The Riddle Of The Ravine: A Mysterious Corner In The Heart Of Moscow

The mist in Golosov Ravine. Photo by Mikhail Gordov

The time was the early Nineteenth century. The victims were two ordinary peasant men. They staggered back to their village after twenty long year’s absence. They had not aged a single day since their departure!

The story they had to tell has since become something of a legend. Having had enjoyed a night of revelry, they had wandered into a ravine on the way home. Here they became enveloped in a strange fog. What happened next was that they encountered an outlandish being. This being told them that it would not be easy for them to return from whence they came. It would, however, do what it could to help them–and so here they were!

Retold in Yourguide App this constitutes one of a few such tales that centre on a part of Moscow called Golosov Ravine (Golosov Ovrag).

Local attraction

Once known as Vlasov Ravine, this area overlooks the Moskva River on the South East of the city centre and is situated within Kolomenskoye Park. It used to form part of the road that lead onto the town of Kolomna (best known for producing a type of marshmallow).

Most visitors go there to admire the Church of Ascension (built in 1532 to mark the birth of Ivan the Terrible). Then they might walk on to view the reconstructed wooden palace on Prospekt Andropova and linger en route to check out the stone placed there which commemorates the end of serfdom.

To get there is easy. Just take four stops south on the green line from Teatralnaya to Kolomenskaya. On getting out of the metro, ensure that you are on the side of the main road where the supermarket and row of shops are to be found. Proceed up an incline and you should soon find yourself in a tree-lined avenue. To your left is a café with a terrace, a small basement gym, and then a Japanese restaurant. Ahead of you there will be a large iron gate with a sort of checkpoint (although entrance is free). This is Kolomenskoye estate where, during pre-Communist times, Moscow’s elite of royals and dukes congregated for social events and holidays.

Walk straight ahead for a few yards then hang left. Soon you should reach a wooden stairwell. This will take you down into a winding enclosure that might fit a small car and is around the height of three people. Surrounded as you are by trees and bushes, were it not for the muffled groan of traffic, you could be in the wilds. Welcome to Golosov Ravine….


Sinister limbo

The supernatural reputation that belongs to it makes it, if Geo Meridian portal is to be believed, one of the most anomalous areas in central Russia. Even the very name of the place presents an enigma: does it refer to a snake deity worshipped by pagans for ruling over the afterlife (Volos) or to the voices (“golosa”) of the lost souls marooned there?

The best known instance of the latter tells of a party of mounted Tatars called Khan Devlet Giray. It was in the year 1621 when these men were captured on the grounds of the ravine. On being questioned, the bewildered soldiers explained that they had taken to the field in 1571. They had chanced upon a greenish mist in which they had become disorientated. Now it seemed that they had been catapulted fifty years forward in time! (Geo Meridian)

Furthermore, the news site Russia Beyond the Headlines featured a report by Ekaterina Kostikova called “Fear and Horror in the Big City” (November 24th, 2013). The piece recounts an earlier write up in Moskovskie Vedomosti from 1832 in which locals beheld strange tall entities in the ravine. These were donned in hides and soon vanished back into the fog out of which they had come.

Even up until the twenties, in Soviet times, a Moscow newspaper claimed that a group of Young Pioneers had gone to the ravine to search for a “wood goblin” which had been apprehended by locals in the vicinity (Yourguide App).

Geomerid makes some further claims. No matter how cold the weather turns, they claim, the famed spring water of the area never freezes. Moreover, the General Physics Institute has discovered that electromagnetic radiation registers as twelve times higher than the average there. In fact the stones show up as being twenty seven times above the expected level! (The ravine boasts two ancient stones which are thought to have invigorating properties: the “male” Goose stone, and the “female” Deviy stone).


Anomalous Zone?

Could Golosov Ravine be an anomalous zone: a sort of mini-Bermuda Triangle? There are, after all, those who contend that the Earth is dotted with such hotspots. Places where weird occurrences–disappearances, unknown creatures, time slips, strange physics and weather conditions proliferate.

The Russian Federation, with its vast and sparsely populated land mass seems to hold a fair number of such purported zones. Within Permskaya Oblast, for instance, there lies a village called Molyobka. This area hosted a procession of UFO sightings 25 years back and also features magnetic anomalies. Known as M-zone, it now contains Russia’s only statue to Extraterrestrials. Molyobka may be known outside of Russia, but the areas which feature every week in Anomalni Novosti–the St Petersburg based paranormal newspaper are not.

Monument to the alien Alyosha
Monument to the alien Alyosha

In the light of day

I have crossed through Golosov Ravine on a regular basis. The only beings which I have ever encountered are the New Age types who treat the terrain as a shrine by meditating on the stones and tying coloured ribbons on the trees. Then there are the semi-naked men anointing themselves with the spring water, and an archer who dresses up as a samurai. That and clusters of eager-eyed Chinese tourists.

Then I remind myself that it was only in the 1960’s that this place became an official part of Moscow, and then only between 2006 and 2007 when the local authorities pedestrianised the grounds by installing steps and signs telling of the local flora and fauna.

Have here been any further incidents in recent times? How much has been written on the subject that has never been translated into English? Or, is the whole thing just a patchwork of folk tales designed for the tourist market?

There is only one way to find out. Geomerid claims that the mists are still observed from time to time.

Golosov Ravine is calling to you….

About Edward Crabtree23 Articles
Exiled English provincial trying not to get old too quick by conducting a war of words with banality.

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