Pryguny in Baja California, Mexico
Pryguny en Baja California, México

Click for sattelite imageBy Andrei Conovaloff — Updated : 10 January 2018, 2 cemeteries added.

From 1905-1910, a mixture of Spiritual Christian faiths from South Russia, mostly Pryguny (jumpers, saltadores), purchased land and settled in 4 farming colonies near Ensenada, North Baja California, Mexico. Not all were ethnic Russians, and were of various non-Orthodox faiths from South Russia. Locals simply called them Los Rusos (people from Russia).
  1. Guadalupe — formerly Ex-Misión Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the main colony, ~20+ square miles purchased in 1907, is now around the town of Francisco Zarco, Guadalupe Valley, 50 miles south of San Diego, California, and 15 miles north-east of Ensenada.
  2. San Antonio de las Minas, about half-way between Guadalupe and Ensenada.
  3. Mision del Orno, west of Guadalupe, along the coast.
  4. Punta Banda, south of Ensenada, on the coast..
They also rented as much as 50 square miles from about 10 nearby ranches, mostly for grazing. In 1918 and 1919, these Pryguny grew 90% of the wheat in  northern Baja California, about 9000 acres, 14 mi2

Their official identity to the Mexican government was "Russian settlers" (colonos rusos). Their official faith was Prygun, Dukhovnikh kristian pryguny (English: Spiritual Christian Jumpers, Spanish: Espirituales cristians saltadores).

Most of the land they purchased was paid for in wheat, when delivered to the Pacifico Flour Mill, Ensenada. Oral history reports they paid off their debt much sooner than projected by Attorney Donald Baker who brokered the land deal, bank loan and built the mill.

The settlers left 3 cemeteries, in (1) Francisco Zarco, Guadalupe Valley (community, 131 graves); (2) Ensenada (private, 36 graves); and (3) San Antonio de Las Minas (private, 9 graves). They had 2 meeting halls, in (1) Guadalupe (conserved), and (2) San Antonio (demolished).

Not all original settlers were ethnic Russian, and a few Baptist and Orthodox families from Russia also lived in Ensenada.

Today three museums and one "Russo" restaurant / gift shop compete for tourists. One museum is government owned, two are privately owned by Samarins and Bibayoffs. The prayer house in Guadalupe Valley is closed, last used for a funeral in 1992, but tours are provided by caretaker Gabe Kachirisky when he is available. Bus wine-tours mostly come from cruise ships in Ensenada, and occasionally from the San Diego area.

Many books, papers, articles, web sites, a film and 2 Ph.D. theses have documented these colonies. The most illustrative book was written and self published by former resident George Mohoff: The Russian Colony of Guadalupe: Pryguny Molokans in Mexico (with many errors). Most sources have errors which are corrected here when found. The major error is not reporting that the faith of the 2 congregations was Prygun, and they were "Spiritual Christian Pryguny from Russia."

On this page is a collection of online information in English (comments and corrections in red), in Spanish and in Russian (with machine translations), a book/article list and web sites with photos and videos, with one photo gallery in Russian. All of the references to "Molokans" are in error. The immigrants came from diverse faiths of mostly non-Orthodox people from Russia, most of whom practiced the Prygun faith in Mexico.

The 2 congregations (Guadalupe, San Antonio) were undoubtedly given the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, 1928), but did not place it on their altar tables in their meeting halls as a replacement for the New Testament, or amendment to the Bible, as did most Prygun congregations in Southern California who converted to Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths. The book was kept on a shelf in the meeting hall if anyone wanted to use it. Therefore, the Mexico Pryguny remained constant (postoyannie) to their Prygun faith. They did not convert to a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith in Mexico. But, when descendants of these Prygun people from Russia moved from Mexico to Southern California, to maintain within the cultural sphere of the Spiritual Christian diaspora in the U.S.A., they had to attend a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith prayer hall because the Prygun faith in the U.S.A. was extinguished by the more aggressive Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths. Many reluctantly converted.

Within a decade of settling in Mexico, waves of attempts to leave in groups began.
  • 1916 — About 22 families of the Tiukma congregation moved to Chino Valley,Yavapai County, Arizona, led by Pivovaroff, sponsored by the Hasayampa Alfalfa Farms Company.
  • 1919 — Several families were loaned money by Ed Fletcher to escape to his San Ysirdro Ranch, south San Diego County, California.
  • 1926 — The Canadian Pacific Railroad arranged with Pivovaroff for a block-settlement in central Alberta province, Canada. Would be co-signers and colonists in Los Angeles backed-down after scouting the territory offered, which was near a Doukhobor commune.  
  • 1938 — About 10 families got bank loans to buy 200 acres near Ramona, south San Diego County, California.
  • 1940s-1950s — About 20 families settled in a neighborhood near the Prohoroff Poultry Farm, San Marcos, north San Diego County, California. They built a meeting hall, and 2 adjacent streets were named Shubin and Bolotin Lanes. Several remain.
By the end of 1960s, most had begun to move to California, U.S.A. Some who were not married to Pryguny in Mexico intermarried in California with Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki, but had to convert to those faiths. None intermarried with Spiritual Christian Molokane in Northern California. Many original Russian-style buildings remain preserved in Valle de Guadalupe. In 2008, more than 100 descendants of these non-Orthodox people from Russia were counted in the regional phone book for Ensenda-Tijuana. By the year 2000, probably more than 1000 descendants resided in Mexico, nearly all intermarried and assimilated, and of those very few are interested in the history of their heritage from Russia.

  1. Dukh-i-zhizniki in America : An update of Molokans in America (Berokoff, 1969): Chapter 2: The First Years
  2. Detailed maps: Ruta del Vino (Wine Route), Google Earth, Wikimapia.
  3. The Baja Beat: The Russians of Guadalupe Valley, by Greg Niemann, The San Clement Journal
  4. Ens-Guad Trip May 4, 2002 — Lynn & Bev's Tour in Baja
  5. State Museum: Russian Community Museum of Guadalupe Valley
  6. Rancho Guadalupe Cemetery, Baja, Lower Calif., Mexico — Posted by George "Ghrishka" Bolderoff, with Comments.
  7. Mexico's Russian Colony  /  La Comunidad Rusa en Mexico — Posted in 1996 on "History of Mexican Peoples" by Dr. David Rojas,
  8. Trying to Recapture Russian Emigres' Life in Mexico, Living Among Ghosts Brings a Strange Peace — By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002
  9. Contract to Maintain Mexico Church, with G. A. Kashirisky — June 1, 1992
  10. Pacifist Community Perserves, By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Daily News
  11. Transplanted Sakhaliner: Cheurniy Kleb [Black Bread] in Baja, Mexico, The Sakhalin Times — Oct 9, 2004, Updated Aug 24, 2005
  12. Historic Monument Planned, by George Mohoff
  13. USC's Russian Club: Russians in Mexico, Web site of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and Russian Club, University of California, Los Angeles.
  14. Chapter 2: The Russians of Guadalupe del Norte, by Marion  Smothers. Vintage Baja: Adventures of a Gringa in Lower California, 1993.
  15. Morris Photo Art — 4 photos of grave markers in the Guadalupe Valley cemetery.
  16. Ivan Guryevich Samarin (1857-1948) — the "Great Spiritual Christian Molokan Communicator", The Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan Review, 1949.
  17. Photo: 5 Babeshoff sisters, from "Russian Americans,"  by Paul Robert Magocsi.
  18. Mexico: A destination specialist course. (PDF), by The Travel Institute, 2004.
  19. Baja Legends: The Historic Characters, Events and Locations That Put Baja California on the Map, by Greg Niemann, 2002
  20. Bodega Bibayoff, jAzZblOg, March 27, 2006.
  21. The Russian Colony of Guadalupe Valley Molokans in Mexico, book by George W. Mohoff, 226 pages, 1995.
  22. Books and theses about Russian Spiritual Christians in Mexico at public libraries, listed at WorldCat
  23. 3 Videos in English, Spanish, Russian, English —
  24. Bitter Blow to Pryguny Molokane: Wife Dies While He’s Far Away Seeking Fortune, Los Angeles Times, Nov 24, 1905, pg. II6.
  25. Russian Colonists Going to Mexico: Prguny Molokanes on the Move, Los Angeles Times, August 23, 1907, page II3
  26. Electricity Spells Triumph for Russ Colony in Mexico, Los Angeles Times, dated May 30, 1949, page 2, with 6 photos.
  27. Angel of Guadalupe, by Ed Ainsworth, Los Angeles Times, Jan 29, 1954, page A5.
  28. Tractor Crossing: Federal Court Convicts 'Angel of Guadalupe', Los Angeles Times, Oct 13, 1955, page A8.
  29. Russian Cuisine in the Guadalupe Valley, Gastronomic Route, Baja California State Tourism
  30. Prygun Molokan Descendants in Mexico, Compatriots "United Russia", February 12, 2007
  31. BAJA WINE - BIBAYOFF: From Russia with Love, Spirit and Wine, Baja Times, Volume I, Number 96 January 1-15, 2009
  32. The Russian ColonyMoon Travel Guides [Mexico], January 9, 2009
  33. From Kars to Mexico: Russian Pryguny Molokans at the other end of the world, RIA News, July 3, 2009
  34. Bibayoff, Russian tradition settled in México (photos), Gina Naya, Food & Wine web site.
  35. Was this Russian art rug woven by Pryguny in Mexico? Question by Cheron Frazier
  36. Mexico's valley of wine, Sacramento Bee, January 6, 2010 
  37. Cemetery : 131 Names of Spiritual Christians buried in Guadalupe, "Appendix E", The Russian Colony of Guadalupe Pryguny Molokans in Mexico, by George W. Mohoff, 1995, pages 223-226. The cemetery in Ensenada has not been surveyed.
  38. Russian Vintners Win Gold at Baja California Wine Event, Vino-Tourism by Steve Dryden  August 31, 2009
  39. Analect 2.734x: Prygun Molokan, an older man with scythe, Russian harvest. Valley of Guadalupe, BC
    by painter Anthony Dubovsky, San Diego, California, June 16, 2010
  40. In Vino Vendimia (In The Grape Harvest), Los Angeles Times Magazine, August 2010. — "heritage" was Spiritual Christian Prygun, who were granted military exemption during settlement in 1905.
  41. "The Real Ensenada: Ensenada to Tecate," in Weekend Driver: San Diego, by Jack Brandais, Sunbelt Publications, Inc., Oct 1, 2003, pages 139-141. — Map and photo inside museum. Only varieties Spiritual Christian Pryguny came here from Russia, no "Molokans."

Руский Russian
  1. Потомки прыгун молокан в Мексике, Соотчесвенники "Русь Единая", 2007-02-12
  2. От Карса до Мексики: русские прыгуны молокане на другом конце светаx, РИА Новости, 03.07.2009

Español — Spanish. [Machine translated from Spanish to English online.]
  1. Los orígenes de la migración rusa a Baja California  José Luis González López, Bertha Paredes Acevedo, Calafia: Revista de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana. Nueva época, vol.  I, núms. 1-8, enero 2001-diciembre 2004.
    Universidad Autonóma de Baja California, Instituto de Invetigaciónes Históricas, Tijuana
    [Machine translated: The origins of the Russian migration to Baja California. By José Luis Gonzalez Lopez, Bertha Paredes Acevedo. Calafia: Magazine of the Independent University of Baja California, Tijuana. New time, vol. I, nos. 1-8, January 2001-December 2004. University of Baja California, Department of Investigative History, Tijuana.]
  2. Molokanes y el Vino Ruso en Guadalupe. Nota publicada el 13 de agosto de 2005. Por Elizabeth Vargas
    [Machine translated: Molokans and Russian Vine in Guadalupe. Published August 13, 2005, by Elizabeth Vargas]
  3. Mexican Vistas: La Comunidad Rusa en Mexico, By James Clifford Safley, Editor, San Diego Union. 1952
    [Translated by Dr Rojas from the original English article: Mexico's Russian Colony]
  4. El Museo Comunitario del Valle de Guadalupe, Ejemplo de la Diversidad Cultural de Baja California, Gabriela Olivares. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Un proyecto del PACMyC.
    [Machine translated: The Community Museum of Guadalupe Valley, An Example of the Cultural Diversity of Baja California, by Gabriela Olivares. National Counsel for Culture and Arts, a project of PACMyC.]
  5. Se extinguen los rusos de la Sierra de Juarez. México amargo, By Manuel Mejido 1980. Pages 19-22
    [The Russians of the Juarez mountain range are extinguished", in Bitter Mexico]
  6. "Capítulo XX: El Valle de Guadalupe". Historia de Baja California: De Cueva Pintada a la Modernidad, 2 edición.
    Antonio Ponce Aguilar. 2002.
    ["Chapter XX: Guadalupe Valley". History of Baja California: A Modern Painted Cave, 2 edition. By Antonio Ponce Aguilar, 2002.]
  7. Hacia un Plan de Manejo del Agua en Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California. A. Baddan,, p. 45-64. II Seminario Internacional de Vitivinicultura, 3 y 4 Agosto de 2005, Ensenada, B.C. Mexico. Ciencia. Revista de la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias. 2005.
    ["Designing a plan for handling water in Guadalupe Valley, Baja California". By A. Baddan, (and others). Pages 45-64. 2005 II Seminar of the International Vitivinicultura,  August 3-4, 2005, Ensenada, B.C. Mexico. Science. Magazine of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.]
  8. “El último refugio. Los rusos saltos molokanos del valle de Guadalupe, Baja California”. Gómez Estrada, José Alfredo.  México, en: Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación, 6ª época, agosto-octubre de 2003, no. 1, p. 137-152.
    ["The last refuge. The Pryguny from Russia Russian Molokans of Guadalupe Valley, Baja California". Gomez Estrada, Jose Alfredo. Mexico, in: Bulletin of the General archives of the Nation, 6th edition, August-October of 2003, no. 1, pages 137-152.]
  9. YouTube Video: Mexican indigenous Russians rusos русскиe (6:37 min) English text, Spanish conversation.
  10. Los Saltos Molokanes el el Valle de Gaudalupe, Grupo Enologico Mexicano, Excelsior 2002
    [Machine translated: Pryguny Molokans in Guadalupe Valley, Mexican Ethnic Groups, Excelsior 2002]
  11. 23/08: Altos impuestos sacan del mercado al vino mexicano, COPARMEX
    Aug. 23, 2008: Higher taxes put them out of the Mexican wine market
  12. 30 Fotos de bibayoff, (30 photos of David Bibyoff ranch) Panoramio (6 photos are nearby locations)
  13. Los descendientes Priguni Molokans en México, Compatriotas "Русь Único", El 12 de febrero de 2007
  14. Inmigración rusa en México, Spanish  [Machine translated: Rusian immigration in Mexico]
  15. El Reportaje, La Ventana de Ensenada 2009 [Feature, Window to Ensenada, 2009]
  16. "Rusia en México," Baja California, tierra incógnita, by Fernando Jordán, 2001, pages 51-56.

Photo and video websites
  1. Irina's Gallery (Russian), Baja California, Mexico,  Feb 24, 2007 —138 photos (offline)
    Photos 24-31: Guadalupe restaurant, museum — Photos 48-50: Bibayoff and Dalgoff house
  2. Ens-Guad Trip May 4, 2002 — Lynn & Bev's Tour in Baja
  3. Rancho Guadalupe Molokan Cemetery, Baja, Lower Calif., Mexico — Posted by George "Ghrishka" Bolderoff, with Comments.
  4. Russians in Mexico, Website of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and Russian Club, University of California, Los Angeles
  5. Morris Photo Art — 4 photos of Mexican-Russian grave markers
  6. Photo of 5 Babeshoff sisters, in Gale Multicultural America Encyclopedia: Russian Americans
  7. 3 Videos in English, Spanish, Russian, English —
  8. Rancho Torros Pintos (Bibayoff), ~50 photos of Bibayoiff ranch and area,
  9. Bibayoff, Russian tradition settled in México (photos), Gina Naya, Food & Wine web site
  10. Photo Wineries/, 2 images of entrance and courtyard
  11. Pryguny Molokans in Mexico: Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico — 79 photos Babishoffs, Nov 10, 2009, Picasaweb. 
  12. Ghriska's Fotki Photo Albums, by George Bolderoff who started with his family tree and grew — 3 sections about Mexico.
  13. Photo: Mexican squatters' shacks in Russian community in Guadalupe, Mexico, Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1966.

6 Videos added 30 July 2016

  1. Vía Tijuana - Un Valle muy Ruso (By way of Tijuana — A very Russian valley), (video, 6:26 min.) YouTube, March 12, 2012. — Conozca la historia de la comunidad rusa que se asentó en el Valle de Guadalupe. (Learn the history of the Russian community that settled in the Guadalupe Valley.)  
  2. Familia Rusa Samarin Valle de Guadalupe (Russian Family Samarin in Guadalupe Valley) (video, 4:30 min.),  Todos Santos, October 1, 2012. — Tour of the Samarin house museum and restaruant kitchen cooking. 
  3. Russians in Mexico (video, 5:18 min), Laura Castaneda, SDCC Borderstories, San Diego City College, Channel 4 San Diego Insider, October 23, 2013— Interview with Kachirsky — 1930 land loan paid. 1931 first interracial marriage. 17 pure-blooded residents remain. Museum planned in 1990s. Cancho Samarin curator of her family museum and restaurant. Maria de Los Angeles curator of govenment owned museum across the street. Dr. Teresa Muranaka describes cemetery. 
  4. Proyecto Cimarrón "Museo Ruso en Valle de Guadalupe" (Cimarron project "Russian Museum in Valle de Guadalupe") (video, 5:08 min.), Imagen (University of Baja California TV), May 21, 2014 — En esta ocasión en un recorrido por el Valle de Guadalupe descubriremos la historia de la comunidad rusa y su aportación gastronómica en la vida de este lugar (This time on a tour of the Guadalupe valley discover the history of the Russian community and its gastronomic contribution to the life of this place) — Interview with Francisco Samarin at restaurant brick oven, tour the Samarin house museum. Documentary video produced by students.
  5. Notivisa Ensenada - Comunidad rusa en Valle de Guadalupe (The Russian community in the Guadalupe Valley)  (video, 3:00 min), 23-XHS (Ensenada television), October 9, 2014 — Descendientes de rusos que llegaron al Valle de Guadalupe cuentan su historia. (Descendants of Russians who arrived in the Valley of Guadalupe tell their story.) — Interviewes with Miguel Samarin Dalgoff and Gabriel Kachirsky Kotoff. 
  6. Museo Ruso en Valle de Guadalupe (The Russian Museum in Guadalupe Valley) (video, 2:28 min.),  by Jorge Orta, February 14, 2016. — Vista al valle de Guadalupe en ensenada, Baja California (View of the Guadalupe Valley in Ensenada, Baja, California) — Short tour of Samarin house museum. 

Links to some of many websites that mention Spiritual Christians in Mexico
  1. Grass Roots Guerrilla of South Twin Lake, by Carl J. Nelson. 1980. Pages 320-324
  2. Two tales of a city: People building roots, San Diego Union-Tribune, March 9, 1995.
  3. Baja's travel outfitters: a tour through the ranks, The San Diego Union-Tribune. April 13, 1995. Page 62.
  4. Fertile valley helps Mexican wines grow in quality, sales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mar 19, 2000. Page 20A.
  5. The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada (Internet newsletters)
  6. A taste of Mexico days of wine and chocolate, The Gazette (Montreal,, November 12, 2005.
  7. Ensenada, Baja California.
  8. Ensenada. Visitor Information: Day Three
  9. Ensenada Road To Tecate, Towards Guadalupe Valley: Monte Xanic
  10. Backgrounders: Wine, Mexican Tourism Board, Press Room. Copied at: The Wines of Baja Norte
  11. A taste of Napa in Baja: The Guadalupe Valley is home to wineries and a historic Russian community, The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 16, 2004  Page: 31. ERROR:  Spiritual Christians DID NOT come to America through Alaska.
  12. A taste of Mexico days of wine and chocolate, by Julian Armstrong, The Gazette (Montreal, Canada), November 12, 2005.
    Copied at: BajaNomad » Baja Travel Articles » A taste of Mexico days of wine and chocolate
  13. Baja California Wine Country: Guadalupe Valley, by Steve Dryden
  14. Mexican wines and wineries: Getting to Know Mexican Wine and Russian History, “Vino-Tourism” by Steve Dryden
  15. Baja's wine surprise: A short drive from Ensenada, vineyards and tasting rooms are flourishing, San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2005.
  16. The Samarin's of Francisco Zarco: Within the Valley of Guadalupe - A garden paradise by Malecon, Francisco Zarco Pages, update: Jun 20, 2006. Photo: "Norma Samarin at her panderia".
  17. Environmental Assessment of Impacts from a Liquefied Natural Gas Facility in Baja California, Mexico. University of Wyoming, School of Environment and Natural Resources. ENR 4900/5900 Class Project, Spring 2007. Pages 91-93
  18. Case Study: Baja Bottled, by Toby Cecchini. The New York Times Magazine: Travel. March 25, 2007
  19. The Talk: Case Study; Baja Bottled, New York Times, March 25, 2007.
  20. Wine, Music and Food Festivals in Baja California, Mexico, Vino-Tourism by Steve Dryden, June 9, 2008.
  21. Wine Country News in Mexico, by Steve Dryden. Mexico Living, January 1, 2009.
  22. The Joy of Living in Mexico’s Finest Wine Country, Vino-Tourism by Steve Dryden, October 26, 2009.
  23. White Mexican,
1. Dukh-i-zhizniki in AmericaChapter 2

Click for sattelite image … agents for a large tract of land in Lower California, Mexico, learning of the immigrants' Molokan desire to establish a farming community, contacted them early in 1905 1906 with a proposition to sell them the tract which was called Rancho Guadalupe and on terms within reach of people who were still impoverished from their emigration from Russia.

This tract of land consisting of 13,000 acres [20.3 square miles] was located 60 miles south of the United States-Mexico border, in a pretty valley [Spanish: Valle de Guadalupe] through which flowed a small stream but which turned into a torrent after a rain storm. The land was capable of producing a good crop of wheat in a rainy year but was also subjected to cycles of dry years …

… 50 families were attracted to the proposition to purchase the tract. Led by Vasili Gavrilitch Pivovaroff and Ivan G. Samarin the land was bought for the sum of $40,000 and a site was selected for a village in the style of their native Russia, except that, for lack of logs, the houses were built of adobe in the style of Mexico. [I.G. Samarin and C. P de Blumenthal signed the contract for the Russian colony. Price ~$3.08/acre.]
  1. The title to the whole tract of land was vested in the names of three trustees.
  2. No grant deeds or other evidence of ownership were issued to the individual owners. The names of individual owners were simply recorded in a community book, which was entrusted to a person elected for that purpose.
  3. A government surveyor never officially surveyed the land nor was the subdivision recorded in government archives. Apparently, to save the cost of a qualified surveyor, they chose the method that was used by their fathers and forefathers in Russia. Measuring off a length of rope and using natural and artificial markers, such as large imbedded rocks or trees, they did the job in their own crude manner and proceeded to allot the land to the individual owners.
... the whole colony of 50 families were divided into 10 family units of five families to a unit. The whole tract of land was then divided into several sections, each section suitable for a certain crop. Thus there was a section of river bottom land; another section at higher level and suitable for raising grain, a hill-side section for raising hay and a section of untillable mountainous land which was left undivided for community use as cattle pasture. Each section of tillable land was then subdivided into ten parcels for which the ten family units proceeded to draw lots for their share of each category. The family units then drew lots for ownership of their individual parcels according to the need of each family.

… in 1952 squatters from the city of Mexicali, discovering that no deeds were recorded to some of the colonist's land, forcibly settled upon the land and despite the intervention of Federal, troops, at times successfully claimed ownership thereto through squatters rights. … After these raids of squatters … all but a very few families emigrated to the United States, and the colony as such ceased to exist. [Now the town is named Fransico Zarco, and 3 museums and a restaurant serving Russian food have been created to provide employment and attract tourists.]

2. Detailed Maps

Ruta del Vino (Wine Route) with landmarks. Shows highway #3 route in red from Pacific Coast Highway (1), just north of Ensenada, to the north edge of the former Russian town of Francisco Zarco. Turn left through town, until the road bends, about 2 miles. Find 2 museums and Samarin Family Restaurant across the street from each other just past the prayer house. About 5 miles farther southwest find the Bibayoff winery (#15) with a 3rd museum. Or, go northeast to the hot springs (#46). Click maps to enlarge.
Click to
Click to

3. The Baja Beat: The Russians of Guadalupe Valley, by Greg Niemann, The San Clement Journal


4. Ens-Guad Trip May 4, 2002 Lynn & Bev's Tour in Baja
Photos 9 thru 51 were taken in Guadalupe showing the town, museums, church and cemetery. Posted by George "Ghrishka" Bolderoff


5. State Museum: Russian Community Museum of Guadalupe Valley
Secretaría de Turismo del Estado de Baja California:
Ruta del Vino: Miseos y Sitios Historicos :

Museo Comunitario Ruso del Valle de Guadalupe
Ubicado en un inmueble de la antigua colonia Rusa, cuenta con una pequeña exposición de memorabilia rusa y objetos indígenas. Recorridos guiados al sitio misional, aguas termales, pinturas rupestres y comunidades indígenas, previa cita. De la carretera #3 tomar el camino principal pasando frente al Centro de Salud IMSS hasta llegar al museo, ubicado a la izquierda del camino, casi frente al Museo Comunitario del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).

Av. Principal # 276
Valle de Guadalupe, B.C.
Tel. (646) 155-2030
Secretary of Tourism, State of Baja California:
Wine Route:
Historical Museums and Sites

Russian Community Museum of Guadalupe Valley 
There is a small Russian exhibition of memorabilia and indigenous objects located in a building of the old Russian colony. Routes guided the misional site, thermal waters, cave paintings and indigenous communities, previous appointment needed. From highway #3, take the main road passing in front of the Center of Health IMSS until arriving at the museum, located to the left of the road, almost in front of the Communitarian Museum of the National Institute of Anthropology and Historia (INAH).

Main Ave. # 276
Guadalupe Valley, B.C.
Tel. (646) 155-2030
Museo Comunitario Ruso
del Valle de Guadalupe

Estado:: Baja California

Ubicado en un inmueble de la antigua colonia Rusa, en el Valle de Guadalupe, en Baja California.

Russian Community Museum
of Guadalupe Valley

State: Baja California

Located in a building of the former Russian colony in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.
En 1905 llegaron los primeros colonos rusos pertenecientes al grupo Pryguny (Espirituales cristians saltadores) Malakhanys (Molokan) “molocanes” que quiere decir “los saltadores bebedores de leche”, venían de Rusia encabezados por Basilio Pivavaroff, Basilio Tolmasoff y Simeón Babichoff quienes se encargaron de la colonización del Valle de Guadalupe en Ensenada.

En el inicio se establecieron 60 familias, que se dedicaron principalmente a la crianza de gansos, patos, a la agricultura y siembra de uva y trigo.

Actualmente, se puede visitar a algunas familias como Martha y Gabriel Kachirisky que siguen con esta tradición, hacen el pan con la receta original rusa y comidas típicas rusas para grupos pequeños.

Este museo, cuenta con una pequeña exposición de memorabilia rusa y objetos indígenas. ofrece platillos rusos, así como la venta de queso, pan y vino artesanal.

También Podrás dar un recorrido guiado al sitio misional, aguas termales, pinturas rupestres y comunidades indígenas.

Como llegar::

Por aire, al Aeropuerto Internacional General Abelardo L. Rodríguez, en la carretera Internacional s/n, en el municipio de Tijuana, arriban diariamente un promedio de 120 vuelos, procedentes de distintas ciudades de México y los Estados Unidos.
In 1905 the first settlers were Spiritual Christian Pryguny arrived from the Russian group  Malakhanys (Molokan) "molocanes", which means "jumpers milk drinkers". They came from Russia headed by Basil (Vasili) Pivavaroff , Basil Tolmasoff, and Simeón Babichoff who were responsible for the colonization of the Guadalupe Valley in Ensenada.

At the start there were 60 families who were devoted primarily to raising geese, ducks, agriculture and planting grapes and wheat.

Currently, you can visit some families such as Martha and Gabriel Kachirisky who continue with this tradition. They make bread made with the original Russian recipe and Russian food for small groups.

This museum has a small exhibition of objects and memorabilia from the Russian natives. They serve Russian dishes, sele cheese, bread and fine wine.

You can also take a guided tour to the mission site, hot springs, cave paintings and indigenous communities.

Getting there: 

By air, at the International Airport General Abelardo L. Rodriguez, the International Road s / n, in the municipality of Tijuana, arriving an average of 120 daily flights from various cities in Mexico and the United States.

— Radio MIL, NRM Communications

6. Rancho Guadalupe Molokan Cemetery, Baja, Lower Calif., Mexico  (Offline. To be re-posted.)
21 photos posted by George "Ghrishka" Bolderoff (1942-2013). Find more info on his Comments page (Offline. To be re-posted.) 
Also see: Cemetery Names of Russian Spiritual Christians in Mexico
Click to ENLARGE

Also see cemetery from satellite

7. Mexico's Russian Colony  / In Spanish: La Comunidad Rusa en Mexico
Posted in 1996 on "History of Mexican Peoples" by Dr. David Rojas, Instituto Cultural "Raices Mexicanas" and Assoc. Professor Ethnomusicology, University of California, Santa Barbara. Translated from Mexican Vistas, by James Clifford Safley. 1952. — In 1996 Dr. Rojas created a website — — mainly about Mexican dance. He is also interested in culture and included this article. This excerpt was the first significant information about Russian Spiritual Christians on the Internet, appearing nearly a year before the Molokan Home Page in 1997. Soon this article was found by a Molokan in Russia, Vitaly (Samudorov?) who e-mailed asking about relatives not contacted since 1920. Vitaly's request fascinated Dr. Rojas who took a trip to find these Russians in Mexcio and tells how he happened upon the village museum — Museo Comunitario de El Valle De Guadalupe — at the end of his first issue of "El Mitote", November 1996. He briefly tells about  meeting Andrés and Sonya Samudoroff and giving them a letter from Russia. Later Dr Rojas tried to help the new museum by donating a computer and looking for someone to help create an inventory of artifacts in the village. See Correspondence with Dr. Rojas in 1997.
8. Trying to Recapture Russian Emigres' Life in Mexico
Living Among Ghosts Brings a Strange Peace

By Jessica Garrison — Los Angeles Times  —  December 1, 2002

The few descendants of a religious sect that fled czar's empire 100 years ago now put faith in trading on heritage to keep their ancestry alive.

9. Contract to Maintain Mexico Church, with G. A. Kashirisky
Colonia Rus de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico;  Los Angeles, CA — June 1, 1992

10. Pacifist Community Perserves
By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Daily News
The Arizona Republic, March 19, 1995, Travel Section, Page T6
11. Transplanted Sakhaliner: Cheurniy Kleb [Black Bread] in Baja, Mexico
The Sakhalin Times — Oct 9, 2004, Updated Aug 24, 2005
Good history with news that recent Russian immigrants want to live there. Excerpts:

Losha was one of the first Russian students to study in Anchorage, Alaska. He left Sakhalin in the early 90s and has never come back. He prolonged his studies in Alaska and got a job in San Diego, where he lived till 2000. Like most Russians abroad, he felt homesick, but didn’t “want to go back to the hardships.” His life changed for the better when he came to know about the Pryguny Molokhans .. a Russian community settled in the Guadalupe valley in Baja California, Mexico ... “They are honest, hard-working, frugal, peaceful, God-fearing people, who have been through numerous hardships and who do not expect rewards except those that come from toil. Simplicity is the keynote of their lives,” says Losha. “This place is like a Russian version of the movie ‘The Village’”. The people freely offer information on the history of the colony and the ideals for which they strive, and invited the visitors to return. ... In spite of the fact the colony was founded almost one hundred years ago, the traditions are well preserved. “I feel like I am the future of this place,” adds Losha. Losha has invited many old friends from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to come and settle in the colony, which he feels is the only piece of the “good old Russia” on earth.

Click to ENLARGE12. Historic Monument Planned

The proposed monument will be in front of the meeting-prayer hall-assembly (sobraniya) along the street fence, on a fenced courtyard slab about 8 feet on each side. There will be 2 entry ways from the street. The monument will be 5 ft. high — a 3-foot high tablet sitting on a 2-foot high base which is 30-inch square. George Mohoff died in 2009, and his wish to erect this monument has not yet been fulfilled.

Click to ENLARGE13. USC's Russian Club: Russians in Mexico
Website of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and Russian Club, University of California, Los Angeles. — 6 photos. (There were 9 museum photos taken about 2001). The sign says: "Russian Community Museum and Restaurant, Russian Kitchen / Local artwork and samples from 10 vineyards / Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Sunday / Guadalupe Valley since 1991, Telephone: 016-155-2030" [click on sign photo to enlarge] [All Russian Club photos.]


14. Chapter 2: The Russians of Guadalupe del Norte
In Vintage Baja: Adventures of a Gringa in Lower California, by Marion  Smothers — The travels of late archaeologist and Peabody Institute Fellow Marion Smothers were published in 1993 by Bueno Books. Currently out-of-print, excerpts from this book have been made available to Ensenada Baja News-Gazette. "Editors Notes" at bottom show this photo and tells about the museum, where to : "Sample authentic Russian dishes prepared by the friendly Samarin family in the tiny restaurant". — Abbreviated text below with comments in red

The Pryguny Malakans (also spelled "Molokans"), a Russian farming religious sect, purchased the valley, now known as Guadalupe, from the Mexican government in 1905. How they made their way from Czarist Russia to Canada*, through the United States to an obscure spot in the mesa land of Lower California, appears to be lost in the mists of history. The price is said to have been more than $50,000 [$40,000]. A village site was laid out: building lots, a wide street, the church of their native Russia, a windmill, irrigation ditches and communal fields. [* Only a few Spiritual Christian scouts stopped in Canada to visit Doukhobors but were told that Los Angeles has more jobs and better climate. Many immigrant in Mexico never got to the US due to visa problems. For details online, see Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Chapter 2 — The First Years.]

As we explored the neat village, we marveled at being transported back into an exotic peasant community. Red-bearded men greeted us with grave courtesy; their womenfolk, starched aprons over long skirts, shyly smiled from the doorways of peak-roofed houses. Window boxes overflowed with bright flowers. A sauna-type bath house shared space with each kitchen garden. Sleek dairy herds (Malakan translated as Milk Drinker) were sheltered in sturdy barns when not browsing the lush pastures. We kept our distance from flocks of aggressive geese and colonies of bee hives.

However, one encroachment of the modern world charmed us. Half-naked Indian lads were playing soccer with their Russian friends. Even more surprising, the Indians were shouting in Russian during the heat of the game. ...  Indian genes have mixed with Russian and Mexican to evolve into the mestizo. ... The Pryguny Malakans have left their graves among what is now an ejido [Indian] cemetery — and the legacy of a few red-headed Mexicans. [This is the first documentation taboo racial mixing of white Pryguny in the New World.]

15. Morris Photo Art — 4 photos of grave markers


16. Ivan Guryevich Samarin (1857-1948) — the "Great Spiritual Christian Molokan Communicator"
Reproduced from the pages of the Molokan Review, 1949, by Jon Kalmakoff on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website.
... Samarin and Pivovaroff selected found and bought for the Brotherhood a plot of land in Guadalupe, Lower California, Mexico, where Pivovaroff made his home. ...  the entire task of helping the migrants was left in Samarin's hands. ... In March 1906, Samarin, with translator/agent P. A. Demens, on behalf of his fellow Pryguny Molokans, traveled to Mexico City and personally received the guaranties of religious freedom and suspension of customs duties for the Prygun Molokan colony at Guadalupe. Then he carried protracted negotiations regarding land grants in Lower California, at Rosario with Taras P. Tolmasoff and other  Prygun Molokan representatives, and at Santa Rosa with P.M. Shubin, Ivan K. Mechikoff and many others. ...

17. 5 Babeshoff sisters

I first saw this 1947 photo (below) in the section "Russians", in the Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, 1995. This encyclopedia has essays on 152 culture groups in the U.S., but this section about Spiritual Christians still has mistakes. Most of the section with this photo appears on the web site as Countries and Their Cultures: Multicultural America: Russian Americans, by Paul R. Magocsi, professor University of Toronto, Canada.

The the original text and the caption online (below: "Taken in 1947 ... ") omits that the location is in rural Mexico, 35 miles south of the US border. The photo shows 5 of 7 daughters of George & Hazel (Samarin) Babeshoff (above), born and raised in the Guadalupe Valley. All 7 girls married Spiritual Christians, moved to California and by 2010 died. Left to right: Vera (1-married Joe Jacob Kosareff, Bakersfield ), Dunia (2-married Nick William Bogdanoff, Bakersfield), Irene (3-married John Portnoff, Bakersfield), Hazel (4-married William Alex Dobrenen, Shafter), Lucy (5-married David Valoff, Los Angeles). Irene(3) and Lucy(5) were twins. Not shown are sisters Mary (6-married Roy Joe Kulikov, Fresno) and Anna (7-married James Morris Melosardoff, Fresno) — Thanks to niece Hanya Kulikov for names.
Click to ENLARGE
Taken in 1947, this photograph demonstrates the influence of American fashion on traditional Russian dress.
The lace shawls of these women are called
kascinkas [kasinki]
; their high-heeled shoes are American.

[On November 21, 2008, Elena posted this photo on her The Happy Wonderer blog, with comments about leg crossing, modern shoes and showing leg. Elena grew up in Los Angeles among the more zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki who often attacked people for not obeying their rules for behavior and dress. This photo shows that Pryguny are different than Dukh-i-zhizniki. A similar photo of 8 dressed up girls posing is in Mohoff's book, page 138.]

Here is the Countries and Their Cultures text with corrections in red:

Nearly 3,000 5,000 members of a various Spiritual Christian religious sects from Russia  known as the Molokans settled in California during the first decade of the twentieth century. They formed a fragmented network of about the nucleus of what has become a 20,000-member descendants of Russian Spiritual Christians, with a Molokan community that is concentrated today in San Francisco and many Dukh-i-zhizniki in Southern California and Oregon. ... The Old Ritualists Believers and some Spiritual Christians Molokans have been most fervent in retaining a sense of Russian identity through an active use of the Russian language in their religious services and in their daily lives.

18. Mexico: A destination specialist course. (PDF)
By The Travel Institute, 2004. Produced in partnership with the Mexico Tourism Board. Winner of the 2005 PATA Gold Award.
Chapter 1:  Baja California — Beyond Ensenada: Attractions, page 14
The Museo Comunitario del Valle de Guadalupe, in a Russian-style house, tells the story of the wine-making valley and of the  non-Orthodox Russian peasants who were granted permission to resellte and to worship in the Valle de Guadalupe by the Mexican Government in 1905. The immigrants repaired wine-making equipments left from previous ventures and prospered in the valley.

19. Baja Legends: The Historic Characters, Events and Locations That Put Baja California on the Map
by Greg Niemann - 2002 - 260 pages. See pages 108-110.
"The Pryguny Molokans worked hard and prayed hard. They dressed simply; ... They became splendid citizens of Mexico, and while they spoke Russian in church, they were ever loyal to their adopted country."
Click to ENLARGE   Click to ENLARGE   Click to ENLARGE 

20. Bodega Bibayoff,  jAzZblOg,  March 27, 2006 (offline)
... one winery owned by Russian descendants, the Bodega de Bibayoff.  ... This was David Bibayoff, patriarch of this family operation. [Shown in the photo above with son Abel.] He graciously welcomed me and invited me to join him back in the warehouse where a group of distant relatives were waiting for him to do a barrel tasting. ... Bibayoff is descended from a group of Russian refugees, the Pryguny Molokans, who, with the intervention and assistance of Leo Tolstoy, gained permission from Tsar Nicholas II to emigrate to the new world where they hoped to practice their own brand of Christianity unmolested. After arriving a false start in LA, the group resettled into the Guadalupe Valle and took to doing what they did best: farming. The Valle flourished.

.... Now, there are a few families left and Bibayoff holds forth with his son, Abel, running their vineyard. What makes Bibayoff special ... selling grapes to other wineries.  The wine that is produced here is strictly for family, guests, festivals and occasional restaurants.... a dozen folks from suburban LA waiting for us. ... nieces and cousins of Bibayoff who had never met him before. They'd discovered him and the vineyard through some Internet work and, after an email contact, decided to come have a look. They'd been tasting with Abel for some time when we arrived and were especially warm and friendly in their afternoon buzz. ... his daughter was pleading with him to bottle it all exclusively for her.  ... 'this wine is not for sale.' ...

Bibayoff Vineyard and Winery, Baja Wine Country Guide, gives an update of the story above.
  •     Location: Valle de Guadalupe
  •     Tel: (646) 176-1008
  •     Email:
  •     Directions: Off highway # 3 at "El Tigre", follow the dirt road to Rancho Bibayoff.
[Note the mis-use of Russian Orthodox Church imagery in the Bibayoff Vinos logos. Pryguny were not Russian Orthodox. Though a samovar would be a better cultural fit for a logo, business rules. The average consumer — a Mexcian Catholic, or American Protestant tourist — is more likely to associate "onion domes" than a samovar with Russia(n). Unfortunately these logos project a false impression that Pryguny are Orthodox in faith.]


21. The Russian Colony of Guadalupe Pryguny Molokans in Mexico.
A book about Pryguny, not Molokane, by George W. Mohoff (1924-2009), 226 pages, 1995. 199 photos / illustrations, plus a cross-indexed map of each home in the colony by head of household name. The book covers most parts of their history, from his grandfather V.G. Moloff fleeing the Tsar's army while doing guard duty in St. Petersburg, to land ownership, swimming in the river, cowboys and indians, farm animals, religious services, why they left, and more. $25 from the UMCA Heritage Room, Hacienda Heights CA; or from Hazel Mohoff, 2221 Via Camille, Montebello CA 90640; phone: 323-721-8610 — Also check out this book at your local library via inter-library loan from at least 6 libraries in California; or read online (with many errors and omissions).

22. Books and Articles about Pryguny in Mexico (chronological) at public libraries, some listed at WorldCat

* Due mainly to biases and mistakes by Young (1932) and Berokoff (1969), most all latter scholars never understand that these people are not Molokane, but mostly Prgyuny mixed with other Spiritual Christian faiths.

23.  Videos
Top ^

Spiritual Christians Around the World