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‘Quiet’ Downtown


Darvina, Krasina, Chervonopraporna, Frunze Streets are usually referred to as ‘quiet’ downtown area. This part of the city is mostly built up with big mansions of the late 19th-early 20th century, the streets are narrow and quiet, almost the same as they were 100 years ago.

Darvina (Darwin) Street was established in the mid-19th century and was initially called Sadovo-Kulikovska, as named after its landlords, the Kulikovskys, who owned vast lands in this area. When the massive construction started here, as the Technological Institute was being built, they sold most of their land to the city. In the early 20th century a range of mansions was built in the street, including the Governor’s Mansion and Governor’s Office.

The buildings in Darvina Street have been well preserved and are of special interest for those fond of old architecture.

Built in the style of Neorenaissance, 9, Darvina Steet is a former house of merchant Ryzhov (designed by V. Velichko, 1912). This is one of the few mansions of the city which preserved its initial outlook. During the early years of Soviet power, it housed the Extraordinary Commission for Fighting Counterrevolution, Speculations and Sabotage. Later it became home to the All-Ukrainian Society of Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. Since 1934 it has become the House of Architects.

Situated next to it is a former mansion of English Consul Charles Blacky, now housing the House of Artists (designed by V. Gaush, 1911).

13, Darvina Steet is a mansion previously owned by D. Alchevsky, biology professor of Kharkiv University. The designer (A. Beketov) described the style of the building as Mauritanian. It used to house the Society of Working Women Mutual Help, the first mixed gymnasium for boys and girls and now it is home to Ukrainian-British College.

Further on, the architectural complex of the street resembles that of a small European town. 21 and 23, Darvina St. were designed by A. Beketov in 1901–1903 in the style of Neorenaissance. A very interesting building designed in the style of Modern by V. Rzhepyshevsky for a stage director N. Sinelnikov was built in 1914. Close to it (31, Darvina St.) is the house designed by V. Velichko for his family. At the end of the street there is a mansion designed by A. Beketov in 1912 (37, Darvina St.). Besides A. Beketov, painters M. Pestrikov and N. Samokish used to live there at different times.

Parallel to Darvina Street, further up Pushkinska Street, there are Krasina, Chervonopraporna (Red Flag) and Frunze Streets.

1, Krasina Street is a seven-storey complex built in 1932. It is one of the best monuments of Constructivism. Designers of the legendary T-34 Soviet tank M. Koshkin and A. Morozov used to live here. The front of the building faces Pushkinska Street.

3, Krasina Street used to house the Puppet Theatre, now it is home to the House of Actors where are theatrical performances and meetings with actors are organised. The alternative youth theatres — Theatre 19, New State, etc. — perform here.

4, Chervonopraporna (Red Flag) Street was constructed in accordance with the design by V. Pokrovsky in the 1920–1930s. It used to house the House of Writers (The House of Blakytny). Now it is home to Radioastronomy Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

8, Chervonopraporna Street is a building of Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts designed by K. Zhukov in the style of Ukrainian Modern for the Arts College in 1913.

The house in 9, Frunze Street was home to one of the greatest researchers in the history of Sloboda Ukraine — Academician D. Bahaliy (1857–1932). The house was built at the cost of the fees received by the scholar for his manuscript ‘History of Kharkiv: 250 years of existence (1655–1905)’ written in association with D. Miller.

Kharkiv Museum of Literature (6, Frunze St.) was founded in 1988. Its collection includes unique manuscripts, photographs, documents, personal belongings of famous Ukrainian public figures whose life and work were associated with Kharkiv. The museum is a home to a variety folklore and artistic groups, as well as an experimental theatre called the Arabesques.

One of the museum building — a single-storey building designed in the Pseudorussian style — belonged to architect M. Lovtsov who designed the Annunciation Cathedral and the Three Saints Church.

Going down Frunze Street to Polytechnic Street, one can have a view of a complex of buildings of Technological Institute — now KhPI National Technical University. This is one of the oldest educational establishments in our city. Its construction started in the mid-1870s, and in 1885 the first buildings designed by R. Henrichsen in the ‘brick’ style were commissioned. In the early 20th centrury, the Chancellor’s building (former Drafting building designed by M. Lovtsov), Engineering building (designed by V. Velichko) and Electrotechnical building (designed by A. Beketov) were constructed. The Electrotechnical building was initially designed in the Classical style, but influenced by the general tendencies of that time, the designer moved forward to Constructivism. The construction of the new buildings for the Institute continued in later years. Now it is one of the largest universities in the city.


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