History of Orlyatko park

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.

XIX century

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.

Otradnyi on 1842
Otradnyi in 1842. The res circle indicated Peresichenie. The blue arrow indicated the current location of Orlyatko park.

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.

Korchma on Peresechenie
Korchma on Peresechenie

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):

1850 map of Otradnyi
1850 map of Otradnyi

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.

1886 map of Otradnyi
1886 map of Otradnyi. It's very easy to spot the same field as we have seen in the 1846 map (blue arrow). The cemetery on Zahidna street as also depcited (red arrow)

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.

Polytech plan
testing range experimental field
Testing range, second experimental field - currently Orlyatko park

In the maps dating of 1911 this Polytechnic institute experimental area is already shown and depicted:

1911 Kiev map shows the Kiev Poluyechnic Institute Agricultural testing range

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:

1912 - no pond
1918 - pond already created

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:

1926 Kiev Guide

The map of 1939 clearly shows the pond. Some additional buildngs were attached to initial testing range.

1929 Orlyatko map

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.

Early WWII aerial image or Orlyatko. The pond is visible
1944 aerial image or Orlyatko.

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:

Grushki Aerodrome pilots
Photo caption  - Aerodrome Grushki

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.

Orlyatko in 1962 - Satellite photo
Orlyatko in 1968 - satellite photo
Orlyatko in 1979 - satellite photo
Orlyatko in 2000 - Satellite photo
Orlyatko in 2018 - Satellite photo

And some pictures of the park in the 60s and 70s

1968 - Orlyatko
1960s - Orlyatko
Orlyatko 1960s
Picture taken from https://www.facebook.com/groups/parkorlyatko/


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.

Current spot of Romashka attraction
2013 spot of Romashka attraction. You can see a tree growing in the middle


Yunga in 1980s
Yunga track in 2013


No picture available


Image shared in the FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/parkorlyatko/


Lodochki (Kacheli)

Image shared in the FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/parkorlyatko/ here


No pictures available.

The concrete base of Veterok attraction n 2013


Avtodrome in 1980s
Avtodrome in 2013

Detskiy Avtodrom

Detskiy Avtodrome in 1980s
And in 2013


Arcade games pavilion

Arcade games pavilion has burned out in 1990s. In the place of the arcade pavillion building, currently there's a scene.

Arcade pavilion in 1980s

Pond with catamarans

Pond and catamarans in 1980s
and in 2013

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.

On the stage over the weekends kids could perform dances and plays
The seating area of the stage
Picture taken from GB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/parkorlyatko/

Please, if you have some historical pictures of the park, email me to ai@uribarri.es 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/

 Перевод на русский язык: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=en&tl=ru&u=https://alexuribarri.com/history-of-orlyatko-park.html