The Pharmacy-museum in Kyiv

The Pharmacy-museum in Kyiv

The unique Pharmacy-museum in Kyiv.

In 1730, the German-born pharmacist Johann Heiter became Kyiv’s first private apothecary. Later, Heiter’s son-in-law Georg Bunge inherited the business and founded a pharmaceutical dynasty. This chemist became very popular among the city’s residents. By 1750 it could boast the largest assortments of drugs in the city – about a thousand different types. All drugs that were sold here (ointments, pills, mixtures, balms, smelling salts, soaps, etc.) were made in the pharmacy’s laboratory only from natural ingredients from the famous Apothecary garden laid out on the slopes of St. Andrew’s Church. Contemporaries often compared Bunge’s pharmacy to Kunstkamera (a place where the deformed bodies of infants were preserved) as so many unique books, tools for preparation, and other pieces of equipment were collected by its owner. In 1839, the pharmacy closed and the building changed hands many times until enthusiasts opened the unique Pharmacy-museum in 1986. Its interior fully recreates an apothecary typical of the18th-19th century, and its collection has over 3,000 exhibits. They are displayed in 12 exhibition halls, each of which has its own theme. The hundred year old cash register that you see on the ground floor is a special attraction. In its day, it helped not only register drug sales, but also kept information records of patients and the money they owed. There is also a prescription book from 1834, which records the names of medicines, prescriptions and prices. The pestles and mortars and mills that ground the raw materials, nutcrackers, an ancient pill making machine, as well as antique furniture and ancient medicines are exhibited in other halls. There are several installations in the basement: The hut of a healer, the cell of a monk-herbalist, and the laboratory of an alchemist. It is interesting to look at the collection of old pharmaceutical packaging, boxes of powder, tooth powder, creams, bottles of perfumes and aromatic oils, lip balms, bottles of ink – everything that could only be bought from a pharmacist in those times. The museum offers guided tours, so you can listen to the fascinating stories and immerse yourself in a time gone by. Also, you can have a cup of tea made from Bunge’s recipe, or buy ointments, balms, and soaps made from natural ingredients by the original 19th century’s technology. And if you do visit the Pharmacy-museum, don’t miss the Florovsky Monastery located right next door.

Victoria Ugryumova


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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