Ganina Yama- Ganya's Pit (Ганина Яма)

Image of Ganina Yama

Location: Koptyaki village, 15 km (10 mi) North of Yekaterinburg  Map


Description of the Ganina yama

Ganina yama or Hole of Ganya is the resting place of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II with his wife Alexandra, son Alexi and daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. All were executed on 17 July 1918 in Yekaterinburg. Their bodies were burned and then buried here on a site of an abandoned mine. White Guard (anti- Bolshevik army) captured the city and its surroundings shortly thereafter, but special commission that was launched failed to retrieve or find the location of the burial.


History of the origin of the name

In the middle of the 19th century, a contractor named Gabriel bought this plot of land in the hope of finding gold here. The inhabitants of the village of Koptyaki called the owner of the mine Ganya. Hence the name of the largest development of the mine - Ganina Yama. At the end of the 19th century, iron ore was mined at this mine and coal was burned for the blast furnace of the Verkh-Isetsky plant. At the beginning of the 20th century, the mine was abandoned, the mines collapsed and overgrown with young forest. Ganina Pit itself was a small quarry 20x30 meters in size, filled with rainwater, around it there were more than 30 old mines, pits and pits, in which ore was previously mined.


The history of the investigation at Ganina Yama

First examination
The initial stage of the investigation was conducted by a group of officers of the General Staff together with the investigator of the Yekaterinburg District Court A. Nametkin. They interviewed the peasants of the village of Koptyaki, who were the first to appear at the site of the destruction of the evidence of the execution, finding a clay platform with two fires 100 meters from mine No. 7. In the ashes, the peasants found several precious stones and a platinum cross lined with emeralds. The peasants brought this cross to the village and showed Lieutenant Sheremetevsky, who was hiding there, who remembered that he had seen such a cross on the chest of Grand Duchess Tatyana when she and her father were present at a military review. Upon learning that Yekaterinburg had been taken by the White troops, the lieutenant immediately went to the headquarters and reported on the findings near Koptyakov. On July 30, an investigation into the circumstances of the crime under Art. 1453 Regulations on punishments.

The first inspection of the Ganina Pit was carried out by officers under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Igor Baftalovsky, the work on pumping water out of the mines was entrusted to Lieutenant Sheremetevsky, who was given prisoners of war to help.

Upon inspection, Baftalovsky drew attention to "too small amounts of ash and ash, which definitely indicated the cost of a small amount of fuel for fires, absolutely insufficient to burn 18 human bodies." From this, it was concluded that only an imitation of the destruction of the bodies took place at Ganina Yama, they were taken away from there.

The former tsar's valet Chemodurov, who was brought in as a witness, explained that jewels were found in the fires by the fact that the empress ordered them to be sewn up in folds of clothing so that they would not be found during searches that were carried out repeatedly.

Corollary of N. A. Sokolov
On January 17, 1919, to oversee the investigation into the murder of the royal family, the Supreme Ruler of Russia, Admiral A. V. Kolchak, appointed the commander-in-chief of the Western Front, Lieutenant General M. K. Diterikhs.

By order of February 6, 1919, the investigation was entrusted to the investigator for especially important cases of the Omsk District Court N. A. Sokolov. On February 7, Sokolov in Omsk was transferred from Diterichs the original proceedings and material evidence in the case.

In the text of the report of the investigator N. A. Sokolov to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, in a condensed form, it is said about how the evidence was concealed by the regicides:
“When the atrocity was committed, the corpses of the August Family and all the others were immediately placed in a truck, on which Yankel Yurovsky, along with some other well-known persons, took them outside the city of Yekaterinburg, to a remote mine located in a forest cottage that once belonged to Countess Nadezhda Alekseevna Stenbock-Fermor, and now owned by the Verkh-Iset Joint-Stock Plants.

Simultaneously with the delivery of corpses to the mine, this entire area was cordoned off by Red Army cordons, and for three days and three nights it was not allowed to pass or pass through this area. On the same days, July 4-6, at least 30 buckets of gasoline and 11 pounds of sulfuric acid were delivered to the mine. The area where the corpses of the August Family were brought was quite definitely and accurately established during the preliminary investigation. She was all subjected to the most thorough, with the participation of especially trusted persons from the military ranks, examination and search.

Taking into account the data of the inspection of this area and the totality of the finds discovered here, the investigating authorities have no doubts and are completely convinced that the corpses of the August Persons and all the others who died with Them, near one of the mines, were first cut into pieces and then burned on fires with gasoline. Parts that were difficult to succumb to the action of fire were destroyed with sulfuric acid. At the site of the destruction of corpses, many objects were found that make it possible to recognize this fact without any doubt. The following objects were found in the fireplaces, near them and in the mine itself: a) jewels and pieces of jewels: one of the pearl earrings (with a diamond at the top) of the Empress; crushed and fire-exposed parts of a pearl from another earring; emerald cross of the Empress Empress, strewn with diamonds; a large diamond of excellent properties and great value, which was part of another large decoration of the Empress; small round pearls from strings of pearls; fragments of rubies, amethyst and sapphire, the latter very reminiscent of the shape and color of the stone in the Sovereign's ring; b) parts of clothing, footwear and accessories of clothing and footwear: pieces of an overcoat, very reminiscent of Alexei Nikolaevich’s overcoat in their color and quality factor; many pieces of burnt shoes, and many screws were found in these pieces, recognized by experts as belonging to expensive shoes due to their quality; buttons, loops, buttons, hooks, and some of the buttons are individual: they belong to the upper suit of the Empress; the buttons are of fine French work; hooks and loops are typical items put on their suits by the tailor Brizak; metal parts of the corsets destroyed by fire: the front plaques, six in number; bones, buckles and hooks from garters, silk from corsets; moreover, the investigation established that the Empress, who usually wore a corset, strictly demanded this from the Princesses, considering his absence as promiscuity; wore a corset and the girl Demidova; buckles from corsets (from garters) are typical in their properties, they are of good work; buckle from the belt of the Sovereign Emperor; buckle from the belt of Alexei Nikolaevich, very individual; three shoe buckles, one of which is from the shoes of the Empress, and two pairs are from the shoes of one of the Grand Duchesses; c) objects and parts of them that belonged to the August Family: a portrait frame, travel, folding, in which the Sovereign Emperor kept the portrait of the Empress; three icons: the Savior, Nicholas the Wonderworker and the Holy Martyrs Guriy, Aviv and Samon, and the very faces were almost destroyed by blasphemous actions, and on one of the icons there was also a small pillow with a ring for wearing it on the chest; a silver frame from an example of the work of a Petrograd master; the remains of a frame of another image; Uhlan jubilee badge of Her Majesty; a small bottle of Epsom salts; a typical green glass bottle with the Royal crown in a broken form; a lot of glass from other vials with salts, from frames and decorations that had glass; perfectly preserved, despite the long period of time, thanks to the low temperature in the mine, the corpse of the dog Anastasia Nikolaevna Jamie, the beloved dog of the Empress, presented to Anastasia Nikolaevna in 1915-1916 by one of the officers; this dog is a very small, Nippon breed; Anastasia Nikolaevna usually carried her in her arms.

It must be said that during a preliminary survey of the area by a group of officers, only two and small sizes were found, and it was difficult to immediately assume that the remains of 11 people were destroyed on them, then Lieutenant Colonel Igor Baftalovsky reported. The bonfires themselves were not deep, no traces of bones, much less teeth, were found in them, from which it was concluded that the bodies in the bonfires were not burned, but were taken out, and the things of the royal family were burned on the bonfires.

However, according to the testimony of Mikhail Konstantinovich Diterichs, who at the beginning of 1919 was the head of the commission investigating the murder of the royal family and was directly familiar with the entire course of the preliminary investigation
“... On the surface of the site, fresh traces of a shovel are visible in places, removing the upper layer of the site in pieces. In one of the recesses of the site, quite a lot of remnants of the fire had accumulated, which was originally even taken for the fire itself. In reality, the bonfire was laid out behind an open shaft, about 8 steps from it, towards a large birch; the dimensions of this fire were significant, at least 3 arshins in diameter. When the fire burned out, it was apparently scattered, and the site of the fire, the remaining coals and ashes, were sprinkled with fresh clay from the site. On the edge of the campfire site, Nametkin saw in August a completely burnt rib. The other fire was further away; under an old birch; in size, it was probably not less than the first, and maybe even more. But Isaac Goloshchekin did not scatter it like the first fire; it was found intact and already scattered by the peasants of the village of Koptyakov. <...> The logical final conclusions from the above examples are quite clear: in the first case, the shoes of the Grand Duchesses were burned at the bonfire near the mine, and in the second, the bullet hit the bonfire, falling out of the burning body.

In addition, revolver bullets of the revolver system, shells from bullets and a lot of lead melted in the fire were found in the fires and near them. Finally, a human finger and two pieces of human skin are found. Scientific examination recognized that this finger was cut off from the hand and belongs to a middle-aged woman who had thin, long, beautiful fingers, familiar with manicure. Just before leaving Yekaterinburg this year, which unfortunately interrupted further searches, many chopped and, possibly, sawn bones were found, the nature of which should be determined in the near future in the conditions of the existing possibility. All the bones were ravaged by fire, but possibly also by acids. The presence of jewelry, parts of them and bullets in the mine seems clear to the investigating authorities.

By order of Diterichs, Sokolov was evacuated from Yekaterinburg on July 11, 1919 and took out all the acts of genuine investigative proceedings along with material evidence. Then he took part in the export of materials in March 1920 from Harbin to Western Europe and ensuring their safety.

It was thanks to the painstaking work of N. A. Sokolov that the details of the execution and burial of the royal family became known for the first time. He described them in detail in his book "The Murder of the Royal Family."


Foundation of the monastery

In August 2000, at the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, Nicholas II and his family were glorified as martyrs. On September 23, 2000, during his visit to the Urals, Patriarch Alexy II visited the Ganina Yama tract and, having blessed the establishment of the monastic monastery, put his signature on the master plan of the monastery. The builder of the monastery was shiigumen Sergius (Romanov). The first stone of the monastery was laid on October 1, 2000. On December 27, the Holy Synod officially “blessed the opening of the monastery in the name of the Royal Passion-Bearers in the Ganina Yama tract”, on December 28 the monastery of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers was established here.

On the territory of the monastery there is Open Mine No. 7 - this is how it is called by N. A. Sokolov in the materials of the investigation into the circumstances of the death of the Royal Family, where evidence of a crime was found.

Now there are seven temples in the monastery - according to the number of killed members of the royal family.