Kyiv holds a lot of mysteries. It also holds some devils. One of the theories says that there are three spiritually important buildings in the city. It is believed that these buildings have paranormal powers and can probably influence the events. And nobody knows the truth. But if you’ve been to Barcelona and loved Antonio Gaudi’s works, you would enjoy the sights that are not at all worse than in Spain.
My friend told me about the book by Ukrainian author Oles Ilchenko. It is called “Misto z khymeramy” (The City with Chimeras). According to her, the writer magically combines the mystery and real events as well as different times – the XX century with it’s famine and war threat and the XXI with the children who have modern phones and cameras.
But the main point is that no matter what year it is, the stories behind some architectural sights keep attract attention of historians, writers, and journalists.
The main mysterious building in Kyiv is Budynok z khymeramy (The House with Chimeras). The house is situated in one of the richest districts of the city (Lypky), Bankova Street. You can find this street just going up Heroyiv Nebesnoyi Sotni Street from Maidan Nezalezhnosti. This street used to be called Instytutska but after the tragic events at Maidan it was renamed.
But you need to know some details about the procedure of getting into the house or even just passing by it. Several years ago the street was open for everyone so you could came up to this amazing creation and take some pictures. Unfortunately, after the renewing Ukrainian government decided that it has the right to limit the access to the house. Today you can only go for the excursion on Saturday. It will cost you 250 UAH but it includes an inside excursion. There is also a form to sign up for a free excursion but when you click on the link, it tells you that the amount of people for this excursion is so huge that you need to try signing up again a month later. In blogs Ukrainians say that this line is 2-3 months long. If you decide just to walk by the house, you won’t be able to. The police limited the access. And the house itself is surrounded by the metal fence… It is only possible to take the picture of the top of the house when you just passing by the city centre and it’s not Saturday.
The Devil’s Triangle
In his book Oles Ilchenko gives out a very interesting theory about three buildings with devils that make an isosceles triangle. In the middle of this triangle there is a church – and you wouldn’t believe it but it’s Sofia Kyivska. This church now fuctions only as a museum. It is not open regularly. There is also an art gallery inside and quite a nice backyard.
According to Ilchenko, there were three architects who unconsciously created three houses with the devil. And as it happened in Soviet times, this triangle should have protected the church from any bad influence (you know that Soviet authorities didn’t praise any kind of religion). Anyhow, here you are – all three devils of Kyiv.
The Main Devil
The House with Chimeras is the project of the famous Polish architect Vladyslav Horodetskyy who emigrated to Ukraine. A lot of people might think that he was psychologically unstable because a normal person wouldn’t put the devil on their own house. Actually, this building was originally meant to be an upmarket apartment building but when it was ready, Horodetskyy lived there with his family. Maybe the reason was that other people refused to live there thinking that it can bring bad luck.
It is also surprising that the architect was very fond of hunting. He even wrote a book about this journey to Africa. Partially, the creatures on the house are actual living animals.
The first one and the main devil is the serpent of the House with Chimeras. It was the first one to appear in this row of architectural mysteries. The amount of out-of-this-world creatures is so big that you won’t even be able to notice it at once. You need to be really attentive to find this angry head hanging from the roof.
People must have thought that Horodetskyy was connected with black magic or even was insane. The house is so unusual that it’s hard to believe that a normal person is its author. But he was and now his works are #1 sights in Kyiv.
The Gargoyle That Smiles
You won’t notice it unless you look carefully. We started our way from Bankova Street where we saw the serpent. Now we come back to Maidan and go up Mala Zhytomyrska Street, after that we cross Volodymyrska Street and we are here – where the gargoyle smiles from the top of the house created by another architect Mykhailo Bobrusov.
In the book “Misto z khymeramy” the author says that the devils from these three houses look at each other and they are placed on the same level above the ground. In reality, it is not exactly right.
To be honest, this smiling face by the road is psychedelic thing and looking at it doesn’t make people feel good. Some people believe that this smiling devilish creature was a necessary thing to put on the house of the man who loved to hold spiritistic sessions. It wasn’t the author himself but his client. So maybe it is even better that you can’t see the devil at once…
The House with Cats
It is approximately 2-kilometres walk from the gargoyle’s house. This pretty green building was created by another architect Volodymyr Bezsmetnyy. It is just a welcoming building on one of the calmest streets of Ukraine’s capital city. The cats at the bottom of the house look very nice and warm your heart until you look up where there is a nasty creature staring somewhere in front of itself. In ancient times these creatures were put of the houses to scare away all the paranormal things. When looking at this creature, it is very important not to think about the gargoyle smiling and staring in this direction…
Three different architects – three different devils – and yet they make one of the most interesting mysteries of Kyiv. It is better if you start your excursion from the House with Chimeras as it is the most popular house in Kyiv (maybe that’s why you need to pay to visit it) and then just make your way passing by Maidan (if you are hungry, it’s a perfect opportunity to visit “Nebos” restaurant which was mentioned in one of the previous articles). There are no access limits to the houses on Hoholivska and Velyka Zhytomyrska so you can see them any time you want. Just don’t let the devils scare you.