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Youth Lake Park (青年湖公园 - Qīngniánhú gōngyuán)

Rem Sapozhnikov / May 2014

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700 meters to the north from Andingmen (安定门 - Āndìngmén) subway station, where once was a place of location of the northern gate of the fortress wall of Beijing, The Youth Lake Park is situated. It occupies an area of about 170 thousand square meters one third of which is a large artificial lake.

From 1958 to 1960, the young people from the Communist Youth League of China have cleaned the trash swamp, dug the lake and laid out the park.



After almost 30 years in 1987 the park was reconstructed. Now it is perfectly developed territory with a basketball court, small water park, pleasure boats, several rather good toilets and even a small golf course.

This information you can find out on the board with the park map that is shown on the photo below.



Click on the photo for a closer view.




Unfortunately the Chinese didn’t provide it with any information on history of this place which is connected with Russia. Some time ago there was a cemetery of the Russian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Mission, i.e. the Russian cemetery mentioned in Russian sources for the first time at the beginning of the 18th century.




The Mission cemetery is connected with two tragic events one of which took place in China and the other — in Russia.

In the early XX century more than one thousand of Orthodox Christians lived in Beijing. In 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion aimed at ceasing the interference of foreign states into life of the Chinese Empire, all the foreigners who were automatically considered to be the gentiles and the Chinese accepted Christianity were killed. The people were cruelly killed and no one was spared: neither women, nor children, nor old men.

The bloody massacres resulted in death of 222 Orthodox — the Chinese and Russian. They were buried in the territory of the Russian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Mission in China (ROEMC) situated inside the defensive walls of Beijing.



In 1902 martyrs were canonized. In their memory the Church of All Holy Martyrs was built in place of the ruined church of ROEMC in Beijing. The remains of the Chinese martyrs were transferred to the crypt of the new church.

From 1903 to 1906 Saint Seraphim of Sarov Church was built in the territory of the Russian cemetery (outside the city) with money received from the Chinese government as compensation for the yihetuans’ massacre. In January 1957 the relics of Orthodox Chinese martyrs killed during the massacre at the beginning of the century and the remains of the clergy were transferred to the church.



The Church of All Holy Martyrs and the bell tower located in the territory which became the property of the USSR Embassy in 1956 were destroyed.

Left photo 1946. By Dmitri Kessel, LIFE/Getty Images.
Right photo: Metropolitan Innokenty, 1930.
Both photos from the website: http://www.orthodox.cn




Another tragic story associated with this place, where many years ago the Russian cemetery was and at present time the place of the park location, began in Russia. In the night of July 18, 1918, the day after the execution of the imperial family, 8 members of the Romanovs and the people close to them were thrown alive into a mine shaft 18 km from Alapayevsk.

In October of the same year their bodies were removed from the mine shaft. In the summer of 1919 during the military advance of the Red Army and the step-back to the East of the White Army it was decided to take the bodies of the dead princes with them. So their long journey, first to Chita, and then in a year to China, began. On April 16, 1920 the train with the coffins arrived in Beijing.

Alapaevsk martyrs were buried in the crypt of Saint Seraphim of Sarov Church built in the territory of the Russian cemetery located in today’s Youth Lake Park. Except for Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia and Sister Varvara of Marfo-Mariinsky Convent whose bodies were taken away (through Tianjin, Shanghai, Port Said in Egypt) and buried in Jerusalem. In 1938 the Sino-Japanese War became the reason to transfer the remains of Alapaevsk martyrs again to the crypt at the Church of All Holy Martyrs in Beijing. In 1947 in accordance with the order from Moscow Archbishop Victor was told to rebury their remains in the cemetery of the Russian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Mission and that was done.

So Alapaevsk and Chinese martyrs turned out to be in one Russian cemetery.




In 1962 the last divine service in Saint Seraphim of Sarov Church took place. Then the Church was turned into a warehouse and in 1986 during reconstruction in Youth Lake Park the church was completely wrecked.

Photo from: http://www.orthodox.cn




Orthodox historians believe that the above mentioned Russian cemetery has been under golf course




Click on the photo for a closer view.




There are also versions that the cemetery is located at the bottom of the lake. Click on the photo for a closer view.




So simply the history of one separate place may be expunged for less than 100 years.




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Beijing - subsections:
» Beijing (2)
» Beijing Airport Terminal 2 (22)
» Beijing West Railway Station (16)
» Lugou Bridge (Lugouqiao) (20)
» Qi Baishi Former Residence (15)
» Youth Lake Park (Qingnianhu) (16)
» Beijing subway (19)
» Walking around Beijing (26)
» Silk Market (18)
» Zhangqiu Haitai Hotel (29)
» Orange Hotel (6)

© Rem Sapozhnikov, 2014 - <e-mail>
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