In the background — the view of the dwelling house with downstairs store at the junction of Constitution Square and Rosa Luxembourg Square
The view of Rosa Luxembour Square
opens from the University hill.
At different times it was called Lobna, Nahorna, Narodna, Torhova, Pavlovska.
It was also the site of the fair held on the Dormition and Holy Shroud days.
The Mile Post — a stone obelisk, crowned with the metal two-headed
eagle, which indicated the distances from Kharkiv
to other gubernatorial
towns was erected in the square. Here the governmental decrees were read
out and public executions were held. Another attraction of the square was
the Post-Office on the southeast corner of Universytetska street,
not far from the Mile Post and the executions site. In the 19th
the square was built up with one- and two-storied buildings
used predominantly for trade purposes.
The Triumphal Column dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence
There used to be a big shop, owned
by merchant Pavlov, the building that stood out among the others, and which
was later rebuilt as a hotel. It was destroyed during World War II.
The square acquired its current name in 1919 in the memory of
Rosa Luxembourg (1871–1919) — one of the founders of the Communist Party
of Germany. The Mile Post was taken away in the 1920s as it blocked the
A very interesting building is at 4, Rosa Luxembourg Square. Commissioned by
the local community and built in 1912 in Ukrainian Modernist style
by architect B. Korneyenko, it was called the Peasants’ House
and was used as a hotel with a diner, classrooms etc.
Northern side of Rosy Luxembourg Square
At present the building
houses Kharkiv City Technical Inventory Bureau. Its facade is decorated
with Taras Shevchenko bas-relief placed in the hovel; the rest
of the decorative elements have unfortunately been lost.t should be specially mentioned that the Ukrainian Modern style of the
Peasants’ House was extremely popular in Kharkiv at the turn of the 19th
centuries. Even architects of other aesthetic principles turned
to it. The arts and architecture section of the literary club became the
center consolidating architects’ quest under the guidance of artist S. Vasylkovskyi.
Architects and artists who preferred the national style used an ordinary
village hut with its softness and silhouette plasticity as a model. They
followed the traditions of people’s architecture of Kharkiv as well as other
Ukrainian regions, in particular — Volyn and Podillya.
Former Merchants’ Bank and the Astoria Hotel (now Prominvestbank)
Alongside the protection of historical monuments the artists and
architects also concentrated on the problems of modern architecture, construction,
architectural design project competitions. The members of the club designed
and constructed schools and tenant houses, industrial and transport buildings.
They made sketches of interior design and murals.
The original character of these buildings is determined by specific
forms of their cornices and by graphic bodies. There are about 20 houses
of that type in Kharkiv, more than in any other Ukrainian city (for example,
the so-called Boyko House at 44, Mirronosytska street; 46, Poltavskyi
Palace of Labor
This was the most organic way of integrating Kharkiv into the
European architectural context, where this style was widespread at the
turn of the centuries.
In 2001 the Triumphal Column dedicated to the 10th anniversary
of Ukraine’s independence (sculptor A. Ridnyi, architect N. Vlasov) was
added to the ensemble of the square.
Leaving behind the building of the Central Department Store
erected in 1932 by architect A. Linetskyi (reconstructed in 1954 by
M. Moshovich), at 1/3, Rosa Luxembourg square, we find ourselves among very
interesting buildings — the true gems of Kharkiv. Their history
dates back to the late 19th
and early 20th
Facade of the Palace of Labor
At that period our city
turned into a major industrial and trade center of the Russian Empire, partially
due to its favorable geographical location close to Donbass coal mines and
to Krivyi Rih iron ore. It was then that the powerful industrial base of
the city was laid. Foreign businessmen used to massively invest into Ukrainian
industry, concluded concessions, and established joint stock companies.
Architecture responded with the creation
of the types of buildings which were new to the country: a railway
station, a department store, a bank, a pawnshop, a tenant house etc.
Built mainly in Sumska street, which became the main one in the city,
and in Nikolayevska Square (nowadays Constitution Square), these
buildings formed a type of Kharkiv’s «City» — its business center. The
designs were developed by talented architects from Saint Petersburg:
R. Golenishev, F. Lidval, N. Veryovkin, I. Pretro, R. Genrikhsen,
A. Dmitriyev, D. Rakitin, N. Vasiliev, A. Rzhepishevskiy and others.
Among these buildings there is a former Merchants’ Bank and
the Astoria Hotel at 10, Rosa Luxembourg Square (architects
N. Vasiliev and A. Rzhepishevskiy, 1910–1913). Today the building
houses the Prominvest Bank. This unique architectural landmark (one of the
first multistoried buildings with a concrete frame in the city) is a vivid
example of Northern Modernist style. The unusual rhythm of multilevel bow
windows, restrained by the massive pediment, an unusual form of the mansard
roof, the square blocks of granite setting give the building its romantic
The Merchant’s Bank used to be located on the lower floors of
the building, numerous offices — on the middle ones, and the hotel — on
the upper floors. The artistic impression of the building is augmented
by the skillfully chiseled large masks above the doors, powerful atlantas
and unusual figures on the sides of the entrances.
The whole block on the other side of the square is occupied by a single huge —
even by modern standards — building, known as the Palace
of Labor (the former tenant house of the All-Russian
Russia Insurance Society (architect I. Petro, 1916). This is one of the
many tenant houses, typical for Kharkiv, in which residential and trade
premises were combined. Such houses were usually erected in trade squares
and adjacent streets and usually fulfilled a certain style-forming
The building of the Russia Insurance Society completed the western side
of former Nikolayevska Square (nowadays 1, Constitution Square) and set
the construction scale for Pavlovska Square (Rosa Luxembourg Square) next
to it. The six-storied trapezium-shaped neo-classical building, in addition
to the street-facing sections, also had two other ones forming inner yards.
Residential premises on the upper floors had a corridor-section type of
layout with convenient landings in the corners and in the middle of each
section in the side yards. The central yard aimed for the passage-type department
store had no entrances to the stairwells. The central yard served as a passageway
to Kvitka-Osnovyanenko street.
Functionally the building hasn’t changed much: there are still
shops on the lower floors, the upper ones are being occupied by the regional
offices of trade unions, Boards of Directors of Research and Technology
groups and office premises.
The Palace of Labor connects Rosa Luxembourg Square and Constitution
Square. The latter used to house almost all financial and bank establishments
of the city.