Kharkiv - Constitution Square (Part 2)
Kharkiv Travel Blog› entry 17 of 33 › view all entries
A building with protruding windows and a small tower on the corner of the square and the avenue catches oneâ€™s eye. Erected in 1849 in classical traditions by architect R. Danylov for clergy visitors, it initially used to have three floors. It was called the Fraternity House of the Dormition Cathedral and was one of the first multistoried buildings in town. In 1900 the house was overhauled by architects B. Mykhalovskyi and M. Lovtsov and got its present look. Today it houses various companies and organizations.
Further up the eastern side of the square there starts a row of the most interesting bank buildings dating back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Banks began playing a major role in the countryâ€™s economy in the second half of the 19th century. Thus their buildings, forming the business part of the city, were of primary importance for its development. It was an absolutely new architectural type emerging in the capitalism era when the rapid growth of trade, manufacture, railway roads resulted in the ever increasing demand for new buildings whose architecture and functional load were different from the more patriarchal houses.
As architectural landmarks of a particular historical period the banks reflected its artistic tendencies. Their facades, faced with expensive stone, decorated with columns, sculptures and portals became a characteristic feature of business Kharkiv.
The first in the row was the Commercial Bank. It was erected in 1896 by the design of the academician of architecture A. Beketov for the Azov-Don Bank. In 1914 architect L. Terven reconstructed it for another financial establishment. The buildingâ€™s present look has been preserved since then. The Central Lecture Hall had been housed here for many years, nowadays most of the building is occupied by shops.
Further along there is a traffic circle from where Korolenko Street and Pushkinska Street start. It used to be the site of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral demolished while laying the broad-gauge tramway road.
Right next to the entry to the underground crossing on the corner with Pushkinska Street there is a highrise apartment block with the drugstore on the first floor built in the 1950s by architects V. Kostenko and E. Ponomareva on the site of the former Kharkivâ€™s best Metropol hotel demolished during World War II. The new building was skillfully incorporated into the existing ensemble with the aid of well-coordinated horizontal sections and the continuation of the ground-floor shop windows lines.
Further along, on the eastern side of the square there stands the building of the Saint Petersburg International Bank (architect V. Velichko, 1913), nowadays - Kharkiv Regional Office of the Open Joint-Stock Oshchadbank Company (22, Constitution Square). The building is completed in the French Renaissance style. The natural-stone Ionic columns on both sides of the main entrance look very solid as if commanding respect to the clients of the bank. The inscription in the upper part of the facade has been preserved since the pre-revolution times.
The following three buildings were constructed by the design of the architect academician A. Beketov. They are the former
In the building of the Volga-Kama Bank A. Beketov didnâ€™t aspire to integrate his new creation into the already existing construction on this site. The central part is decorated with broad pylons which are topped by symbolic rostrum relieves. The
The Trade Bank and the
The life and work of one of the biggest bankers, industrialists and patrons of the city A. Alchevskyi, whose whole family was very active in public life and charity, is connected with the Land Bank.
Such lack of respect can be easily explained. At that time pawnshopâ€™s backside was hidden from the eyes by the House of Nobility Conventions (1814), destroyed in the wartime. Today there is a small park in its place with the monument (1975), dedicated to proclaiming the Soviet power in Ukraine, in the middle.
On the square corners there are entrances to the underground metro stations Â«RadyanskaÂ» and Â«History MuseumÂ».
Kharkiv History Museum, located in the former pawnshop building, is worth special mentioning. Today it is one of Ukraineâ€™s biggest museums, as well as a leading research center in the fields of country studies and museum studies. Its unique collection comprises about 250 thousand precious artifacts, including separate collections of paintings, banners, medals, weapons, genuine documents of different epochs, photographs, archeological findings and coins.
The only salvation for the students praised for their erudition was to be invited as home teachers while on vacation. Thatâ€™s when they could at last have enough food and rest.
One of the most picturesque and exclusive Kharkiv words - Â«rakloÂ» - is also connected with this establishment. It means petty thief, cheater. Its etymology comes back to ancient Hercules, and Bursa students who often stole pies from the vendors in the nearby Annunciation Marketplace, must have used this word in their speech. Kharkiv residents changed it to their taste, and this is not the only example of this kind. For example a clothes hanger is called Â«trempelÂ» after the name of the hangers factory owner. This word may be very misleading for a stranger unfamiliar with the Kharkiv slang.