An Architecture Lover's Guide to Kiev's Spectacular Courtyards

Golden Gate area, Kiev
Golden Gate area, Kiev | © Albert Bergonzo / WikiCommons
Photo of Maria Sibirtseva
30 July 2018

Kiev is an amazing destination, and its most beautiful attractions are located in the city centre. But the largest number of secrets are held by its hidden courtyards and squares. You can just wander the city and randomly turn into the numerous arches — you’ll definitely be fascinated by the unique architecture. Or you can also consult the list below to find the most spectacular courtyards and their unexpected dwellers.

Courtyard with crows

One of Kiev’s central streets has a small but unusual courtyard: there’s a large cage where three black crows (Corbin, Carluha and Cyril) have been living for many years. It wouldn’t be fair to say that locals love them, as these creatures have gotten used to recreating car alarm sounds and, in general, are quite noisy. However, kind building residents, as well as curious tourists and Kievans, come to the courtyard to see the birds and to feed them.

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Courtyard of the House of Scientists

Not far from the Teatralna metro station in Kiev, you can find a courtyard where scientists work and hold meetings sometimes. Despite the fact that the spot is located very close to the lively intersection of Bohdana Khmelnitskogo and Volodymyrs’ka Streets, it is always cosy, quiet and calm in the courtyard. In addition, it is an interesting architectural piece, as the building of the House of Scientists is a former mansion, constructed in the late 19th century.

Squat 17b Courtyard

Another courtyard to visit is not just a simple residential area. It is an art space, where people attend evening performances, organize readings, play music and hold exhibitions. Here you can sit on the boxes, chairs or even on the stars, climb to the roof or sit at the bar and relax. Moreover, Squat 17b Yard is also a café, where you’ll be offered delicious coffee, cocktails, beer and fine snacks.

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Courtyard with pelicans

This is the courtyard that complements the picture of Kiev’s unusual architecture by its absurdity. There are a couple of benches and an old broken fountain with pelicans surrounded by Soviet buildings. The history of the birds has a lot of legends connected with it. One of them says that pelicans flew to Kiev and fell so in love with the city’s beauty that decided to stay here forever. However, the real story is less romantic, as these statues were installed by German war prisoners who reconstructed the destroyed Kiev.

Kachorovska Atelier

A cosy must-visit destination is a backyard of the shoe shop and food venue Kachorovska Atelier. Hidden in the greenery away from the noise of bustling Podol area, this place can definitely be called secret. First of all, it is a very Instagrammable courtyard, where a lot of events are held. Secondly, the café serves delicious food and fresh coffee. And lastly, not so many people know about it, so you can really enjoy yourself in the spacious courtyard.

Heaven’s Hundred Square

Situated in the very heart of the city, this square is actually a courtyard between the residential buildings of Mykhailivska Street. Its highlight is the mural of the first deceased activist (Serhiy Nigoyan) of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. He was also among the Heaven’s Hundred Heroes (100 people who died during the riot on January 22, 2014). The courtyard next to the street art piece was created by volunteers and now serves not only as a memorable monument but also as an art space.

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