Bohdan Khmelnytsky Monument, Kiev
|Пам'ятник Богданові Хмельницькому|
The 19th century picture
|Location||Sophia Square, Kiev, Ukraine|
|Designer||Mikhail Mikeshin (statue), Vladimir Nikolaev (pedestal)|
|Material||bronze (statue), granite (pedestal)|
|Dedicated to||Bohdan Khmelnytsky|
The Bohdan Khmelnytsky Monument (Ukrainian: Пам'ятник Богданові Хмельницькому) is a monument in Kiev dedicated to the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Bohdan Khmelnytsky built in 1888. It is one of the oldest sculptural monuments, a dominating feature of Sophia Square and one of the city's symbols.
The monument is located almost in the middle of the Sophia Square (formerly the main city's square) on the axis that unites both belltowers of the Sophia Cathedral and the St.Michael's Monastery.
Here on 23 December 1648 residents of Kiev met Khmelnytsky leading his Cossacks' regiments by entering the city through the Golden Gates soon after the victory over Polish Army at the battle of Pyliavtsi.
History of creating the monument appeared in public on initiative of a historian and professor of the Kiev University Nikolay Kostomarov in 1840s. The assistant director of the Kiev School District Mikhail Yuzefovich supported that idea and originally wanted to establish the monument for the 200th anniversary of the Council of Pereyaslav. The monument was supposed to be installed at the Bessarabian Square, for which the square carried the name of Bohdan Khmelnytsky in 1869-1881. However, the construction was postponed due to the Crimean War. After receiving permission from the Tsar government in 1860 on establishment of the monument there was created a committee headed by Mikhail Yuzefovich, a professor of the St.Vladimir Imperial University, the head of the Kiev Archaeography Commission, theorist of the Omni-State movement in Ukraine and the famous Ukrainophobe. As result, the initial draft of the monument created by Mikhail Mikeshin was outright chauvinistic – the Khmelnytsky's horse was dropping a Polish szlachcic, Jewish leaseholder, and Jesuit from a cliff, in front of which a Little Russian, Red Russian, White Russian, and Great Russian were listening to the song of a blind kobzar. Basrelief of the pedestal was showing images of the Siege of Zbarazh, the Council of Pereyaslav, and the scene of entering Kiev by the Khmelnytsky's Cossack Host.
In 1863 the establishment of the monument was postponed again due to the 1863 January Uprising. In 1868 Mikeshin who already was creating Khmelnytsky for the monument to the Millennium of Russia in Novgorod was offered to create a draft for the Kiev's monument. In 1869 the draft was approved and in 1870 on the Russian subscription there started fundraising for the monument. However, the committee decided to cut the budget, due to the fact that the collected sum was small (only 37,000 rubles) as well as the monument was recognized as anti-Polish and anti-Semitic by the Kiev Governor-General Prince Aleksandr Dondukov-Korsakov, leaving only the central figure of the Hetman.
In 1877 there was created a gypsum model of the monument. In 1879 at the Saint Petersburg Baird Works was cast a statue that was materialized in metal on a Mikeshin's draft by Pius Weloński and Artemiy Ober and for which the Naval department donated 1,600 poodi (25.6 t) of scrap metal. Portrait features and details of the Khmelnytsky's clothes were recreated on consultations of Volodymyr Antonovych.
In 1879 the statue was brought to Kiev, however due to lack of funding for the construction of the pedestal, the works on installation of it were ceased until the mid 1880s and the statue for several years was being holdover in the courtyard of the Kiev Government Office Building (дом Присутственных мест). The city architect Vladimir Nikolayev designed a simpler pedestal and supervised its construction as well as the installation of the monument. The Kiev Fortress administration donated for the pedestal granite blocks that were left after the construction of the Nicholas Chain Bridge over Dnieper. On 23 June 1888 there took place a grand opening and consecration of the monument.
Since 2001 the object is included in State Register of Immovable Monuments of Ukraine as the monument of national importance.
- Tsalyk, S. The monument to Khmelnytsky should have been standing on the Bessarabian Square (Пам"ятник Хмельницькому мав стояти на Бессарабці). Gazeta.ua. 19 June 2008.
- Памятник Богдану Хмельницкому (Исторический очерк его сооружения) // Киевская старина. -1888. - №7. (Monument to Bohdan Khmelnytsiy (Historical outline of its construction)//Kievskaya starina magazine. 1888. N 7.)