Category: Architecture

VDNG: The Soviet past

VDNG: The Soviet past

Stars, sickles and hammers – such elements decorate the central pavilions of the complex today. This is not surprising, because it was opened back in 1958, in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Communist Party of Ukraine! It was here that Ukrainian manufacturers demonstrated their achievements. Ukrainian industry and agriculture was represented in the pavilions.

Today the complex is one of the five largest expocentres in the world. Its vast territory of nearly 300 hectares was called “Ukraine in miniature”. Numerous foreign delegations came here. At different times VDNG was visited by such celebrities as Margaret Thatcher, Charles de Gaulle, Prince Philippe and his daughter Anne.

There were several interesting exhibits in the pavilion:

  • Coal Mining – the pavilion simulated a mine. Visitors went down in a lift, which was a replica of a miner’s elevator. There was special equipment in the underground, and experts told how coal was mined.
  • Metallurgy – here one could learn and see how a blast furnace works.
  • Gifts of the Sea – children’s favourite pavilion. Almost all the space of the ground floor was occupied by a huge skeleton of a blue whale!
  • Electrification – the pavilion had several interesting exhibits: a diorama of one of the biggest power plants in Europe – the Dneproges; a model of Ukraine’s first nuclear power plant – the Chernobyl plant; a model of a nuclear reactor.
  • Construction – there was a monorail operating near the pavilion. It was a carriage which travelled at a speed of 50 km per hour along the monorail. There were plans to build one in Kyiv in the near future.

Other pavilions presented dairy products, sausages, fruits and vegetables, light industry products. In addition there were pens for animals, fruit trees and grapes growing оn the territory, vegetables were grown in greenhouses. And in the greenhouse you could see tropical trees – mandarin, feijoa, pomegranate, orange.

Nowadays the buildings with Soviet symbols are the monuments of architecture and are protected by the state. There’s a lot more to tell about VDNG, we’ll do that in future articles!

10 Interesting Facts about House with Chimaeras

10 Interesting Facts about House with Chimaeras

House with Chimaeras or Horodecki House is an Art Nouveau building located in the historic Lypky neighborhood of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The name derives from sculptural decorations representing the land and underwater wildlife, the attributes of hunting, and fabulous creatures. They look impressive but the following facts will impress you even more.

Fact 1

The house with chimeras was being built from 1901 to 1903 using borrowed funds. The total cost of work and land resulted in 133,000 rubles – a colossal amount for those times.

Fact 2

The estate was erected on an uneven plot over a cliff, which allowed the architect to save on the purchase of land. From the Bankova’s side, the building looks like a three-story building, and from the side of Ivan Franko Square it has twice as many – six floors.

Fact 3

During the construction of the house, Vladislav Gorodetsky passionately dreamed of going on a safari to distant Africa. According to his idea, the building should remind of an African mountain, towering above a lake. That’s why its walls and roofs are adorned with concrete heads of lions, giraffes, antelopes, crocodiles, rhinos and other inhabitants of the savannah.

Fact 4

Excessive passion for hunting led to the fact that in July 1912 Gorodetsky had to lay down the estate. Next year, the mansion was sold by the Kiev Mutual Credit Society to a new owner. To his great regret, the architect was unable to pay his debts on time.

Fact 5

The building was designed and built as a tenement house. On five floors there were apartments that the owner leased. And on the fourth floor (the first on the side of Bankova) there was his own apartment of 13 rooms. The Gorodetsky family occupied the best apartment in the house.

Fact 6

In addition to the apartments, the estate provided a place for two stables, wine cellars, a laundry room and pantries, as well as rooms for coachmen. Moreover, there was a real barn! Gorodetsky was very fond of coffee with fresh cream, and he was going to treat guests with the best milk. The cowshed was arranged so that an unpleasant smell did not penetrate into the rooms and did not cause inconvenience to the residents.

Fact 7

After the sale, the building changed owners a couple of times, and during the October Revolution it was nationalized. At first, communal apartments were made here, and then they were alternately occupied by the military labor logging team, the veterinary department and the hospital of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine. Now the House with Chimaeras is the Small Residence of the receptions of the President of Ukraine. Foreign delegations are brought here.

Fact 8

In the early 2000s, the House with Chimaeras was completely restored. Workers restored the luxurious interiors of the mansion and bearing piles.

Fact 9

At one time, Mikhail Bulgakov said that without the House with Chimaeras there would have been no Woland nor Azazello. It was the famous decor of the mansion that inspired the writer to create the characters of “Masters and Margarita”.

Fact 10

The story of the House with Chimaeras is fanned by many legends. One of them says that before leaving his beloved mansion, the architect imposed a terrible curse on it. All residents of the estate will be unhappy and will soon go broke. And only the descendants of Vladislav Gorodetsky will be able to live safely in the famous house on Bankova.

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