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In places of military glory II

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Across the batlle fame ІІ

November 7 is the day of the Great October Revolution. Once it was one of the most important and ceremonial holidays, celebrated with parades, salutes and concerts all across the Soviet Union. Today, 90 years later, it is an obsolete, half-forgotten date, remembered only by few.

Nevertheless, past importance of this holiday, its great significance for each Soviet citizen and its role in the history of our former state do not permit us to ignore it.

Thus, we dedicate the tour named «ACROSS THE BATTLE FAME PLACES» to the developments of the Great October Revolution.

Before starting your journey through time and space, drop into the Ukrainian National History Museum and visit the halls dedicated to this topic, after which the routes presented will appear to you as an excellent illustration of the famous events.

We would like to bring to your attention two possible routes:

«Peace to huts, war to palaces: revolutionary underground». The key places of this route illustrate working conditions, in which underground revolutionary organizations had to take their actions. They also demonstrate views and ideas of “revolutionaries” and “counter-revolutionaries”. Narrow streets, lanes and back streets of the city center will narrate about that.

Duration of walk: 1,5-2 hours.

It is recommended to take with you: comfortable shoes, sunglasses or an umbrella (subject to weather), camera, amount of money – 10$ minimum (plus a sandwich and a bottle of water or a thermos with tea).

«Peace to huts, war to palaces: revolutionary underground»

Volodymyrskaya str., 2

Ukrainian National History Museum. Before starting off to the offered routes, visit the exposition, dedicated to the revolutionary events of the beginning of the twentieth century and listen to the narration of the guide. It will make the orientation in the events of this complex period much easier for you.

1. Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, near the house No 40 (START)

Hidden aspects of revolutionary events, narrated by the dark corners of back streets, will begin to disclose themselves from a rather light open space of the square between Comintern Str. and Taras Shevchenko Boulevard. On a frosty January day, 1918, right at the spot you are standing, a real battle took place. A bit higher, on the boulevard hill the Ukrainian troops settled themselves. From the station, a crowd of revolutionary railroaders was coming up towards them like a seething stream. The City defenders overcame the avalanche coming from the railway station. However, victory in one battle doesn't mean victory in a war. So the young Ukrainian state died soon under the pressure of the “red wave”.


2. Taras Shevchenko Boulevard. Monument to M.Schors.

Don't hurry to move further. In front of you, there is a monument to M. Schors, a Soviet military leader, who had shown his worth also in the hostility in the territory of Ukraine during the revolution. The enthusiastic commander ahorse seems to be leading a grand parade; he raises his hand saluting the spectators. Along the upper edge of the pedestal, on which a statue of the rider stands, a ribbon stretches with the images of revolutionary episodes in Ukraine.

Revolution was the time of young romanticists. Being a young lad, a bit more than twenty years old, Schors was already in command of a Read Army detachment successfully struggling against bourgeois authority for revolutionary ideas.


3. Volodymyrska str., 57

After a brief narration about revolutionaries, one should pay attention to counter-revolutionaries, too. Now you can see a great building, a kind of palace, in which the Ukrainian Republic Parliament, Central Rada conducted its meetings during the years 1917-1918. This building, erected in the twentieth century, was aimed to be a Pedagogical Museum building. However, it performed its primary functions only during a short period of time. In the Communists' perception, it was a sort of counter-revolutionary headquarters and the nest of nationalistic bourgeois ideas. That was possibly the reason for turning it into Lenin museum after the Revolution – it was done, in order to break the former counter-revolutionary image of the building.

To the right of it you will see the statue of Mikhail Hrushevsky, the first President of Ukraine, a famous historian and intellectual, who had lost the war to the “Red wave” forces. That could have happened because of the contradictions and conflicts within the Ukrainian Government, which did not pay due attention to the closeness of the enemy.


4. Prorizna str., 22

One of the political forces and organizations working in Kiev at the beginning of the twentieth century was the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Labor Party, which asserted the rights of proletariat, just like the Bolsheviks did. Now you are standing near the nineteenth century building, in which the main organizational center of this party was located. Today this is an almost unnoticeable house, which gets lost amidst high modern buildings. Editorial staff of the “Rabochaya Gazeta” (the “Labor Paper”) was located here too.

In addition, this house is famous for one of the oldest strong drinks shops in Kiev, situated inside. It could have been here since revolutionary times.


5. Bohdan Hmelnytsky str., 8

In this building, looking so harmless, the main ideological nest of the Bolsheviks was situated at the beginning of the twentieth century. Here the editorial staff of the paper “Bolshevik”, organized by the Central Communistic Party Committee in Ukraine, was situated. From here leaflets, flyers and papers were delivered across the whole territory of Ukraine.

Nowadays in the “communistic” building, the most capitalistic establishment, the bank, is situated, which sounds a bit paradoxically. And nothing reminds us of its past, except for the windows on the third floor, which are sealed up with papers, as it used to be made before.


6. Taras Shevchenko Boulevard (near Besarabska Square). Monument to Lenin.

Monument to V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Revolution and the Head of proletariat, is the work of one of the most famous Soviet sculptors Manizer. This monument received several awards at that time. And, curiously enough, it still stands in the center of the city. The statue embodies the image of enthusiastic revolutionary leader; it stands on the high pedestal and is surrounded by huge poplars, which create an air of grandeur, respect and idolization of the image of a revolutionary leader. This statue was erected in 1946 in a half-destroyed, hungry and cold after the war city, in one of few blocks, preserved intact. In spite of the absence of money in the treasury and the necessity to spend costs for the ruined city restoration, the government assigned costs for the expensive statue.

There is a confusing, paradoxical aspect in this monument, too: the leader and ideologist of the Revolution faces the side of one of the oldest markets of Kiev, Besarabsky, stronghold of capitalistic relationship.


7. Pushkinska str., 32

The pathos of Lenin statue, its solemnity and importance appeared much later. Now let us turn back to severe dark times of the Revolution. Unattractive brick house of the beginning of the nineteenth century seems to be a perfect place for calm family life. But behind such calm facade one of the most famous revolutionaries, Lenin's brother Dmitry Ulyanov found his shelter. It is easy to get to this house, as it stands just in the center of the city, it is easy to hide in it or its tangled yards from persecutors and the government. The yard closest to the street reminds us of the yards of Revolutionary Petrograd – the capital of the Revolution.


8. Volodymyrska str., 84

Further from center, in labor outskirts, it was much easier to carry out revolutionary activities. This house is an example of typical building of the end of nineteenth century. During the pre-revolutionary period, it was one of the places, where public meetings, discussions of the front news, and revolutionary proclamations took place. Secret address of one of the Kiev Bolsheviks' underground organizations, a kind of place for information exchange and preparation of revolution, hidden from police and government, was located here.


9. Chervonoarmiyska str, 47

If you go through the archway of this house and drop at the yard, you'll be able to observe the conditions, under which the revolutionaries had to work.

Squat two-storey house in the yard was in 1918 January a revolt planning centre. Here the plan of activities was developed, and different situations were thought through. Here lived the leaders of the revolt, which became an important point in the establishment of communistic government in Kiev. It is really amazing, how the leaders of that revolt were able to react quickly to all the situations being far from the centre of those events. Mind, that they didn't have mobile phones.


10. Laboratorna str, 12

Here was the house of the turn of the century, in which the Ulyanovs lived for some time. A few years ago, the house was demolished, and only fenced basement, hidden under the leaves and trash, and the path leading to the garden gate remained at this place.


11. Hospitalna str, 24а (FINAL)

We have reached the final point of our excursion, fortification «Kosoi Kaponir». It was built in 1844 as a fortification of the New Pecherska Fortress. Beginning from the 1860's dungeons and cells of the fortress were used as a political prison, one of the prisoners in which was Lenin's brother Dmitry.

Besides, «Kosoi Kaponir» is one of the most beautiful and amazing places in Kiev. The remains of the defensive earth mounds of the fortress, which once was the largest one in Europe, have turned into green islands right in the center of Kiev.

The fortification is situated in the depth of the block. The best way to them is from the side of Lesya Ukrainka Boulevard (between houses No 12 and No 14).

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