A unique house adorned with chimeras and other mythical creatures stands nearby the president’s office. Does it intend to scare the President and the government? While that may be an unexpected consequence, this Art Nouveau construction has a long and complicated history.
In the year of 1901, the Polish architect Wladyslaw Gorodetski thought it was about time he built something nice for himself. Being a practical man, he designed a four-floor house, with the last floor for himself alone (a modest 380m2). The remaining three floors were to rent out. Gorodetski is known for his special taste in architecture, which was evident through his other designs like Kyiv’s St Nicholas’s cathedral, which is reminiscent of the Parisian Gothic style. The house with chimeras was a celebration of odd creatures, mythical animals, mermaids, underwater monsters, along with other treasures of nature. Construction wasn’t easy, as he built it with loaned money but ran out by 1912 and had to sell the project to the Kyiv Credit Society.
Over the years, the house has had various uses. Before 1941 it was a communal flat house, war-labour headquarters, as well as a vet clinic. During World War II, it was severely damaged, and after some botched repairs the Ivan Franko theatre actors lived in it. Soon after it was converted into clinic No. 1 for the elites of the Central Committee of the Comunist Party. By this point the structure was in disrepair and nearly split in half. A vertical crack with a width of nearly 40 cm appeared and several architecture elements were damaged.
After reconstruction finished in 2004, it was decided that it will be a small residence for the President and has been ever since. Private tours in Ukrainian are available from Interesny Kyiv.