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Ukrayinka, Dnieper River, view of the Tripillya. Kyiv region
 
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Ukrayinka, Dnieper River, view of the Tripillya.  Kyiv region
Thursday, 25 May 2017

Kyiv city tours > Welcome to the House with Chimeras!

 

Facade of the House

The hall of the main entrance

Backside view

 

The House with Chimeras is the most famous and ridiculous mansion in Kiev. And it is almost impossible to visit it.  The address of House with Chimeras is 10, Bankova Street. The Reception Hall of President of Ukraine is located there. The summits are held in the stylish cabinet of the former owner of the building. The great Kievan architect Vladislav Gorodetsky lived there. But you have a wonderful opportunity to visit one of the main attractions of Kiev!

You will see marble grand staircase, the walls trimmed with alder, refined parquet, majolica, mother of pearl and of course the fancy decorations in the form of trophies and mystical creatures during your visiting the Gorodetsky’s House. Don’t miss this unique visit! The opportunity to visit the most unusual Kievan mansion is limited. So hurry up to Prime Excursion Bureau office!

In spring 1901 three renowned architects Vladislav Gorodetsky, Alexander Kobelev and Vladimir Leontovich had their meeting in one of Kiev restaurants. Gorodetsky had the news. He bought a plot of land on the steep slope of Pechersk Plateau. Bankova Street was located there. Practical and venerable Kobelev wondered if anything at all could be built on this site. Gorodetsky told his colleagues that he was going to construct a large house there. Moreover he planned not only to lease the apartments there, but to reside himself in that house. Kobelev did not believe it. According to the local legend Kobelev laid his hand onto Gorodetsky’s forehead exclaimed: “Only a madman could have such an idea!” Gorodestky got angry. And two architects made a bet. That was the way the idea about House with Chimeras was born. Thus its truly chimerical, legendary story was started.

Gorodetsky’s house was built. It took two years to construct that mansion. The mansion was built on two foundations. The slope was reinforced with 5-meter long piles according to the project of well-known engineer Strauss. That technique was an innovative solution in the world construction practice. It looks like there is a different number of floors in the mansion. If you look from the upper, front platform you can see three floors. If you look from the area of Franko’s Square you can see six floors. Gorodetsky proved that he was a talented engineer and enterprising man. He would like to have a kind of his own PR-campaign. Gorodetsky asked the owner of “For” cement plant to provide some ignoble concrete for the decoration of the mansion. So the construction of the unprecedented mansion was at the same time an advertisement of the new construction material. Two of them, the owner of the factory and Gorodetsky enjoyed their success. And, of course, all Kievans and visitors to the capital of Ukraine enjoy seeing the masterpiece of Kievan Gaudi. Gorodetsky’s mansion is often compared to the projects of the great architect from Barcelona.

Two brothers sculptors Sala — Elia and Eugenio — contributed greatly to Gorodetsky’s success. Elia made stucco figures adorning the facade and interior of the building. There you can see elephants and rhinos, huge toads on the roof, naiads riding whiskered dolphins and a serpent at the corner of the house. Elia made Duel of an eagle with a panther sculpture in front of the mansion too. You can see Elia’s autograph at the pedestal. Elia’s brother Eugenio designed the interior of the mansion. He painted the mural along the stairs and decorated the front lobby like the seabed. The hall is still the pearl of the interior decoration of the building. You will be amazed with a huge octopus covered with pearl shells. In the center of the stairway — There is the sculptural composition in the form of two large interwoven fish with built-in plafonds with electric lamps.

You cross the threshold and you are amazed with wild fantasy of Gorodetsky and Sala brothers. But that’s just the beginning. The walls of the staircase are covered with stucco. You can see garlands made of game, antlers and other trophies, rifles, daggers and flasks. You can see paintings dedicated to Diana-the huntress. All these things show the hobby of mansion host. Gorodestky lived in his own apartment No 3. He decorated his own apartment with chandeliers and furniture made of antlers, animal skins and stylish molded plants on the walls. Plafonds were also decorated with hunting scenes.

Apartments in the new mansion which was enormously popular were considered immediately the apartments of the highest category. There were m 8-10 rooms in the apartment and 2-3 additional rooms for servants. Despite the very high rent fee many Kievans wanted to live there. Vsevolod Golubovich, the future Prime Minister of Ukrainian People's Republic in 1917-1918, rented an apartment there. The house was equipped with the latest technology. Any demand, any whim of the tenants could be satisfied. There was a common ice cellar in the yard. The tenants could use a wine cellar, a laundry room, two stables. There was even a cowshed in the yard. So the tenants could have the opportunity to drink milk in the morning.  There was a garage too. Gorodetsky bought one of the first cars in Kiev.

Gorodetsky was the owner of the mansion for 8 years. An avid hunter and traveler he planned a safari in Africa. The cost of the expedition was enormous one. Gorodetsky mortgaged the mansion for Kiev Society of mutual credits before starting his journey to the Black continent at the end of 1911. When Gorodetsky came back from his safari all his efforts to pay back the loan were absolutely useless. Gorodestky failed to pay back the loan and he lost his mansion.

In Soviet times the mansion was occupied by the Veterinary Administration of military district. Since 1948 till the early 2000s there had been the Departmental Clinic No 1. The Gorodetsky’s masterpiece was neglected. Only when there was a threat that the mansion was to collapse into in the direction of the Presidential Administration building as there was a crack all through the building the restoration of the mansion was started in 2002.

After the overhaul that lasted two years the second, third and fourth floors were converted into a place for events conducted with the participation of President of Ukraine. The official workers of the State Protocol and Ceremonies Presidential Secretariat have their offices in the ground and first floors. Now in the Gorodetsky’s mansion there are the following rooms: “hall for the presentation of credentials literacy, the governmental room for the signing the documents and little hall to negotiate as well as the room for negotiation in twosome style, the facilities for briefings and the room for festive receptions”, according the official website of the President.

So you have your opportunity to see not only the luxurious interiors of the great architect’s mansion, but also to touch the “backstage” area of the current Ukrainian politics. 

After visiting the House with Chimeras we will stroll along the Lipki district, the most aristocratic district of Kiev, where we can admire the picturesque mansions.

 

Here is some useful information: 

  • The tour is 3 hours tour.
  • Our English, Hebrew, Italian, German, Czech speaking guides are at your service. All our guides are high qualified licensed tour guides.

 

Picturesque staircase

Gorodetskiy`s study

One of the halls of the reconstructed House with Chimeras

 

 

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Welcome to the House with Chimeras!


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