What exactly is “Giant Steps” the game that is so often mentioned in the Romanov diaries and letters? A number of swings with harnesses are secured to a pole by long ropes, and everyone swings around, taking giant strides.
Anastasia to Nicholas II: “31 May, 1916. Tsarskoe Selo… These days Maria and I swing on giant steps a lot. We are almost never nauseous, [although] we fell a bunch of times already, but so far have not hurt ourselves…”
Nicholas II to Maria: “Imperial Headquarters, 13 June, 1916… Alexei, Nagorny and Muravnukin are on the giant steps or we play a sort of hide-and-seek…”
The Romanov family even built a make-shift Giant Steps swing for Alexei in the backyard of Governor’s mansion in Tobolsk, obviously it was one of their favourite activities.
Apparently, “Giant Steps” is still relatively popular in modern Russia:
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna was the third daughter and middle child of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and 1913 was the tercentennial year of her family’s dynastic rule—the last full year before the outbreak of World War I. In her journal, Maria documents the ceremony and celebrations of this important date in Imperial Russian history, while at the same time showing herself to have been a remarkably ordinary young girl who happened to be the daughter of the most powerful man in the world. Maria’s journal records the daily routines of the Imperial family, from the mundane to the magnificent, allowing the reader a peek into the lost and distant world of the last Romanovs.
MARIA and ANASTASIA: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchesses In Their Own Words
MARIA and ANASTASIA: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchesses In Their Own Words (The Russian Imperial Family: In Their Own Words Book 2)
They were the two youngest daughters of the world’s most powerful man – Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia. Known to their family and friends as “The Little Pair”, Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia were born into opulence, but led modest lifestyles. They were two normal young women growing up in extraordinary circumstances, ultimately getting caught in the middle of frightening political events that would take their teenage lives. Until this volume, the two girls did not have a chance to tell the story of the last four years of their lives during the first world war and the revolution, – in their very own words.
NIKOLAI DEMENKOV TO GRAND DUCHESS MARIA NIKOLAEVNA (LAST LETTER)
Linear ship “Empress Maria”. 18 July, 1916. Sevastopol.
Your Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna!
Loyally I dare to report a significant day in the life of our ship: on the 9th July we took first military shots at the cruiser “The Breslau”, into which we ran at sea. We shot from 12 cannons, but unfortunately we were not able to sink it, because having had speed privilege, it changing course at far distance from us and releasing white smoke screen, which merged with the clouds on the horizon, – it escaped. It shot a few explosives at us, which fell without reaching [their target].
Testimony of Father [Protoirei] Ioann Storozhev (as given to investigator Nikolai Sokolov)
Around 8 o’clock in the morning on 14 July, a soldier came to see me, and requested I serve obednitza at the Ipatiev house. At 10 o’clock, I was already at the Ipatiev house with deacon Buimirov. Inside, behind the fence, at the bottom of stairs and inside the house, there were lots of armed young men, standing on guard. When we entered the commandant’s room, we saw disorder, dust and mess. Yurovsky was sitting at the table, drinking tea and eating bread with butter. Another man was sleeping on the bed, fully dressed. Having entered the room, I said to Yurovsky: “The clergy was invited here, so here we are. What do we need to do?” Yurovsky directly stared at me without a greeting, and said “Wait here, then you will serve obednitza” I asked “Obednya or obednitza?” “He wrote obednitza”, said Yurovsky.Read more THE ROMANOV FAMILY: LAST PRAYER SERVICE AT THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE.