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Stepanov-Zorin's House

Stepanov-Zorin's House

Nowadays:

Administration Building

The Stepanov-Zorins is a famous Ufa merchant family of the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, which owned several estates, mansions, stores on various streets of Ufa. The father of the family, Mikhail Stepanov, was born around 1845. He stemmed from the peasants of Bogorodskaya volost of Ufa region. Initially he was a plain shepherd in Stepanovka village to the north of Ufa and Chernikovka district. By 1879 this estate already belonged to Mikhail Stepanov-Zorin. Due to...
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  • How to visit?
      Address:
      55 Karl Marx Street
      Public Transport Stop:
      Dom profsoyuzov
  • History

      The Stepanov-Zorins is a famous Ufa merchant family of the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, which owned several estates, mansions, stores on various streets of Ufa. The father of the family, Mikhail Stepanov, was born around 1845. He stemmed from the peasants of Bogorodskaya volost of Ufa region. Initially he was a plain shepherd in Stepanovka village to the north of Ufa and Chernikovka district. By 1879 this estate already belonged to Mikhail Stepanov-Zorin. Due to the reforms of the 1860s (the abolition of serfage) some former peasants turned into manufacturers, industrialists and landowners. Mikhail Stepanov was among such peasants. Because his surname was so widespread, in the early period of his entrepreneurship he added Zorin to his surname to make it distinguishable.

      The mansion occupies a large land plot. By now only two residential buildings and one outbuilding (confectionary) have survived. The major house of the estate was built at the end of the 19th-early 20th centuries by the family head Mikhail Stepanov in accordance with his own "architectural taste". We may suppose that the building was constructed in several stages. Initially the façade's central part was built, whereas the sides and hinder part with a porch were built later. During the final stage the multistyle building was united with carved stone facing and topped with turrets and two different balconies on the second storey below the turrets. Both featured forged open-work grating and both were supported by stone carriers.

      The postcard of the very beginning of the 20th century shows that the house was still under construction (or reconstruction). The major entrance with carved double-leaf doors was initially located under the balcony in the left part of the front façade. In the 1910s this entrance was removed.

      The architectural taste of the owner was eclectic but original: upon completion the mansion was unlike any other building in Ufa. In line with the Art Nouveau traditions the building was strictly asymmetric. It was topped with two dissimilar turrets at the corners. The walls of both floors at the southern and lower western and northern facades were faced with soft flagstone. The major façade featured the most intricate and intense pattern of the stone decoration. The fine-cut facing stone is a distinctive feature of the mansion. Soft white stone was extracted from Zorin's quarries: Mishcherinsky in Ufa region and Truntaishevsky in Belebei region. The stones were brought to Ufa on horses, whereas details of the intricate decoration were made (ground out and cut from stone) on the site.

      Until 1920s a bas-relief half-length portrait near the front door depicted the house owner holding a horn of plenty with vegetables, fruits, flowers symbolizing prosperity and wealth of the owner. The space between the windows along the major façade included two identical bas-relieves featuring the monogram of the owner's trade company: the Good News from the Noah's dove which was sent by Noah from the Ark to search for land and which returned with a laurel branch in its beak. The cross wise letters M and A (initial letter of the owner's name and patronymic name) imitated Babylonian hieroglyphic script, whereas vertical intertwined letters Z and S (initial letter of the owner's surname) imitated Church Slavonic ligatured script. On the gate posts of the major house and neighboring red-brick house one may scarcely read two identical stone-carved inscriptions which were carefully destroyed: "House of M.A. Stepanov-Zorin" and house numbers 45 and 47. Inside of the house the principal staircase featured two white-stone lions sitting on each side. After 1919 all houses of the estate were municipalized, but the Stepanov-Zorins stayed to live in them.

      In August 1997 the house was occupied by the Scientific and Production Center for Protection and Use of Historical and Cultural Landmarks. At the end of the same year repair-and-renewal operations have started and lasted until the year 2000. Within the four years all interstorey wooden boards have been substituted with reinforced concrete. Mezzanine turrets have also been restored.

      A fence of low-level white posts with open-work grating in-between used to frame the mansion on both sides. But only a part of these poles remained to the east of the major house.

      To the east of the wooden house there is a large two-storey brick house built by Stepanov-Zorin for members of his large family: he had 6 children from the first marriage and 8 children from the second wife. Besides, some of his children already had families of their own. The building was erected in the so-called brick style with the inclusion of white flagstones. The building was obviously constructed in 1905-1910s: the postcard of the very beginning of the 20th century does not depict it. Besides, similar brick style houses were constructed in Ufa in this very period.

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