The Rastorguyev-Kharitonov mansion in the center of Yekaterinburg is the only palace complex in the Urals. Its construction started in 1794 as an estate of the Provincial Secretary Isakov. However, four years later, the land was acquired by merchant Lev Rastorguyev. He launched an extensive construction, which went on after 1823 under the guidance of his son-in-law Kharitonov. In 1824, the unfinished residence was visited by Emperor Alexander I of Russia.
The Rastorguyev-Kharitonov mansion had a bad reputation. As legend has it, there were dungeons under the building where delinquent workers of Kharitonov’s factory languished. Another part of the merchant’s "underworld" allegedly contained secret prayer rooms for old believers, among who was the owner himself. Excavations of the twentieth century partly confirmed these rumors. Traces of underground tunnels appeared here and there during ground works in the vicinity of the palace. Cruelty of Kharitonov is a historically documented fact: in 1837 he was exiled to Kexholm Fortress for the atrocious treatment of people. The mansion housed apartments and offices until 1917 revolution. A large park with a pond adjoins the palace. As an urban legend has it, one of Kharitonov’s daughters drowned in it from an unanswered love. However, it has no documentary confirmation.
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