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The Taras Shevchenko Gardens

The Taras Shevchenko Gardens are the oldest of all the city gardens and parks. When the city was founded, a thick natural oak forest protecting the ways to the Kharkiv fortress from the north was located on that site. The initiative to lay the gardens belonged to V. Karazin, the founder of Kharkiv University. The upper terrace was designed as an English landscape park, whilst the lower one is the site of the University Old Botanical Gardens laid together with the foundation of the University. The ancient oaks planted several centuries ago have been preserved here. Hundreds of kinds of plants brought from all over the world were acclimatised by famous university professors. Now about 300 species are represented in the Gardens (the New Botanical Gardens situated in Sarzhin Ravine near Pavlovo Pole district have about 900 species of plants).

Since 1808 an astronomical observatory has been functioning on the site of the gardens.

On the occasion of the centenary of the University foundation, a monument to V. Karazin (sculptured by Andreoletti (Pakhirev), designed by A. Beketov, 1905) was erected at the entrance to the gardens. Later it was moved to the central entrance of the main university building (4, Svobody Square), and in 1935 a monument to the great Ukrainian poet and painter Taras Shevchenko was erected at the entrance to the gardens.

The monument is considered to be the best among over 250 other monuments to Taras Shevchenko all over the world. It took sculptor M. Manizer and architect I. Lanhbard only a year to create this piece of art. Great actors of the Berezil Theatre N. Uzhviy, A. Buchma, A. Serdyuk, I. Marianenko were posing for the sculptor as he was creating figures of characters from the poet’s works (the figures have been arranged around the pedestal).

After the monument was unveiled, the garden was reconstructed. New alleys, recreation areas and a fountain were introduced. To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the city, a water cascade was built in the gardens (designed by A. Mayak). Ukraina Concert Hall was opened here in 1963. It is located next to the main entrance to Kharkiv Zoo, one of the oldest and best zoos in Ukraine.

In recent years, several other monuments have adorned the garden: a sculpture composition called ‘The offsprings of Cossacks will never die out’, a monument to the repressed kobsars (old cossacks, often blind, who played the ‘kobsa’, a national musical instrument), a bronze football on the Alley of Sporting Glory and a column with a sculpture of Michael the Archangel on top — a present from the City of Kiev for Kharkiv’s 350th anniversary.

Kharkiv State Technical University of Construction and Architecture is situated just opposite the monument to Taras Shevchenko, in the building of the former State Insurance Company (designed by A. Molokin and H. Ikonnikov, 1927). A monument to Academician of Architecture A. Beketov (sculptured by S. Hurbanov) is located at the central entrance to the University. A former lodging house (44, Sumska St.) with female figures on a flat platform roof and gracious combination of elements of Classicism and Modern also attract people’s attention.