St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral (House of Organ and Chamber Music)
Spectacular building of the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral, jutting out into the sky with two slender towers, is one of the most unusual and beautiful buildings in the Old Kyiv. Raised in untypical for Ukraine's capital Neo Gothic style, it significantly stands out against the background of other buildings at the city's downtown and inevitably amazes Kyiv's locals and guests.
The need for a Roman Catholic Church in Kyiv arose back in the late 19th century. At that time, 40 thousand Catholics lived in the city, and there was just one Catholic Church - St. Alexander Cathedral, built in 1842 and able to accommodate only a thousand believers at once. Then, the representatives of the Kyiv's catholic community addressed the city authorities with a request to allocate money for construction of the second cathedral.
In 1909, the amazingly beautiful St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in the capital. Its construction was carried out under strict guidance of the famous city architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, the author of the most fantastic and mysterious buildings in Kyiv. Built in Gothic style, the church has absorbed the best traits of this exquisite style: lightness and elegance of proportions, sharp spires, tracery lancet windows.
The St. Nicholas Catholic Church's most decorated - western - facade, where the three entrance portals are located, is adorned with bas-reliefs on religious themes. Traditional for Gothic cathedrals stained glass rose window with rich stucco decoration is placed above the main entrance. In the temple's side galleries, the coats of arms of the Polish magnate families, who helped in the Catholic Church's construction, are placed.
The same as the most buildings by Gorodetsky, the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral is mysterious and enigmatic. In order to scary the evil spirit away, the architect placed griffons - mythical winged creatures with lion's body and eagle's head - on church's walls, and tiny lizards in building's gaps.
The temple didn't serve long to the Kyiv's Catholics, though: in the 1930s, it was closed, and then, ransacked. During the World War II, the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral was severely damaged, but after the war, the building was anyhow restored and used as a storehouse. The capital reconstruction didn't happen until 1978, when it was decided to turn it into the National House of Organ and Chamber Music of Ukraine, which is still situated here.
A huge organ consisting of almost four thousand pipes of different size was manufactured specially for the Kyivan concert hall in the Krnov (Czech Republic). The instrument, designed to meet the unique architectural features of the building, perfectly fits into church's interior and is its most valuable treasure now.
Concerts are regularly carried out in the House of Organ and Chamber Music.