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CITIES

Blue Palace, Hyperboloid, and Charming Brick Villas of Cherkasy

Overlooked beauty of my native city

漏 All photos by Slava Shestopalov

Masterpieces of Horodecki

The city鈥檚 most valuable buildings are credited to the talent of W艂adys艂aw Horodecki (1863鈥1930), an architect of Polish origin, often called 鈥淯krainian Gaudi.鈥 He contributed greatly to the architecture of Kyiv, Ukraine鈥檚 capital, and designed several buildings in Cherkasy.

Hotel 鈥淪lovianskyi鈥

Our first stop is the hotel 鈥淪lovianskyi,鈥 colloquially known as the 鈥淏lue Palace.鈥 It was built at the end of the 19th century and belonged to a famous entrepreneur, Skoryna. Old postcards show alternating red-brown, blue, and grey paint on the walls and roof, but after a major overhaul in the 1990s, the building became blue-and-white.

Hotel 鈥淪lovianskyi鈥 (end of the 19th century)

Women鈥檚 Gymnasium

Seven decades of enslavement in the USSR had left its mark 鈥 people still call this gorgeous building 鈥淧ioneers Palace.鈥 After seizing power in Ukraine, communists converted the Women鈥檚 Gymnasium into a place for propaganda and 鈥渞ebranded鈥 the fronton. You can still see the scars after removing Soviet emblems and remaining plates with marching 鈥測oung pioneers.鈥 Oh, I wish I could see the original decoration.

Women鈥檚 Gymnasium (1903鈥1905)

Public Bank

I always thought this house was the office of the newspaper 鈥淐herkaskyi Krai鈥 (Cherkasy Land) and only recently read about its initial purpose. Horodecki designed this exquisite estate for the first city bank, 鈥淕romadskyi Bank鈥 (Public Bank). The newspaper moved in only in the 1950s.

Public Bank (1914)
Public Bank (1914)

Jewish Gymnasium

This two-story building was designed as an educational establishment, but in a couple of decades, the Soviets turned it into a political institution. Now it houses the Art School named after Danylo Narbut, a famous Ukrainian painter and stage designer.

Jewish Gymnasium (the 1910s)
Jewish Gymnasium (the 1910s)

Central Market

Citizens contemptuously call the market a 鈥渢in can鈥 or 鈥渉ockey puck鈥 and don鈥檛 realize it鈥檚 a unique example of modernist architecture. This design belongs to Kyiv architect Nataliia Chmutina, and it was her first building with an experimental cable-stayed roof.

Central Market (1966)
Central Market (1966)

Shykhov鈥檚 Hyperboloid Tower

This is one of the first hyperboloid structures designed by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov at the beginning of the 19th century. Only 20 Shukhov鈥檚 towers out of 200 survived till now, and four of them are located in Ukraine: two unique lighthouses in the Kherson Region and water towers in the cities of Mykolaiv and Cherkasy.

Shykhov鈥檚 Hyperboloid Tower (1914) and a thematic utility hole cover

Maiboroda鈥檚 House

Now let鈥檚 get back to elegant residential estates from the edge of the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the well-preserved mansions belonged to the Maiboroda family. Maiboroda was an entrepreneur who made his fortune in railroad construction and owned a brick factory and sawmill.

Maiboroda鈥檚 House (1906鈥1910)
Maiboroda鈥檚 House (1906鈥1910)
Maiboroda鈥檚 House (1906鈥1910)
Maiboroda鈥檚 House (1906鈥1910)

Shcherbyna鈥檚 Mansion

The next stop in our journey is even more well-known and admired than Maiboroda鈥檚 House. Shcherbyna鈥檚 Mansion, more often referred to as the 鈥淲edding Palace,鈥 stands at the end of Khreschatyk, the oldest street in Cherkasy. Due to Ukrainian business magazine 鈥淔ocus,鈥 it鈥檚 one of the five best-lightened buildings at night.

Shcherbyna鈥檚 Mansion (1892)

House of Tsybulski

The oldest building in Cherkasy appeared as a half-wooden 1,5-story house in 1852 and was rebuilt in the 1890s in a neoclassical manner. It belonged to local merchants, brothers Tsybulski, and remained the city鈥檚 highest building for a couple of decades.

House of Tsybulski (1852)
House of Tsybulski (1852)

Overlooked old houses

I love vintage buildings with history 鈥 but I pay no less attention to no-name houses representing the spirit of their time. Only as an adult I can truly appreciate the beauty of my native city: you won鈥檛 find such brick houses in Germany, France, or, let鈥檚 say, Italy.

6 Verhnya Horova St.
189 Khreshchatyk St. (Shkolnykov鈥檚 Houses)
9 Zamkovyi Descent (Shkolnykov鈥檚 House)
223/50 Blahovisna St.
Parking area on Pasterivska St.

The Cherkasy Sea

Despite being an inland city, Cherkasy has its 鈥渟ea,鈥 due to the nickname of the Kremenchuk Reservoir.

The beach and dam of the Kremenchuk Reservoir
A sunlit island of the Kremenchuk Reservoir
The Kremenchuk Reservoir after the sunset

Hill of Glory and Local Lore Museum

Central Ukraine suffered the most from the second world war鈥檚 devastating battles: over three thousand houses and all Cherkasy鈥檚 factories and plants were flattened. As for the churches, some of them survived the war but were later destroyed by the Soviets. A decade after the war, it was decided to commemorate the victims. So, authorities demolished an old church on the former castle hill, extended and raised the hill towards the river, and topped it with the Motherland statue.

Hill of Glory (1965鈥1977)
Cherkasy Regional Museum of Local Lore (1985) and the Hill of Glory (1965鈥1975) in the background

Letychevskyi鈥檚 House

What now is a not-so-joyful place 鈥 the House of Mourning 鈥 used to be another entrepreneur鈥檚 dwelling. Letychevskyi, the owner of one of the city鈥檚 tobacco factories, should have built this house at the end of the 19th century. When communists came to power, this building was the headquarters of security officers (so-called Chekists, later NKVD) tasked with suppressing any anti-Soviet revolts and ideas.

Letychevskyi鈥檚 House

Forester鈥檚 House

You鈥檝e already seen yellow, white, blue, and grayish buildings; it鈥檚 time to show you a turquoise one. Now this gorgeous mansion houses the Regional Academic Puppet Theatre, but initially, it belonged to the county forester. The house adjoined a large garden that stretched along the whole city block, but today the school where I studied occupies the area.

Forester鈥檚 House (the 1870s)
Former 鈥淐enter of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information鈥
鈥淐ossack Mamay鈥 (presumably before 1989)

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Photo stories about overlooked architecture and cities. No touristic clich茅s. Ukraine, Germany, and other countries

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