House of Chimeras

sights / Architecture

House of Chimeras information

Kyiv , Ukraine
vul Bankova 10
Getting there
Metro: Khreshchatyk
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Hard to say which other national president has a bunch of otherworldish creatures peering into his window, but the Ukrainian one does for his office is face-to-face with Kyiv's weirdest edifice. The 'chimeras', which cover every patch of architect Wladislaw Horodecki's creation, are in fact depictions of his exotic hunting trophies – elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, lions and whatever you name. He kept many prototypes inside – in the stuffed form.

The Art Nouveau house, which he built for himself in 1903, is placed on a high cliff so it appears as a six-storey structure on one side and three-storey on the other. The 'chimeras' are here not only to decorate, but also to advertise the revolutionary building material – concrete, of which Horodecki was a huge fan. Many locals say that the house is best admired at night, when spooky creatures seem ready to come alive and jump down from the roof.

Getting inside is tough, the Ukrainian presidency being the main obstacle, since the house is used as a reception office for fellow leaders. Tours are conducted once a week at best. Companies that offer them include Prime Tour and Interesny Kiev. If you do enter, about the first thing you'll see is a fireplace shaped as an octopus.