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Architectural Traditions


he large-scale stone construction began in Kyiv in the 10th century in the reign of Volodymyr Svyatoslavovych: the ancient town was enlarged, the Princes' palaces and boyars' manors were built, strong fortifications were erected. The central part of the "Volodymyr's town" was the Church of the Tithes (Desyatynna); the first stone temple in Rus, which influenced greatly the further development of the Old Rus architecture. The founda-tions of these structures, ruined by the Tatar-Mongols in 1240, are on view on Starokyivska Hill nearby the National Museum of the History of Ukraine. A new stage in the city's architecture began with the reign of Yaroslav the Wise in the early 11th century. In his time an ensemble of the new central part was erected of which survived to our days are St. Sophia Cathedral and remains of the main ceremonial gate of ancient Kyiv, the Golden Gate, which in 1982 was enclosed in a pavilion restoring its original image. Based on the Byzantine five-aisled cruciform domed temple, St. Sophia Cathedral bears some features which testify to its architects' close acquaintance with the architecture of other countries and artistic traditions of Rus (dynamic thirteen-cupola composition, an ambulatory and gallery above it, towers, a vast choir loft, system of paintings). St. Sophia Cathedral served as a prototype for the Novhorod and Polotsk temples of the same name, and its painting - for the Assumption Cathedral in Kyiv-Pechery Lavra. And the 12th-cen-tury Trinity Gate Church in Lavra typologically resembles the Golden Gate with the Annunciation (Blahovishchenska) Church above the gate.

By the early 12th century some new essential features appear in the architecture: galleries and towers disappear as well as multitop completions. A three-aisled cruciform temple with a single cupola was widespread at the time; the mixed masonry consisting of alternating rows of stone and brick is replaced by brickwork (even rows of brick). Such construction was the Cathedral of the Assumption in Lavra which served as a model of the temples in Rus of that time, such structures are Michael's (Mykhailivsky) Cathedral in Vydubychi and St. Cyril's Church. Now-adays, the works are in progress on the restoration of the masterpieces of the Old Rus architecture - the 11th-century Ca-thedral of the Assumption in Lavra, the 12th-century St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery (Mykhailivsky Zolo-tovirkhy) and the Church of the Virgin Pyrogoshcha (Bohorodytsi Pyrogoshchi). The town, which German chronicler Adam Bremensky considered a rival of "Tsar-grad" Constantinople, is shown inimitable in its beauty by the reconstruction-diorama on view in the Refectory of St. Sophia Cathedral.

The 17th - 18th centuries were the second, after the Princes' reign, epoch of flourishing of the Ukrainian culture, its golden age. It coincided with the age of the Cassacks' government when hetmans, rich chieftains and clergy became patrons and founders of the national art. Dominating in the Kyiv's architecture is the Baroque style borrowed from the Western Europe on the basis of which was formed a unique style of the Ukrainian, or as it is also called, Cossacks' or Mazepa's Baroque. The features of the folk wooden architecture were vividly embodied in it. Embued with inspiration, vital force and movement, it created a unique artistic sight of the historic yoke of the modern city. The ancient buildings of St. Sophia, Pechery, St. Michael's Golden-Domed, Vydubychi, St. Cyril's Monasteries weredecorated with the Baroque attire.

The Baroque buildings with their refined cupolas and roofs, pediments and gates, lavishly filled up with ornamentation, luxurious decora-tive portals seem to be designed by the city's picturesque landscape itself. A good number of talented architects took part in their construction. Iohann-Gottfried Schadel, besides the Lavra's Great Belfry and old building of the Kyiv's Academy, did much to renovate St. Sophia Mo-nastery. Over the first, also Baroque, tier of the Belfry (anonymous author) Schadel successfully added two more tiers filled up with decor. No less tactfully he added the second storey of the Metropolitan's Residence notable for extremely slender proportions and high pediment of the gen-tle undulated lines. In 1748 the main entrance to the Metropolitan's Residence, Zaborovsky Brama, was erected. Its facade was filled up with acanthi, volutes, mascarons with the bunches of grapes and decorated with Metropolitan's family coat of arms presenting the crown and flaming heart.

It is hard to imagine the modern city of Kyiv without its two architectural won-ders: St. Andrew's Church and Mariinsky Palace by Bartolommeo Francesco Rast-relli. The founder of the second (after Mazepa's) period of the Ukrainian, Kyiv Baroque, was I. Hryhorovych-Barsky responsible for the unsurpassed architec-tural heritage: buildings of St. Cyril's and Mezhihirrya Monasteries, the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin and of St. Nicholas' Church on the Embankment (Naberezhno-Mykilska), numerous civil structures and residential houses. In 1749 he built the "Samson" fountain, serving as the centre of the first municipal water line, with the rotunda over its basin. The lec-turer of the Kyiv Academy, the Frenchman Broulyon, set up the sun-dials on the fountain's pediment. The rotunda's dome in the Baroque style is surmounted with the statue of Apostle Andrew. The sculptural composition "Samson and the Lion" set up in the 19th century instead of the statue of an angel rises over the basin.

For his 60-year work, the architect S. Kovnir, a serf of the Kyiv-Pechery Lavra, built the Lower Lavra's bell-towers, renovated the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Baroque style, renewed the building accommodating the printing works, the Kovnir Building housing a bakery and a shop for baking the communion bread, built the Trinity (Troitska) Church of the Kytayevo hermitage and Klov Palace in Pechersk.
The perfect specimens of the early Baroque are also the All Saints' Church and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin (17th century), both in Lavra. The Baroque peculiarities are also traced in the oldest of the preserved stone dwellings built at the turn of the 18th century at No. 6, Kostyantynivska Street.

Since the late 18th century the tsar authorities prohibited to build churches of the Ukrainian type. Type designs were sent from the capital. Classicism with its tendencies putting in order, regularities, accurate logic of the image-bearing system became the dominating style. The civil engineering was brought to the forefront. In the early 19th century the build-up area of Kyiv was expanded. The Kyiv's modern plan was largely determined by A. Melensky, the chief architect of the city at that time. He laid out and planned the present-day streets: Kheshchatyk, Chervonoarmiiska, M. Hrushevsky, Volodymyrsky Descent (Uzviz), and supervised the develop-ment of Podil and Lypky, erected a great deal of stone buildings. Among them are the Rotunda-shaped churches on Askold's Grave and in St. Flor's Convent (Florivsky Monastyr), bell-towers in Vydubychi and that of the Church of Our Saviour in Berestove. His creative work gave birth to the new stage in the development of architecture in Ukraine - the Ukrainian Empire style. The new style successors were architects L. Stanzani, P. Sparro, father and son Berettis. The latter erected in 1837-1843 the building of the Kyiv University of St. Volodymyr featuring a square structure with a large inner court-yard, an expressively and monumentally designed main entrance.

In the 40s of the 19th century Clas-sicism was replaced by Eclecticism to suit the new historical conditions and artistic tastes. The architects, believing themselves to be the successors of the whole previous history of architecture, used forms of all artistic styles of the past, which gave name to this style trend. The Eclectic style period left in Kyiv quite a number of buildings of the high artistic value: St. Volodymyr's Cathedral, buildings of the Philharmonic Society and the Opera House, a block of Khreshchatyk Street between B. Khmelnytsky Street and T. Shevchenko Bou-levard. Almost all central streets acquired features characteristic for this style. The stylized Renaissance-Baroque forms are employed in the sculptural decoration of the income-producing apartment house of the famous Kyiv contractor-manufacturer L. Hinzburg. The stucco high-profile orna-mentation, sculpture, a countless number of architectural elements masterfully exe-cuted served at the same time the advertis-ing of the construction firm owned by the proprietor of the house erected to the design of H. Schleifer and E. Bradtman.

As "Chocolate House" is known a Renaissance detached house in Pechersk because of the dark-colour plaster of its facades distinguished sculpturally at the expense of solid rustic work and large altorelievoes. For the last years have been pre-served and restored the architectural orna-mentations of the building's interiors designed in the Gothic, Baroque, Russian, Moresque and Modernist styles.

Of great artistic taste is the building of the National Bank of Ukraine featuring the Venetian Gothic that was built in the early 20th century to the design of 0. Kobelev and 0. Verbytsky with the as-sistance of sculptors E. Sal and F. Soko-lov. The 3rd and 4th storeys were added in 1934 with the participation of architect V. Rykov; they retained features charac-teristic for the Historical (Eclectic) style.

The Modernist style, with the Kyiv's school standing out, has left a rich architec-tural heritage for ten years odd. One of its most vivid specimens is the architect Gorodetsky's own house in Bankova Street known as the "House with Chimeras". Erected on the hillside, the different-storeyed income-producing apartment house is generously embellished with sculptures based on mythological and hunting themes. The sculptures are made by E. Sal. The richly decorated interiors are in harmony with its exteriors.

The next marvelous monuments of this style are also the Krachkovsky's clinics in 0. Honchar Street (architect I.Ledokhovsky), the house of profit of the Greek monastery of St. Catherine (Kateryninsky) in Contract Square (architect V. Eisner), a residential house at No. 4 Muse-um Lane (architect V. Rykov, sculptor F. Balavensky). The features typical for Functionalism (the next trend to come) are traced in the Bessarabsky covered market (architect H. Hai), the last Mo-dernist edifice in Kyiv.

The architectural history of Kyiv is concentrated, as in focus, in the And-riivsky Descent, the oldest city's street, known from the Old Rus times. The winding descent running from Starokyivska Hill to Podil with its architectural dominants -St. Andrew's Church (18th century) and the so-called "Castle of Richard the Lion's Heart" (early 20th century), the cosy detached buildings of the turn of the 20th century, the famous "The Turbins' House" of M. Bulgakov - won fame of the informal centre of arts. It is lined with museums, galleries, exhibition halls, the-atres, artistic saloons which attract lots of people. Especially crowded is the Andriivsky Descent on Day of Kyiv when it turns into an open-air museum, spar-kling with inexhaustible fantasy and skills.