Chances are that you have heard about the Ukrainian revolution in 2014 and that our 4th president, Viktor Yanukovych was accused of high treason. Therefore, he escaped and is currently living in exile in Russia. Why do I tell you all of this? Because although he stole so much money and got some expensive artwork with him to Russia, he could not do anything with his Presidential Palace, Mezhyhirya. Luckily, common people first went to his residence and didn’t give it back to the government. Since then the Victor Yanukovych Presidential Palace – Mezhyhirya Residence has become a museum of corruption and until now it stays open to everyone.
Before Yanukovych made the estate private, Mezhyhirya Residence was once a government property and was used for special occasions. The history of this place is quite dark and sad. Up until 1786 on this territory was an old monastery that was built sometime between 988 and 1161. In 1786 the monastery was set on fire by the order of Catherine the Great. And after a long period of around a hundred years the monastery was again opened just to be closed by the Bolsheviks. Since then the facilities of the monastery were used for different purposes including as a part of a university from 1923.
Unfortunately, the government of the Soviet Union decided that they needed a summer residence for people with the highest government position and so the monastery was completely ruined and just one well was left untouched. The story says that during this destruction some incredibly old handwritten books were also destroyed (even writing about this makes me feel so angry and so sad. I never would understand how people could do things like that even if they had an order from above).
After the monastery was destroyed the summer residence was built. And every person that lived there destroyed the previous one and built a new residence. During the Soviet Union regime, the location of the Mezhyhirya Residence was kept in secret and no historians or archaeologists were allowed on the ground of the residence.
Nowadays, Viktor Yanukovych private property – Mezhyhirya Residence looks fantastic. Well, of course! Everything was built using the stolen millions and millions of dollars from the Ukrainian budget.
What should you expect from a visit to the Mezhyhirya Residence you might ask me? The first structure that you will see once you are on the property is a big wooden cabin. This is the main house known as “Honka”. But do not be disappointed, Honka is not just a simple cabin. In 2010 $9.5 million was spent on renovation.
Inside the cabin you can find fantastic decorations with valuable wood, different marble, gold leaf, crystal, and other expensive materials. The main hall (first floor) has three big fabulous chandeliers that cost $ 97,000 each. The second floor has bedrooms and bathrooms and a beautiful church. Yes that is right, a church inside the ‘cabin’. The Mezhyhirya Residence also has a cinema, stunning dinning rooms, bowling alley, winter garden, and much more.
Do you think this is it? Oh, no! From the main house there is a tunnel underground which leads to a smaller house, but still very impressive. In the tunnel there is a boxing ring, spa, medical facility, a salty cave for breathing, and many other rooms.
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Mezhyhirya Residence has a magnificent park that surrounds the main house – cabin “Honka”. No wonder there, the estate is over 350 acres. The park includes fountains, lakes, gazebos, a zoo, green houses, and a “Galleon” barge on the lake. “Galleon” is kind of a water palace. The length of it is 50 meters. Unfortunately, we could not enter it during our last visit, but the report says that it has a Yanukovych’s personal office, a beautiful hall for receptions, and other compartments.
Mezhyhirya Zoo is quite big and includes a few ostriches, peacocks, horses, and others. The most exotic animals were transported to actual zoos.
The greenhouses are full of many exotic plants for Ukraine along with trees such as banana, dates, and others.
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Mezhyhirya Residence is by taxi. The ride will take around 40 – 60 minutes from the center of Kyiv and costs (Uber) around $10.
If you want to use public transportation, you need to take the subway and a bus. Take the blue subway line and go to “Geroiv Dnipra” subway station. From there you can catch bus #792 or #902. The bus ride will take around 20 minutes. I do advise using Google map to check when you need to get out. The bus ride will cost around $0.30.
Price: to get to the grounds is 50 UAH ($2) for adults and 20 UAH ($0,8) for students and the elderly. To enter the main house “Honka” (including excursion) is 200 UAH ($8).
Hours: Monday to Friday: 9 AM to 7 PM; Saturday – Sunday: 9 AM to 8 PM