Reitarska 9. The History Of One Tsarsky Building With Ravens
Reitarska Street is one of the oldest streets in Kyiv and is famous for its quiet and slow-paced life. A yellow house with the number 9 stands right on the street, famous for its courtyard with the oldest caged ravens in the city. It is also a popular place for progressive youth, with famous spots like the coffee shop Kashtan, the urban boutique Kapkan, the concept store Riot Division, and many other interesting venues. In this article, we will tell you more about this place and why it is so popular.
Until the 1830s, the manor at Reitarska 9 was a part of a large estate that covered the area with modern houses #9 through #15. After just over 30 years, the estate came into the possession of the sexton Yakov Kiyak, who significantly developed the house. Documents from 1884 indicate that his property was 1,820 sqm and included a garden, two-story brick house, gardener’s shed, wooden barns, and stables.
The building itself is symmetrical in composition, and the center is highlighted by an archway and an arched window on the second floor, where originally there was an exit to the balcony. Also, contrary to the original design, the current house has balconies with metal bars. Back in the early 1990s, the courtyard at Reitarska 9 had a gateway through which you could get to Yaroslaviv Val and Zolotovoritska streets. Once upon a time, dovecote houses stood on the garage site, but with the increase of cars on the city’s streets, the pigeon houses were removed. In the early 2000s, walls and garages were built in the courtyard, and now there is no passage through it.
The house owes its popularity to the 1990s, as well. At that time, criminal authority Grisha, who had a good relationship with the city authorities and overall was a respectable person in the city, bought a communal flat in the house at number 9. For a long time, he had lived in Bessarabka and even served a short jail sentence. Outwardly, Grisha resembled a professor – a tall and well-read intellectual with glasses. He was always a humanist and said that love will always win.
The first raven was a gift to Grisha, and there was no hidden meaning, he just loved animals. So, when he built a cage for the bird, the first rumors flew around Kyiv. Those who remember this time say that Grisha bought chickens and other animals at the poultry market on Saturdays, and it always was an event. After a while, Grisha left this life, but caring locals kept up his pastime, and the number of birds increased to 4. In 2010, unknown people broke the cage and released the birds. However, three of them – Korbin, Kirill, and Karlusha – returned, but the fourth disappeared. The courtyard with ravens has become one of the best-known tourist attractions on Reitarska Street.
The birds became so famous that the media even reported Karlusha’s death. For now, the ravens live well. They are fed by the house residents and tourists who bring meat, eggs, and bread. There is no other backyard as interesting and unusual anywhere. In 2015, there appeared a mural called “The Messenger of Life”, painted by Kharkiv artist Alexander Britzev. He spent ten days painting the whole wall, 12 meters by 12 meters, with ravens: the white raven is a symbol of good news and the birth of a new life, and the black ravens nearby represent the wisdom of the Earth. In good weather, amateur table tennis tournaments are also held here, which gather a lot of different people.
If you still haven’t visited this unusual backyard in the center of Kyiv, we invite you to feed the ravens, have a cup of coffee and dessert, get a charge from this exciting place, and visit our office! Yes, right in this great house is the Vestor.Estate team, so come visit us to hear the story of buying an apartment from 6 different owners, the funny moments and challenges of designing this 150-sqm place, and just see for yourself what do we do!