This will be, probably, the most complete history of the Orlyatko park in Kiev. This park is the landmark of Otradnyi neighborhood in the western part of Kiev. Otradnyi area is where the historic and legendary river Lybid starts (there are plenty of Middle Age legends with this river as a scene – I will write about the true origin of the river in later posts). I felt the need to write this article because there is many information on the web, which is completely or partially inaccurate. Consequently, I thought it would be great to elaborate a most comprehensive story of this park which is one of the oldest parts of the neighborhood. This story will be based on historic Kiev maps and old photographs. I hope this will be a living story - I would really appreciate if readers write me and send me thir pictures of this park so we could incorporate it and build the history together.
The oldest map with the area of current Otradnyi is the 1842 military plan of Kiev and surroundings. This plan is very detailed and even tiny ponds or lakes are depicted. As we can clearly see, there’s no water reservoirs in the current location of Orlyatko park. The area is essentially covered with bushes and some fields. This means that both ponds of Otradnyi (in the Orlyatko park and on the Vidradnyi park) are artificially made.
The yellow road on the top of the map is “Zhytomir road” – «Житомирская дорога». It was the main road to the west, before the Brest-Litovsk road has been built.
Zhytomir road for me is the main orientation point for the old maps to locate Otradnyi. Everyone in Otradnyi knows an area called “Peresicheniye” or crossroads. In the very old times, there was located a tabern, or “korchma”. This tabern was depicted even in oldest maps, like this one. Tracing a line from Peresichenie to the south , you can easily locate the area of current Otradnyi.
The same situation is on the map of 1850, the resolution is lower, but we can see at least the names of geographical locations (the actual Orlyatko park is located just on the letter “Ш” of “Шулявщина” title):
In 1886 everything get’s much easier and clearer to spot. Shulyavske cemetery has been build already and it is clearly visible on the map. This is probably one of the oldest spots in Otradnyi as it was open since 1885. Currently the cemetery is closed for general public.
The street going up to the cemetery is the current Zahidna. With blue arrow we can see the same field as the one depicted on the 1846 map, so it’s easy to locate where exactly the actual park Orlyatko is located.
In the northern part of the map you can see a small “hutor” of one single house. This is the original hutor of Konstantin and Ulyana Grushko family. They rented the area in 1871 and built a small house with a garden. This was the beginning of a bigger settlement Grushki (now disappeared)
Additionally, what the maps above confirm, is that there were no lake or pond or stream or river of any kind in the area of current park. Consecuently, the pond in this park is completely man-made. There’s a theory that in the area there was the so called Volochaevski stream “Волочаевский ручей”. The maps shows a different story. What it is true is that there is a underground tube that collects rain water and this duct go strait to the Lybid river, connecting with it near KPI sport faculty (Industrialny Most area).
XX Century – foundation of Orlyatko park
In 1902 this area is transferred to the newly built Kiev Polytechnic Institute for the so called second experimental field. In this field an agricultural machinery testing range has been built. Below pictures are the first actual pictures of the Orlyatko park as this Kiev Polytechnic field was the one that laid the foundation of current park.
In the maps dating of 1911 this Polytechnic institute experimental area is already shown and depicted:
The pond was built between the 1912 and 1917 years. For comparison, you can see two maps of the same area, one with the pond and another one without:
During the Soviet Union, before the WWII, the agricultural faculty of KPI became a standalone education institution, the so called Kiev Agricultural Institute or «Киевский Сельско-Хозяйственный Иститут». Many publication claim that Orlyatko park was kind of a farm for Ukrainian Communist Party. Maybe because after the war there was located an Agrucultural Supply Warehouse or «Правительственная овощебаза ЦК КПУ» where the current “Kozacky” apartment buildings are located. But this id not actually correct, the fruit farm was located near Orlaytko, on the territory of current park Vidradnyi. The fruit farm was called “Sovhoz Bilshovyk”. Orlyatko park remained experimental field with a agricultural warehouse attached after the war.
In the short note in Kiev Guide for 1926 you can see a mention of our Orlyatko park:
The map of 1939 clearly shows the pond. Some additional buildngs were attached to initial testing range.
World War II
During the world war two, a lot of aerial imagery were made by German pilots. After the German defeat, many of these pictures became archival documents that was released to the public. These aerial images can tell us a real story of the Orlyatko park.
As you can see, in the area near current Rostok cultural center was located a hangar for aicrafts and all the Ivana Lepse boulevard (Vaclava Gavela for newcomers) was actually an airfield. Just imagine, in the place were currently lovely couples are walking on quite nights was an actual military runway. As a remembrance of these times, we can see the photograph of pilots that were flying from the park:
From WWII to current days
The construction of the park started with the building of a new neighborhood called Otradnyi (the name taken from the hutor located in the same area). In 1960s the park is resembling the the structure we know right now. In the coming years the green area were getting smaller and but different buildings (like Korolyova culture center) or agricultural warehouse were popping up.
And some pictures of the park in the 60s and 70s
Amusement park and attractions
Everyone who lived in Otradnyi perfectly knows that there was a quite big (for the size of the park itself) amusement park in Orlyatko. There were following attractions:
No picture available. Romashka was located in the below spot, now removed.
No picture available
No pictures available.
Arcade games pavilion
Arcade games pavilion has burned out in 1990s. In the place of the arcade pavillion building, currently there's a scene.
Pond with catamarans
The Stage (aka Tomas, aka Hotel Orly)
Before Hotel Orly and Restaurant Tomas, the park had a big wooden stage. The so called "Summer Theater". It was widely used ovwer weekends by kids and a band was usually playing especially in spring.
Please, if you have some historical pictures of the park, email me to firstname.lastname@example.org so I will be able to publish them here. Also, please feel free to comment the story ,)
The sotry end in 2000s because for most modern history, you can follow Facebook group of the park: https://www.facebook.com/groups/parkorlyatko/