Intriguing House with Chimeras
Across the road from the ordinary presidential administration offices in Kiev, Ukraine, stands a house that is spellbinding and very unusual. It quietly looms from its location on a hill in Bankovaya Street, and has been the source of many legends and folklores; some that are buried in grief and loss and others that make the hair on your neck stand up. The building itself has an air of mystery and uncertainty about it, and even though most visitors compare it to a castle, the house and its extraordinary decorations inspire visitors to conjure up their own tales of ghosts and goblins.
The House with Chimeras was the first building to be constructed from cement and is built precariously on the slope of the hill. It was built between 1901 and 1903 by a Kiev architect named Vladislav Gorodezhkii (also spelled Wladislaw Horodecki). When looking at the building, one has to wonder what inspired him to build this odd looking house in the style he did, and why he decided to decorate it the way he did. On the outside, and in various places within the house, Gorodezkii used fantasy fish and scary sculptures of lizards, snakes, maidens, frogs and other monstrous creatures to adorn the walls and roof.
The somber and terrifying looking house is shrouded in more secrecy than the man who created it. Myths in regard to the house are far from the truth. They tell of how Gorodezhkii turned his grief and bitterness on the house after his daughter had committed suicide, or how he cursed the house, so that anyone who stays in the house, apart from his descendents, would be plagued by bad luck and unhappiness. The real story behind the construction of the House with Chimeras is far less spectacular than the structure.
Vladislav Gorodezhkii had shares in a cement factory and saw the building of the House with Chimeras as an opportunity to advertise the diversity and strength of his product. He also had a bet with some of his architect friends, who didn’t believe he would succeed with this architectural challenge, but he did. Today, the House with Chimeras is a popular Ukrainian attraction in Kiev, as visitors come to marvel at the weird creatures and strange style of the house. But it is an attraction that is also in desperate need for repair, as the facades showing cracks and it has been determined that the house is starting to sink. Some of the extravagant creatures are also showing signs of damage. But none-the-less, it is still a magnificent site to visit, and visitors are welcome to be inspired by the building and create their own myths and memories to take home.