad you wondered!  I went to satisfy for my affinity for Russian history, specifically, the Romanovs, and, if the truth be known, I realized while there I am nothing more (or less) than a Romanov "groupie." (Russians pronounce the name, RomanOFF.)
An old house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

 
A closer view of the house shown two above, in Ekaterinburg, Russia /Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

Ekaterinburg is the site of the murders of the seven Romanovs and their staff of four on July 17, 1918. It is Russia's fourth largest city (population, about 1.5 million) but third in terms of economyIt is shedding its industrial image, but most of Ekaterinburg's cars have dusty bottoms and tires, but no litter or trash was seen on any street I visited in three cities. 
 
An old house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

 

Another view of a house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018


Ekaterinburg lies about 900 miles east of Moscow, in the Ural Mountains which, as mountains go, are not like "our" mountains, but rather flat, but perhaps that was because we were high up which didn't feel like it. I never needed an oxygen infusion, and my guide said the vast forests surrounding Ekaterinburg (beautiful from the air) serve to combat industrial pollution. (Attention, Trump, if you are listening, can you hear me? Russians believe in "global warming."
 

It is a crime to cut trees, she said, which explains why I never saw any lumber trucks carrying freight here and yon, but back to history.
This house in Ekaterinburg has two statues on each front corner and a plaque which states in Russian and English, "A.D. Andreyeva's House - Exemplar of the late 19th century residential building with the facade decoration in 'brick' style." Russians are more superstitious than we and often touch statues for "good luck" as this fellow in the right corner is doing/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018



Ekaterinburg's tricentennial approacheth2023.  A great time to go! (Aeroflot is a wonderful airline to carry you there two hours from Moscow after a direct flight from Dulles, 9.5 hours.  Aeroflot gives beverages and half sandwiches on domestic flights (! No starving like on flights inside the U.S.) and two three-course meals with choices plus a light breakfast and open snack bar on the flight from Dulles.  Believe me, save a day of your life and fly Aeroflot and not Finn Air Thin Air!)
An old house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018



A health care center in a formerly old house in Ekaterinburg, Russia. See the carvings found at most of these houses/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

 

A corner with street names on  an old, wooden house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

This is one of a family's compound of three houses (the others, pictured below), according to the guide, and this one is now used as a consulate by one of the "'Stans," either Tajikistan or Turkmenistan, as I recall. Enlarge the plaques on the walls and see if the wording is legible and please check the lovely contrast between the satellite dish and the building. I believe the others below are available/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018
The front of one of the family's compound of three structures (please see above and below), and this photo does not begin to convey the enormity of the place//Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018
This is another view of the same house pictured above/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018
The last of the family's compound of three buildings, and this one now is a gaming room.  Please note the beautiful fencing which stands at many of these old structures/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018
An old house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

 

An old house in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

The same house as two above in Ekaterinburg, Russia/Photo by Patricia Leslie, July, 2018

The city was named after Peter the Great's second wife, Catherine  whom he married several years after stashing his first wife in the famed (still standing and open for tours) Novodevichy Convent in Moscow (they pronounce it MosKO, not "COW"), but more on that later.  (The same convent where he also imprisoned his conniving half-sister, Sofia, who tried to seize his power more than once and to make the point, Peter hung the body of one of her troops outside her convent window.  Nice.  See painting below. )

In the original by I. Y. Repin (1844-1930) found at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the body of a troop member can be seen hanging outside Sofia's convent/cell window. The painting label says: "Princess Sofia Alexeyevna A Year After Her Incarceration in the Novodevichy Convent During the Execution of the Streltsys and the Torturing of All Her Servants in 1698.  Acquired by P. M. Tretyakov in 1879 from the artist"
 
Not only is Ekaterinburg the sad location of the murders and the last domicile of the family, imprisoned in the Ipatiev House, but 9.5 miles away is the first place, Ganina Yama, where the Bolsheviks threw their bodies and bones into an abandoned mine shaft and then moved them July 19, 4.5 miles to another burial ground, the Porosyonkov Ravine, to keep Bolshevik enemies, the approaching Whites, from finding the remains. (A post and photos to come.)

Knowing there is no "smoking gun" linking Lenin to the killings (like there is no "smoking gun" linking O.J. Simpson to the murders of his ex-wife and friend), it is perplexing why Russia reveres Lenin with multiple statues and monuments. 

When I visited Ekaterinburg, it was a week past the centennial of the murders.

On my first day and upon entering a coffee shop, three employees rushed over when they learned I was an American tourist. (Everywhere I went in the city, I was treated as a celebrity!)

Said a waiter, about 30, in good English: "This is rather exciting because you are the third tourist I've seen this week!" 

But, he said in a statement with his hand on his hip: "Why would anyone want to come to Russia?"  (Later, a history major and waiter at a restaurant in St. Petersburg, told me:  "Russian history is boring.  It's nothing but wars and wars, and no, I don't like Putin and neither do three of my colleagues here!" To which I replied "nyet" to their belittlements of their nation's history, but I digress...again.)

These old houses in Ekaterinburg populate many downtown streets (but not to be seen near city centers in Moscow or St. Petersburg where land prices are higher).  

Most of these structures appeared empty, however, one is a "gaming house" of sorts, according to my guide, where groups go to compete and have fun.

(When my driver and portage met me at the Ekaterinburg airport, the first thing the portage asked was:  "Is your media free in the U.S.?"  Yes, I said, is yours? Which he did not answer.  Many in Russia are still afraid to talk, remembering "Soviet times," and as one told me (she said she had been at the American White House this past January!), the government in Russia knows how you vote. One of my American colleagues said our government knows how we vote, too.  So it goes!)

Don't you love these old remnants?  The families were quite large then and needed the space.  Enjoy!

patricialesli@gmail.com