The Boratynskies’ Mara Estate

Mara Estate, Evgeny Boratynsky’s birthplace, is one of the most interesting historical sights in Umet district. The poet was born in a noble family in his parents’ country estate in Tambov province. He spent his childhood in the strikingly picturesque environment: the forest filled with singing birds, mushrooms and berries and the Mara River running down the stones noisily.       

Tambov estate near Kirsanov was granted to the poet’s father, Abram Baratynsky, by emperor Paul I in 1796 for his service for the Motherland. When Lieutenant General Abram Baratynsky retired in 1798, together with his brother Bogdan he left the capital for his family estate. Here he had his house built where his first child, Evgeny, was born. In 1804, the Baratynskies moved to Mara Estate that was still under construction. By the 1820s, Mara Estate complex had included a wooden manor house, Ascension Church, “Grot” stone summer pavilion in pseudo-Gothic style, outhouses, a multilevel park with ponds, bridges, cascades and summerhouses, intricate paths along the spring Mara river, orchard, berry plantations and rosary.                

The Boratynskies‘ estate was a kind of a cultural center in the 19th century. Here people recited and discussed poems, had philosophical debates, painted pictures, played music and staged operas. Among the guests were N. I. Krivtsov, E. A. Dmitriev-Mamonov, Baron A. I. Delvig, N. F. Pavlov, A. D. Baratynskaya (born Princess Abamelek-Lazareva), A. M. Zhemchuzhnikov, V. N. Chicherin and his brother B.N. Chicherin and others.   

Evgeny Baratynsky used to come back to Mara and live here for months in 1820-1830. Already in 1837 and especially during his last visit to Mara in autumn of 1840- winter of 1841, he noted sadly that the estate was dilapidating. Here he wrote his famous elegy in Russian called “Desolation”.

During the pogroms of landlords‘ estates in 1905, the estate didn’t suffer. After the revolution of 1917 the estate was nationalized. Soon after that, the manor house was given away to Umet volost committee that caught fire some time later. The estate church was used as a granary until 1954 when it was dismantled into building materials. The family cemetery was plundered.        

The only remained building today houses Sofinskaya school with E. A. Boratynsky museum in it.

The restored Boratynskies’ family tomb is located not far away from the former manor house.

Sofinka village, Umet district, Tambov region
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