Karaite Kenesa in Kyiv

Karaite Kenesa in Kyiv

The unique Karaite kenesa appeared in Kyiv in 1902. The man behind the project was talented and popular city architect Vladislav Gorodetsky. He worked together with his regular partner, the sculptor Elio Sala, who executed the decoration and finishing in masterful style. The building was built in Mauritanian style for the use of the small Karaite community. The Kogens who manufactured tobacco and cigarettes in large quantities were the “tobacco kings” and the most influential family. This tobacco business turned them into multimillionaires. It was the Kogens who gave money to build this house of prayer. After the events of 1917, the kenesa lost its religious status. At various times it was a puppet theatre, the “Zarya” cinema, and the Republican Actor’s House. Unfortunately, the Soviet authorities did not treat this beautiful building well.
The splendid Moresque hipped roof, the elegant railings, the tracery gates, and the interior stucco-work all disappeared. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine today’s Kyiv without what remains of this building.

Alexander Anisimov


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
Copying and publication of this article is possible only with the written permission of the publishing house.
Official website of the Awesome Heritage series: awesomeheritage.com

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