Yaroslaviv Val, Kiev
Karaim Kenasa, a hallmark of Yaroslaviv Val, was build by a well-known architect Vladislav Gorodetsky (other buildings by Gorodetsky worth seeing include The House with Chimeras, The National Art Museum and St. Nicholas Church) on request of the tobacco “kings” and leaders of the Karaim community, Kohen Brothers. Build in the Moresque style, the kenasa was opened in 1902 and was the first worshiping place for the local karaim community. The building has almost preserved its original look loosing just the ornate dome (see the old picture). The insides of the kenasa were renovated several years ago. Currently it is used for chamber concerts. (check the concert/event poster on the adjacent to kenasa building on the left).
Yaroslaviv Val is one of few streets in Kyiv that have survived the wars and destructive Soviet times and succeed to preserve the original appearance of the XIX century street. It’s a great stroll as well as good place to take pictures. Most of buildings have memorial plagues (in Ukrainian and Russian). You can hire a guided tour or just wander around by yourself. There are several nice coffee shops down the street, where you can “refuel.”
Building #1, aka as Baron Steinheil’s House, Knight’s Castle, etc. is a fine example of a building in Modern style. It resembles a medieval knight castle. Arched entrance, narrow gothic windows, sharp-spared tower. Pay attention to the balcony, which looks like about to fall on your head, it is supported by house’s guardians - "devils," resembling creating from Notre Dame de Paris.
This ornate art-deco building belonged to Leonid Rodzianko, an entrepreneur and the owner of the stud farm. Built in 1908 in the Modern style as a house for profit (rent), it was equipped with the latest technical innovation of the time - Otis elevators.
Rodzianko lived here with his family and had his private entrance (left entrance, with his monogram over the door). He occupied a 6-room apartment on the second floor. the place was well-known for its Christmas celebrations. The atmosphere and interior of the place has been nicely preserved by the current resident - the Suzirya (Constellation) Drama Theatre. I am not sure if you can just enter the building to have a look on the interior, but you for sure can if you buy a ticket for a performance :)
a ticket cost is around 35 UAH
P.S. the next year, the theatre will celebrate its 20th anniversary, and the building - 100th :)
The history of the current Yaroslaviv Val Street stretches to the 11th century, when the new ramparts (Valy) have been built to protect the city of Yaroslav the Wise. the rampart stretched from the Golden Gate to Zhydivska (Jewish) Gate (once located at the end of the current street, at the beginning of Lvivska Sq.) and enhanced greatly the northern side of the city.
The rampart, deteriorated during the centuries, has been totally destroyed in the mid-XIX century, giving a birth to a landmark Kyiv street. Originally, the street was called Podvalnaya - built “pod valom” “in the foot of the rampart.” It received it present name only in 1869.
The street Yaroslaviv Val is famous for its architecture and beautiful buildings. This street were not destroyed during the Second World War. Prepare for a steep walk up from the main street, Khreshchatyk Street.