Aug 06

The House with Chimeras (Casa cu himere)

The House with Chimeras is an edifice constructed in the Art Nouveau style in the historical neighborhood Lypky – which is located in Kiev. The area is filled with official edifices, such as the Presidential Administration Building, which is located right across the street from the House with Chimeras. Because of this, the region has been transformed into a pedestrian one, no cars being allowed to drive along and security guards patrol the street 24/7.

From 2005 onward the house has been used for official events such as ceremonies, diplomatic meetings, and the like.


The house is truly an architectural wonder, the person behind the design, architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, had built the edifice for his own personal use at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the upkeep of such a monumental construction was a bit too much for Gorodetsky to handle so he found himself with no other alternative but to estrange the building. The House with Chimeras has changed several hands throughout the 20th century until it was transformed into a healthcare facility under the ruling of the Communist Party.

The restoration work conducted to the edifice did not change the original plan designed by Gorodetsky, the edifice which presents itself before us having maintained its appearance throughout the years.


The first thing that intrigued me upon coming across this Ukrainian tourist attraction was the name it bears. But as I was to find out, the name is directly connected to the elements of decorations which were used in designing the building. The ornaments were a direct reflection of Gorodetsky in the sense that he was extremely keen on hunting and the sculptures used on the house illustrate various exotic animals and hunting scenes. The most frequent mistake is the assumption that the name is allusive of the mythological chimera, when in fact it simply alludes to a specific architectural technique in which animal representations are used to adorn an edifice – this being exactly what Emilio Sala, an Italian architect, had done in this case.

The construction work of the edifice was underway by 1902. Gorodetsky’s plan was to create an apartment building which had one apartment per floor. While his dream did came true, the owner did not manage to see it through as his dire financial situation obliged him to renounce the beautiful house.


It is quite interesting how the municipality managed to restore the house. As it has been mentioned previously, a polyclinic was established inside the edifice and this institution functioned here until the end of the 20th century. There was no maintenance work conducted for more than a century and the results were beginning to show extensively. In fact, the edifice was close to split in half, not to mention that the ornamentation work was almost unrecognizable, that is how much the building had deteriorated.

But even so, the occupants of the polyclinic were unwilling to relocate.  The situation took quite a turn as the workers in charge of the restoration work covered the windows with panels and were on the verge of bolting the doors. It took an intervention from the president to evacuate the building completely.


When the refurbishing was completed, the House of Chimeras regained its former beauty. Restoration work was also conducted in the courtyard where a small garden, a lake and several fountains embellished the setting – just as Gorodetsky intended it.

The architectural design of the monument comprises curved and loosely patterns in combination with floral motifs, representations of mythical beings and game animals.

The site chosen for the edifice was inclined and this posed some issues in the building process. However, the foundation was set properly so that the edifice was finally erected. In fact, if you regard the façade of the building, you get the impression that there House with Chimeras does not have more than 3 storeys. But getting around the building and seeing it from behind will reveal the actual structure of the edifice – which in fact consists of 6 floors.

The reason for which this edifice is listed among the most important tourist attractions in Kiev is obvious – because the House with Chimeras is an architectural jewel.