The House with Chimaeras
House with Chimaeras (in Ukrainian – Dіm z Khymeramy) is a unique erection constructed by architect Horodets’kyi in 1901-1903, in front of President’s Administration. The building bears such name due to sculptural adornments of extra ordinal animals, underwater world habitants, fabulous creatures, and attributes to hunt.
The building was built for leasing, and also was a dwelling of Horodets’kyi. Before the Great Patriotic War the building served as a dwelling house for families; they were provided with one room, kitchen and other lodgments were communal. Then it turned into Central Committee KPU polyclinic, and after restoration “Dіm z Khymeramy” became the “Mala residence of reception of Ukrainian President”.
Over 100 years the building keeps impressing. That is the only erection sui generis; you won’t find any analogues throughout the world. It is difficult to define the architectural style: it combines gothic elements, eclecticism and art nouveau.
Strolling along Bankivs’ka Street and turning off the road, suddenly, you may see a wall with rhinoceros looking right at you. One cannot pass it by! The building attracts tourists with its out of common look. Your admiration will become stronger and stronger. A marvelous facade with a parade entrance and its entire fantastic works are presented to you! Concrete heads of rhinoceros, elephants, antelopes and a crocodile are immured in the wall. From the corners of the roof one can see ugly dolphins to drop down their tentacles with mermaids on their back holding tridents. From the roof you may catch the eye of giant frog and orcas. You’ll notice quite lizards on the columns. The entire building is decorated with different sculptures of ghosts, sea monsters and figures of giraffes and crocodiles. An interesting performance of water pipe, resembling snakes, is presented there. The eagle tears up its prey – the wounded line on pedestal of the fence. Perhaps, memories about exciting traveling to Africa inspired Horodets’kyi to this blood scene.
The inner décor of the building is more wayward, that is why it charms and impresses. The walls of the first hall are adorned with paintings to describe an underwater world with sank ships. Tentacles of devilfish that go down till the very walls are combined with seashells, plants and starfish. They are coloured, made up of gypsum and covered with mother-of-pearl. A beautiful sight is a former hall of Horodets’kyi, which today is a public hall. The room is of tenderly green, white and pink tones, decorated with hunting stuff.
Stucco work of the dining room is interesting as well; it describes different food, such as artichoke, beet and garlic.
Steps leading upstairs from the sitting room would draw your attention. They are made of white marble. You can observe a marvelous décor: eagle’s pad, gypsum pictures of hunters’ weapons on the walls, a deer to be wounded, garlands of groups and fir cones. The animals’ images inside the house are interesting as well, as they differ from the outer outward décor since the animals are presented as a prey of the hunter.
It is not a surprise, House with Chimaeras is full of legends. One of them is about suicide of the architect’s daughter, who drowned herself in the Dnipro River because of unfortunate love. And out of grief the father’s fancy created these monsters, who murdered the girl. There is one more interesting legend about dreams realization. They say, if one may find a little crocodile sculpture among other chimaeras of the house, he may wish anything to come true undoubtedly.