Taras Shevchenko Park
The interesting history of Taras Shevchenko Park.
The foundation stone of Kyiv University was ceremonially laid in 1837, after Emperor Nikolay I of Russia had signed the Charter for its creation. The University was built in Russian style by the father and son team of architects, Vikenty and Alexander Beretti. As the university took the name of St. Vladimir, the ruler who brought Christianity to the Kyivan Rus, it was painted in the red and black of the Vladimir Order ribbon. And for this reason, generations of students, have called their alma mater “The Fire department”. In the 1870s, the city deputies decided to sell much of the unused land around the University for private property development. But during his 1876 visit to Kyiv, the Brazilian Emperor Pedro II, saw that the land still left in front of the University land had been reserved for the creation of a park… which the Brazilian Emperor promptly instigated under the supervision of the gardener Karl Christiani. He did an excellent job as you can see. In 1896, a monument to the Emperor Nikolay was erected here and the University Park was renamed Nikolaevsky Park. Three fountains were also constructed, and you can still see them here today. After the revolution of 1917 the park became a less welcoming place. The fountains were blocked and dry, park benches were stolen, and the monument to Nikolay was dismantled and melted down.
In 1939, the Park took the name of great Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko and today, from the center of the park, his solemn and thoughtful looking statue gazes down, like a stern yet loving father. This, the smallest park in Kyiv is popular with many different types of visitors. Joggers find the park ideal for fresh air and exercise. Students love to spend time here between lectures. In the mornings the older generation grab benches to read newspapers and to play chess. The regulars stay whatever the weather, from morning until night. Arguments and even a bit of pushing and shoving between opponents occasionally breaks out between rivals. At noon, business people come here for lunch and relaxation, replaced in the evenings by loving couples. In this park there is always something interesting going on. You might even come across an organized pillow fight or a Salsa Open Air Event. You will also find a “Classic Babushka Sculpture” Real Grandmas sit on the benches near the park gates and are a common feature of post-Soviet countries. In rain, snow and sun, old ladies sit in their favorite spots and discuss, discuss, discuss… So installed in Taras Shevchenko park is a real sculpture of one of Kyiv’s classic grandmas. Both Kyivans and visitors are very fond of taking pictures of her.
This article was published in the book Interesting Kyiv.
You could download this book in PDF file for free here.
© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
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