“This is an area of continuous soul searching and finding both old stories and new meanings. So, it is impossible to get all the answers in one place. For me, these are different places valuable for both the possibility of quietness and solitude, and the noise of the modern city. This is how the dynamic cultural sphere of the city is formed,” says Yuliia.
She shares her “places of power” in Kyiv. Let’s start (and expectedly so) with Yuliia’s brainchild.
From the very first days of their married life, the family of art patrons, Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko, began to collect exhibits for their future collection. Creation of the museum became their lifetime project. In the late 19th century, the couple moved to a Neo-Renaissance house on Tereshchenkivska Street where, on the second storey, they arranged their collection. The congregation grew so quickly that later the building had to be expanded. In 1919, the Soviet authorities nationalised the property of the Khanenkos. Based on their collection, a state art museum was opened in their family estate. It is this date that is considered the official year of establishment of the museum. Today, the funds of the Khanenko Museum include about 25,000 works of art. About 1,000 of them are exhibited in the halls of the Khanenkos’ historic house (collections of works of Ancient Art, European fine and applied art of the 14th–18th centuries, early Byzantine ‘Sinai’ icons of the 6th–7th centuries) and the neighbouring Sakhnovskis’ House (collection of Oriental art works).
In addition to exhibitions, the museum holds many interactive activities for different groups of visitors: musical evenings, costumed shows, quests, selfie flash mobs, master classes, lectures, theatrical tours, etc.
“This is one of the few surviving historical buildings with the restored interiors so carefully designed by the Khanenko couple who started the best collection of Western European and Oriental art in Ukraine.”
Our next stop is Squat 17Б, a popular art space and project of another famous Kyiv couple.
The cult location on Tereshchenkivska Street began 15 years ago as a spontaneous squat and ‘crash pad’ for representatives of underground culture, and now it has turned into a cool art space often mentioned in international publications and tourist guides.
Kyiv fascinates with the interesting and extraordinary places that open here all the time. Veronika Synytsia, CEO of the I Am Influencer agency, travel influencer, recently told the story of the unique Phytotron art space in the territory of the Hryshko Botanical Garden.
In 2013, the courtyard next to the former ‘squatted’ house, which the artists turned into an open-air gallery became the epicentre of the squat party life. They began to hold various events here. In 2015, Dasha and Myroslav, the ideologues of Squat 17Б, opened a coffee shop, which has now grown into the only ruin bar in the capital. Very soon, it became one of the top event venues. Live music evenings, creative workshops, yoga classes, charity fairs, exhibitions, literary presentations are held here, and opinion leaders, journalists and other interesting speakers also have their tribune here. Recently, the couple managed to rent the premises located in the yard. There is already an establishment with a full kitchen, and later on, an indoor bar and an art space are planned.
“Opposite Shevchenko, the park and the university, next to the museum, right in a Kyiv garth, you can sit in the yard, discover the best practices of urban and environmental approach to your place in a big city, and meet absolutely incredible and exciting people. The cider and green tea here are always unsurpassed.”
Another cool recipe from Yuliia of getting to know yourself and the city, and meeting interesting people is kayaking.
Kayak Canoe Centre’s network in Kyiv includes 8 rental locations (kayaks, SUP boards, life jackets). Equipment can be rented on an hourly basis, half day or full day. If necessary, you will be briefed, helped in choosing suitable transport and equipment and in determining the most interesting route matching your experience. Moreover, the centres organise cool group events, for example, morning or evening rowing, SUP fitness exercises and one-day rafting with professional instructors. Such small trips give an opportunity to see unique spots of our city, which can only be reached by water. Just imagine how it feels meeting the sunrise or sunset on a deserted island in the middle of a million-strong metropolis. Or wading through shallow marshes with blooming lilies or swimming through dark tunnels where, according to Stalin’s plan, the metro was supposed to run.
“I was here in the summer, in the spring, and even once on January 1. I took a kayak somewhere at 7.00 in the morning and rowed across the Dnieper to the Chortoryi River and further up the river. There is clear water, through which you can see algae and trees, birds and steam rising from the water. It’s my point of return to childhood.”
We end our walk around Kyiv in Yuliia’s company in a special place not only for the capital, but also for the entire country.
The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre is the largest Ukrainian film archive and the only country’s member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). It was set up in 1994 based on the largest Soviet Ukrainian film printing factory. Today, its collection includes more than 60,000 items of film material, including over 9,000 Ukrainian and foreign films.
The modern structure of the Centre is as follows:
“The Dovzhenko Centre is one of the most modern cultural institutions researching cinema, presenting cinema-specific projects, showing old films (often with accompaniment of the greatest musicians), and gathering the most talented contemporary artists, musicians, poets and people.”