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Poltavsky Shlyakh Street (The Way to Poltava)

The street was established together with the Kharkiv fortress as a mail road to Poltava and Yekaterinoslav (now Dniepropetrovsk). Before the mid-19th century it was built up mainly with poor country huts with straw covering. Then Yekaterinoslavka Street (as it was initially called) was paved, and when the railway station was opened, it became attractive for the well-off. Shabby huts were replaced by presentable houses of officials and merchants, hotels and saloons. In the late 19th century, the city’s major water reservoir was located in the street and a horse-tram line was laid. In the early 20th century, the street had numerous shops, theatres, cabarets, photographers’ studios, cinemas, a circus, ba­keries and all kinds of workshops.

1, Poltavsky Shlyakh St. is a former lodging house designed by A. Tomson in the style of Neobaroque in the 1880s. Situated at the corner of Klubny (Club) Lane and 3, Poltavsky Shlyakh St., the former estate of merchant Kuzin, a famous patron of arts and artists, has a distinguishing classical outlook. The first house was constructed by architect P. Yaroslavsky in the late 18th century, and the other two were built in the early 19th century (designed by Y. Vasiliev and A. Ton).

The oldest cinema in the city — the Bommer — has been preserved on the opposite side (6, Poltavsky Shlyakh St.), close to one of the first pharmacies (now pharmacy No. 20; 10, Poltavsky Shlyakh St.). It was here, that in 1874 V. Pashchenko, a doctor and a passionate music lover, built the first permanent opera house in Kharkiv at the cost of a big heritage he had received. The building was wooden and could only be used for six years. Thus, in the 1880s it was disassembled, and the theatre moved to Rymarska Street, to the building of the Commercial Club.

14, Poltavsky Shlyakh is a building combining the best features of Kharkiv Modern School. This is a former diocesan hotel, known as the Moscow Hotel at Soviet times (designed by V.  Pokrosky, 1913). Behind the hotel is a building of the Regional Theatre for Children and Youth, a former Theatre of Miniatures and Operetta.

Further on, there is a small six-sided court, situated on the both sides of the street — the so called ‘round’ park. Two buildings among the constructions surrounding the park are of special interest: 11, Poltavky Shlyakh, designed in the Modern Style in the early 20th century, and the estate of the Pavlovs (13, Poltavsky Shlyakh St.), designed by A. Ton and built in 1832, the latter being an example of the city villa of the 18th century.

The mansions like that were built by the city nobility — gentlefolks and officials. They were mainly two-storey buildings. The ground floor was for the every-day life and included bed-rooms, children’s rooms, rooms for guests and service facilities. The first floor was for special occasions and had a suite of rooms — a parlour, dining-room, lounge-room and a large central hall with a balcony situated between the columns of the gallery (a four-column gallery was a typical feature of such villas). The entrance to the house was from the yard, while the entrance to the yard itself was marked with massive stone gates.

Two five-storey residential buildings on the opposite side of the park (22, Poltavsky Shlyakh, designed by V. Estrovich, 1914 and 22a, Poltavsky Shlyakh, designed by B. Korneyenko, 1910) are also designed in the style of Modern, but look absolutely different, the former being characterised by the austerity of style, while the latter is distinguished through its luxuriance facade decoration.

In the mid-20th century, a monument to Y. Sverdlov, one of the Bolshevist leaders, was put up in the Round Park.

At the crossroads with Yaroslavska Street one can see the remaining of a complex of buildings of the early 19th century. One of the buildings used to house the B. Lyatoshynsky Musical College which is now located in 1a, Chervonoshkilna Naberezhna (Red School Embankment). The activities of this educational establishment are closely connected with the history of the city’s musical culture.

44, Poltavsky Shlyakh was one of the most beautiful churches of Kharkiv — the St. Dmiter Church. Savagely destroyed in the 1930s, the church is now retrieved by the Orthodox Church and is being restored.

A two-storey building of a former customs office and the Grikke Theatre-Circus built in 1905–1906 and now housing a sporting arena is situated on Krasny Militsioner Square (Red Policeman) to the South of Poltavsky Shlyakh.

A range of interesting constructions can be seen further on when one approaches the railway station. 50, Poltavsky Shlyakh is a three-storey building in a ‘brick’ style with a watchtower built in 1857 (reconstructed in 1908 by architect B. Korneyenko). This is a former Fire Station No.3, one of the oldest in the city. The building is still used in accordance with its initial functional purpose. A monument to firemen killed in the fire (sculptured by M.  Ovsiankin) is located in a small park close to the fire station. The opposite side of the street features a former lodging house of Neroslev (55, Poltavsky Shlyakh; designed by Z. Kharmansky, 1914) and a former trading house with a unique attic (designed by J. Caune, 1906; 57, Poltavsky Shlyakh).

Beyond opens a panoramic view of Kholodna Gora crowned with an impressive silhouette of the Ozeriana Church (designed by V. Nemkin, 1901). The church was built on the site between the Kuryazh Monastery and the Holy Shroud Monastery where the icon of the Holy Mother of God of Ozeriana was presented during the sacred procession.