Between Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and Eternal Glory Park, close to Arsenalna metro station, you will find the Cultural-Art Museum complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal”. It is an architectural monument of national importance, which proves that beauty is a most powerful weapon. The size of the Arsenal complex allows it to hold extremely large-scale events. But let’s go back in time. Before Arsenal, in the 17th century, stood the Ascension Nunnery headed by hegumeness Mary-Magdalene Mazepina, mother of the famous Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa. With funds from Ivan, the Ascension Church and Holy Virgin Protection Church were built. And in August 1706, at the order of Russian Tsar Peter I, the Kyiv-Pechersk Citadel was also founded here. The Arsenal building in its current form was the project of Lieutenant-General Ivan (Johann) Meller between 1783-1801. Designed as a fortress, it is believed that he designed the arsenal with the potential for conversion to civilian use “This building will some day be for people, not just for the military”. But from the early 19th century into the late 20th century, the arsenal was used for its original purpose – as military warehouses and weapon repair facility. But finally in 2006, Viktor Yushchenko, the President of Ukraine, initiated a project for creating a new generation museum with modern technical infrastructure to meet the requirements of a dynamic exhibition center and to simultaneously perform a broad educational function.
The area of the Mystetskyi Arsenal Building is about 60,000 m², but it is partly (12,000 to 24,000 m²) still in a state of conversion. From 2010, Mystetskyi Arsenal, showcases many events including the Arsenal International Festival of Books which attracts dozens of Ukrainian and foreign publishing houses, as well as writers, artists and illustrators. While walking over the Pechersk hills, enjoying the panoramic view of Kyiv do not miss the chance to visit Mystetskyi Arsenal. It is one of the best places for art events in Kyiv. Today Mystetskyi Arsenal is constantly active, because the Old Arsenal building in June 2010 was a brilliant conversion from the old into the new. Flexible and comfortable for dozens of different kinds of exhibition and events for organizers and audiences alike.
This article was published in the book Interesting Kyiv.
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© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
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