House with Chimeras – the most eccentric building of Kiev.It is an amazing example of early 1900’s architecture in Art Nouveau style. It is a truly masterpiece and also during the years it became a city legend, because its appearance is rather sinister. Figure of its creator and first owner Vladislav Gorodetsky is bright, eccentric and very appealing. Gorodetsky was known as a first person in Kiev, who had his own car. He was very talented architect, but another his passion was hunting. We can definitely notice it in House with Chimeras interiors and exteriors, where animal theme is one of the strongest. Gorodetsky was definitely talk of the town. People said that he was traveling in his car (which itself for a novelty for the time) with monkey sitting on his shoulder.
House with Chimeras was built during 1901 – 1903 on a precipice and at that time such project was pure insanity as there were not much technologies for building in places like that. Still Gorodetsky was very brave and adventurous and he took a challenged. Finally he came up with one of the most incredible buildings of the time and one of the prettiest and fantastic buildings in Kiev ever.
There is another legend about the building. Gorodetsky for some time owned cement factory and he wanted to show that this material is of various interesting uses. So he made all the fantastic animals in and on the building using cement. But in fact this version may be not true as Gorodetsky just loved working with cement and used it in a lot of other his buildings.
Destiny of House with Chimeras is quite a good illustration of life and times, as the building survived and adjusted through all severities of 20th century with its wars, revolutions and indifference. But let’s start from the beginning. House with Chimeras was designed to be commercial apartment building. And Gorodetsky with his family was going to live there too in a separate apartment. Each floor of the building was an apartment for one family. But because of the financial crisis Gorodetsky had to put up his house in 1912 till better times. However in 1913 the house was sold at the auction, as his owner could not pay for it.
After Revolution of 1917 the house became state property and all the flats became communal apartments. It means that originally one family was to live on one floor, as an apartment was as big as a floor. But since 1917 one family lived in one room. So, if there were 7 rooms on the floor, 7 families lived there, sharing a toilet, kitchen and corridor. All those people were of absolutely different origins, so in one big flat could live professor, policeman, labourer and pot-washer.
During the war the house was abandoned and damaged. For a while the house was used as a hospital. During this period some of unique wall paintings were painted out with white paint, as it was done in hospitals. Later on those painting were partially reconstructed using some of the few photos of the interiors. Also, those layers of white paint were peeled off.
The building was reconstructed in early 2000’s and since that time House with Chimeras is used as a place for running events featuring President. Actually it is a residency of President. This is why it is very hard to go to the excursion there. House with Chimeras accepts tourists only on Saturdays. So you should be subscribed to it. To do so you should call 207-12-44(55) and tell your passport data and the dates that will be appropriate for you. Excursion costs 150 grivnas, lasts for 2,5 hours and group consists of 10 persons at most. When you’re going to the excursion itself you should carry your passport with you. This is all because the house is functioning residence of President.
Anyway if you don’t want to wait your turn for the excursion or you simply won’t be able to wait so long, you should just go and check out the exterior of the house. It is really absolutely extraordinary and fantastic. To get there you should get to the underground station Khreshchatyk and go out to the surface at its exit on Insytutska street. Then you should go up to Bankova street. Another way is to walk out of underground station Khreshchatyk and go to Gorodetsky street. You should walk through Franko square and Franko theater upwards.