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The Palace and park complex "Kachanivka"

        Many palace and park complexes once existed in Ukraine but today only one survives. A two hour drive from Kiev, by a small village bearing the same name, lays the park complex of Kachanivka. It consists of a palace, arbors, outbuildings, landscape architecture (decorative bridges and alleys) and surrounding landscaped parks and lakes. The Kachanovsky ensemble, a truly striking example of country estate architecture, is established in the best traditions of the world of palace and garden art. Many tourists come here for the weekend to see with their own eyes this beautiful ensemble, to connect with a past long gone and to simply relax in the natural beauty of the park.

        The estate was founded by the Russian commander count Rumyantsev-Zadunauskiu, when he received the land as a gift from Catherine the Great. Following designs by the Russian architect Karl Blank, the Ukrainian architect Maxim Mostsepanov built a magnificent palace in the environs of a great park complex. The park is huge, covering an area of 600 hectares. The palace enjoyed a golden age under the auspices of its next owners, G. Pocheka and his wife Paraska Andreevna (Tarnavskaya from her first marriage). The estate grew in size, new buildings were constructed and it became a popular meeting place for artists and intellectuals, playing a key role in the establishment of many well-known cultural figures of this period. Here Basil Sternberg, a pupil of the Academy of Arts stayed, penning a variety of award winning creations. In the summer of 1838 the composer Michael Glinka worked on his opera "Ruslan and Ludmilla" and the pond close to the Mallorcan arbor is today named after him, symbolizing the cultural unity of the Russian Ukrainian peoples. These places visited Taras Shevchenko, the outstanding Ukrainian poet and artist, and in 1880, Ilya Repin, remained in the estate for a year, composing the world renowned painting "The Cossacks writing a letter to the Sultan."

        The complex reaches its peak during the period, when here was owner a Basil Tarnavsky Jr. (1837-1899). It was this man, an active public figure, patron of the arts and a fanatical collector of Ukrainian antiquities, who transformed the estate into an architectural masterpiece. His contributions to the complex include the Hills of Love and Fidelity, many lakes with a total area of 125 hectares, and the introduction of many species of plants and shrubs. Coniferous trees have played an important role in the formation of an artistic image of the park: spruce, pine, cedar, Weymouth pine, Siberian fir and cypress.

        Since 1919 Kachanivka, like the entire culture of stately homes in Ukraine, has been in decline. From 1922 to 1981, the complex has served as children’s home, sanitarium and hospital. Huge damage was caused to Palace in 1925-1935, when the Kachanivka was like children's town named of the Vorovskogo - a commune of street children.

        In 1981 the state historical-cultural reserve "Kachanivka" was founded, which in the year 2001, by a presidential decree, was granted national status. Gradually the rebirth of the palace and park complex began. 

Author Daria Talan 

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