ROMANOV FAMILY: “HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE” – THE IPATIEV HOUSE IN EKATERINBURG
In spring of 1918, the Romanov family was moved to Ekaterinburg, a city in Russia’s Urals. There they were held captive in a house which belonged to engineer Ipatiev, where they would ultimately be killed.
The words “Ipatiev house” have since become associated with the murder of the Russian imperial family.
Below are the descriptions of the house from the letters of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, as well as photographs and rare contemporary video footage of the last residence of the Romanov family.
Descriptions of the Ipatiev house by Maria Romanov:
“The house was built on a slope, but there are two floors on the side of the garden. Downstairs is the kitchen and the guards’ rooms; we do not know how many rooms are downstairs, or how the male personnel will be lodged.”
“Downstairs there is a banya, which does not function. Upstairs where we are, there is [one] good bathroom for the entire house. Here there are no camp beds, no pillows, no wash bowls, no bed linen or table linen. In fact, there is nothing, so you need to bring everything. Where we will put your luggage, I have no idea. Ours is, at the moment in the living room. There is a lot of dust, we acquired a broom and Nyuta sweeps all day long.”
Rare video footage of the Ipatiev house.
“In the entire house there is no water and we wait a long time for the samovar to be brought in, which is slow to heat. Mama has her meals in the camp bed and I have mine with Papa, Nyuta, Evg. Serg., Sednev and Chemod[urov] in the dining room and Nyuta sleeps there.”
“The water here is very good, almost as good as in Tsarskoe Selo. In the bathtub the water looks light blue. Yesterday we went for a walk, like every day, until tea time. The sun was very warm, just like in Tobolsk, and in the evening it penetrated the windows of the second floor.”
“We strongly doubt that they will send us to another place. If only!!! they would let you all to come to us. However it would be necessary to accommodate all female staff, ten persons, in the big living room, where at this moment Sednev and Chemod.[urov] are. You three [would live] beside the bedroom, where the washroom is. Between these rooms, the doors were removed, big doors! If we open the blocked room, we could accommodate Aleksei and Nagorny there. On our floor there are only two other rooms, if they give them to us, in the one where the furnace is, we could put Vl.Nik., Zhylik and Mr. Gibbes, and in the other – where there is a little trapdoor, we could accommodate Tatishev”
“I write to you in semi-darkness as we do not have any light because the windows have been whitewashed. The white color is very unpleasant. It is, above all, bad for Mama because she suffers constantly from headaches… Outside today it seems to be colder, but we do not know exactly because the thermometer is indecipherable. “
“The house is small but clean, shame that it’s right in the city so the garden is rather small. When the others arrive, not sure how we will settle, there are not that many rooms. I live with Papa and Mama in one, where we spent almost the entire day. Just now we went out into the garden, the weather is gray and it is raining… If you want to write to me, my address is: Ekaterinburg, the Regional Executive Committee. To the Chairman, to be given to me. “