Poltavskyi Shlyakh in Kharkiv
The upper landing of the front stairs approaching the University Hill grants the vista of Poltavskyi Shlyakh
street that starts beyond the bridge over the Lopan river. It has already been referred to as the road running to Poltava
, Sumy, Yekaterynoslav that sprung into being simultaneously with the Kharkiv
This part of the city has stretched west of Proletarska Square and the Lopan river up to the detour motor road.
This used to be a boggy part of the city with numerous levadas (inundated areas), lakes as well as former river-beds. Though hardly credible nowadays, as far back as the ХVII century, one had to pave the road with faggot wood to cover the stretch of road from the fortress up to the foot of Kholodna Hora (Cold Hill).
New dwelling houses on the north side of Poltavskyi shlyakh
The present location site of the «Round» City Garden used to feature a small lake with the log-path and a small bridge over it.
Up to the ХІХ century the street, just as well as the larger part of that-time Kharkiv, was studded by the straw-roof dwelling places, this being a salient feature of the western part (towards Kholodna Hora). Having no possibility to erect houses in compliance with the requirements of the Ruling on the Principle Town of Province Planning predominantly town-dwellers of modest means settled there.
At the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries this city neighbourhood was given a regular pattern due to the architect P.
The present-day view on Poltavskyi Shlyakh from the University Hill
Yaroslavs’kyi’s contribution. The regular arrangement fundamentals were brought into accord with the established road directions, sophisticated relief, winding intricate outlines of the river-bank,
the inherent lakes, canals, and swampy landscapes. Their essential elements have been retained up to present notwithstanding the changes in building patterns.
Our last tour is related to a number of peculiar streets and edifices, created in the course of a long period of time - from the country estate of the late ХVIII century up to stylish trade and storage facilities of the early ХХ century. Our attention is also attracted to the railway-related buildings of various functions, intermitting with the old handicraft slobodas (settlements) with clear names: Chebotarska (Shoe-makers), Kotsarska (Carpet-makers), etc.
The Moscow Hotel, 14 Poltavskyi Shlyakh
One of the local slobodas was made famous by Hr. Kvitka-Osnovyanenko
in his unfading and everlasting play Svatannya na Honcharivtsi (Match-making
at Honcharivka). Along the line mentioned, at the site of the present day Hospital # 5 there used to stand the Institute for Refined Maids in the first half of the XIX century, with the abovementioned writer and public figure being its President.
The prospective Nobel prize-winner I. Mechnikov used to live as a student at 7 Engels Street
near the former Nativity Church.
Not very far away, in one of the cosy houses, the prominent artist Zinaida Serebryakova used to live and create her masterpieces throughout the stormy years of 1918-1919. And the world-renowned pianist V. Horowitz lived at 19 Dmitrievskaya Street
on the ground floor of a big rental house built in Modernist style.
Children and Youth Regional Theatre
The tiny old houses, city gardens, as well as trade edifices of the early XX century, blending with the later buildings, bring about Kharkiv intrinsic distinctiveness.
In contrast to the upper part of the city, Poltavskyi Shlyakh admitted merchants and officials as settlers. With the railway station turned over for operation, hotels, shops, entertainment facilities and numerous photo-shops sprung up along the streets, and railway employees’ houses turned up uphill. Craftspeople resided in the adjacent streets-slobodas, among them Honcharivka, Kotsarska, Chebotarska, and suchlike. Their names reflect the inhabitants’ crafts. At the close of the ХIХ century the principal spare water-pipeline reservoir was set up in the street.
An administrative building on the southern side of the Round City Garden
tramway, that became a signpost in the city development, was laid down in the street in 1882.
The types of the buildings, like in other Kharkiv neighbourhoods, varied very much - mansions, rental houses, offices, shops, performed in sundry architectural styles. The railway commissioning (1869) and the construction of the South Railway Station (1901) triggered off the intensified town-planning development of this part of the city, and led to shifts in the connections between the districts, outskirts and suburbia, as well as provided a possibility to launch the construction of industrial facilities, rental houses and public buildings.
On the south side of the street, at 1 Poltavskyi Shlyakh
, there is a building erected in Neo-Baroque style (architect A.
The buildings on the northern side of the Round City Garden
Thompson) in the 1880s. At present the building houses a vocational college and other institutions.
The partially reconstructed two-storied building of Public Charity Ordinance (architect P. Yaroslavskyi, late XVIII century) has been preserved in Klubnyi Lane that runs behind the house # 3. The lane itself led to Nativity Church, replaced at present by a square.
At the corner of the former Kuzynskyi Lane and Poltavskyi Shlyakh, a huge manor of the merchant Kuzin, a celebrated patron of artists and Maecenas, stands out due to its classical looks. The manor comprises three interconnected buildings. The first one was erected in the late XVIII century (architect P.
Revival of Kharkiv’s old musical traditions. V. Spivakov, company «Moscow Virtuosos», violinist David Goloizekin performed at the «RodDom» club located in a small side street adjacent to Poltavskyi shlyakh
Yaroslavskyi), and in early XIХ century two more premises were attached to it (architects Ye. Vasyliev and A. Ton).
Across the street, the first chemist’s shop of Public Charity Ordinance
(currently the chemist’s shop # 20, at 10 Poltavskyi Shlyakh) is housed in the building decorated in the same way as Kuzin’s manor: with pilasters of the Ionic Order and a pediment.
Further along Poltavskyi Shlakh, beyond the old two-storied buildings, is the Round City Garden
- a hexahedral area on the territory of the former lake.
Prior to the Round City Garden, the northern side of the street used to feature the wooden building of the first Opera House in Kharkiv (it has not survived), the building of the former Brothers Rufers’ Russia Hotel and the oldest in the city Bommer Cinema House
, to which the historical title was ascribed again.
A world-renowned guitarist Al de Miola performs at the «RodDom» club
At the confluence with Engels Street (we’ll talk about it further on), at 14 Poltavskyi Shlyakh
, there stands a building crowned with the hipped roof of an elaborated form, with the corner bay window - the Moscow Hotel (architect V. Pokrovskyi, 1913); this is the construction that embodied the best traits of Kharkiv Modernist Style School.
Beyond the hotel, on the same side of the street, we can see the Children and Youth Regional Theatre
that has been subject to repeated reconstructions.
Among the buildings encircling the Round City Garden southward, two edifices stand out: # 11
, built in the Modernist style, and a two-storied house done in the Russian Classicism style (architect A. Ton) early in the XIX century.
On the southern side of the Round City Garden, two five-storied dwelling houses catch the eye: ## 22 and 22a
, both performed in the Modernist style.
Fire station # 20 — one of the oldest in Kharkiv
They constitute a peculiar contrast. # 22 (architect V. Estrovych, 1914) is decorated in a restrained manner, while # 22a, (architect B. Korneyenko, 1910) is distinguished for its glamorous front decoration.
At the intersection with Yaroslavska Street one can see the remnants of the ensemble construction of the four corners dating to the first half of the XIX century. One of these buildings (at 30 Poltavskyi Shlyakh) for many years used to house a musical college
, now B. Lyatoshynskyi Musical College, located at present at 1A Chervonoshkilna Naberezhna.
The destiny of this building, erected by an unknown designer, is very closely associated with the musical history of the city. In 1871 the ingenious conductor and piano teacher I.
The former trade center (now the AVEC Company headquarters)
Slatin, assisted by the composer A. Rubinstein’s, initiated the Kharkiv branch of the Russian Music Society with music classes, which were two years later transformed into a music college. The dignitary of this educational establishment was P. Chaikovskyi, who attended the students’ concert and presented his own portrait to the faculty. In the same year A. Rubinstein delivered a recital. I. Slatin organised a Symphony Orchestra in Kharkiv, invited renowned composers, conductors, performers, singers of that time. Here belong: A. Glazunov, A. Orenskyi, S. Rakhmaninov, A. Skryabin, F. Kreisler and others.
One of the most beautiful churches of Kharkiv, the Holy Dmitrievska Church, used to be located at # 44, between Dmitrievska and Malinovskoho Streets, both adjacent to Poltavskyi Shlyakh.
This one-dome church in the Classical Style was built in 1808 by the architect Ye. Vasyliev, and in 1842 it was extended through the lateral arrangements. In 1893 the church was reconstructed by the architect M. Lovtsov, who lent the building a pseudo-Russian form. Savagely ruined in 1930, the temple has been transferred back to the church and is being revived. At present it houses the Holy-Dmitrievskyi Orthodox Cakhetic Pastor Centre.
On the northern and southern sides of the street there are several attractive buildings: the dwelling house in the Modernist style at # 46, and across from it - the building of the former Treugolnik (Triangle) Russian-American Rubber Producing Company, performed in eclectic forms.
Red Policeman Square, adjacent to Poltavskyi Shlyakh, on the southern side, displays a two-storied building of the former customs office and the Grikke Theatre-circus built in 1905-1906, with performances held up to 1977. Nowadays it is used as the circus training arena.
Closer to the Southern Railway Station, there is a row of interesting buildings. For instance, Fire-station # 20, which is the oldest one in the city (at 50 Poltavskyi Shlyakh, architect A. Alferov; reconstructed in 1908 by architect B. Korneyenko). The three-storied building with a tall fire-tower was built in the so-called «stone» style. Here at the close of the ХVІІІ century the street used to have the Triumph Gate at its end.
Not far from it, in a small City Garden, there is a monument to the firemen who perished discharging their duties and during hostilities. It was executed by the sculptor M. Ovsyankin and the architect Yu. Shkodovskyi.
Across the street, at # 57 (the former trade centre, 1906), is the AVEC Company headquaters. The two-storied building with a garret is remarkable due to the peculiar form of the large windows-lucarnes.
This place enjoys a spectacular view on Kholodna Hora (The Cold Hill) where Poltavskyi Shlyakh runs onto. The sight is crowned by a clear-cut silhouette of Ozeryanska Church, built in 1894-1901 by the architect V. Nyemkin in the pseudo-Romanesque style. The church is erected on the site where the transfer of Ozeryanska Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God by one of the monasteries guarding it, Kuryazhskyi or Holy Shroud Monastery, took place.
This site also affords one of the most breathtaking views of the downtown area.