10/3/10

Kiev Catacombs


For several years now Kiev wants to get into the Guinness Book of Records. Who knows, maybe he's there already and figures - as a leader in the number of freshly commercial caves. We have already, and the whole underground street, extending just below the above-ground - from Bessarabian Market Square to Leo Tolstoy.  
This underground street is much wider ground and divided into quarters to help "underground people" focus: furniture quarter, quarter, electronics, etc.
Under it there is another "negative floor" - the entertainment district, with cafes, discos, bars, casinos and other pleasures for the wealthy residents of the capital. One could describe this many quarterly street length and in detail, and for other dungeons do not forget, but to understand the enormous and, finally, realized interest enigmatic Slavic soul to the underground, will have to return to the distant past. In the XI - XII century. In times of Kievan Rus, which once upon a time, and began the great Russian Empire, twelve years ago, a splinter from my foremothers, Ukraine and decides to go its own way.

The first dungeon in the territory of Kievan Rus appeared before the X century, but it was inexperience in comparison to the caves of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Officially, many kilometers of underground passages, cells, tombs and churches were established as an underground monastery. According to modern Kiev archaeologist and art historian Julia Lifshitz, caves emerged as the monastery cemetery.  
Dead monk - a cave dug further, made cell-tomb, put it in the holy relics and hidden spades to death following the elder monk. A little later, dug-built there and the underground church: put the Orthodox canons and the church for funerals at the cemetery have. But this version at the official level are not welcome. It deprives the Slavs of the mystique that if the need justifies the Slavs (especially south) go to a particular historical path. Europeans built forts and castles, and our ancestors - the dungeons and catacombs.

"Catacomb" thinking is regularly demonstrated in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Like the Slavs were the children of the earth, which are always in danger, were prepared in the same formula and hide. Even writer-democrat Vladimir Korolenko, who in his books that romanticized "genetic catacomb. His most famous work is called - "Children of the Underground."

Already during the Soviet authorities in Moscow and Kiev began to build the world's deepest subway. And intensely proud of it. I here and now, proud of himself Kiev Metro. Sometimes longer come down to the station, than going on the train. Moscow, of course, went further and deeper: there is a subway line, say, a city built in the event of nuclear war.
With infrastructure, with painted branch subway, with food stores, rated for five years, and a residential complex for several thousand people. It seems nothing more grand in the world under the ground has not been built.

But back to Kiev. Ukraine's independence seemed to give new impetus to the underground construction. First of all, because the Communist Party has ceased to be the only customer and the manager of underground facilities. Played a role, and the fact that the authorities in Kiev have come a professional builder. Now, with support from city government, could easily take up the restructuring of the city. The main underground city decided to build on the central square - Independence Square, the most striking thing that the project was entrusted to the same architect who almost thirty years ago designed and built the old area of the October Revolution, for which he received the USSR State Prize for Architecture. He easily gave orders to demolish all that myself in the area once constructed, and this is resulting in the city center there was a huge hole depth of thirty meters. Now, of course, it's not a pit, and three-storey shopping complex. The criticism of intellectuals and the mayor of Kiev in Kiev, and the chief architect of the city responded that they do everything well, "the West". Yet built, their favorite proverb was "Fool polraboty not show." Now, when the main commercial cave is already open and functioning, we can safely predict: people quickly become accustomed to the "Stalinist" top of the main square and its "pro-western" shopping liking. They will not bother the obvious architectural disharmony. For them, happiness is really important - to go down the escalators to the "Aladdin's cave" and look at them inaccessible pockets of treasures.

But if the underground shopping mall Globus (and on the square from the top, in front of the Post Office is really a monument to the model of the globe) can be considered democratic, a place (although the homeless and poor protection here trying not to miss), then in less noticeable areas of the ancient city center construct elite dungeon. One of these - by Sophia Square (near the St. Sophia Cathedral, built in XI century) - has recently caused a public scandal. Journalists have discovered this huge construction project in the courtyard of the elite house by accident. Builders have already burrowed under the ground thoroughly and filled it with concrete foundation for the underground swimming pool and fitness center. President himself was forced to react and by special order to stop the construction. Started to point fingers. It turned out that the permission for this work no one has given, a project city officials supposedly no one in the eye has not seen. Even brought a couple of criminal cases. But, in the tradition of modern Ukraine, the scandal died down, the criminal case was closed, the chief architect made a couple of times on television and explained that nothing terrible is happening and there is no danger for Sophia Reserve not (even cracks in the bell tower of St. Sophia's Cathedral with its points of view were completely harmless!). As a result, the press was silent, and underground construction continued. We can only guess what efforts have been put to the President did not notice that does not hold its own decree!

And in a televised roundtable on the underground construction in Kiev, the architect of the underground center "Globus", ignoring all questions, said he was "digging, dig and will dig!" This reminds me of a popular communist slogan: "Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live! "Well, I must confess, I believe him. Surprising, this generation of people who remained in power (and not just in architecture), after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They really do what they want or see fit, totally not paying attention to public opinion. A slogan of the Catacomb of mentality can be, for example, and thus: "No one will allow the outside world to intervene in the affairs of our dungeon!"