Contract house

After the fire in Podol, which occurred in 1811, the building of the first contract house, which was built in 1801, completely burned down. It was decided to restore the building using modern building materials in 1815-1817 according to the design of the English architect William Geste (who also participated in drawing up the master plan for the development of Kiev at that time) and with the participation of the Ukrainian architect Andrei Melensky (monument to Magdeburg Law, St. Nicholas Church on Askoldova Mogila, Church of the Nativity, Church of the Exaltation of the Cross) a new contract house was built.

The contract house was planned from the very beginning as a place for Kiev contract fairs, in addition, in the projects that were not destined to come to fruition, there was also the construction of a magistrate’s building, which was supposed to be dominant in the complex. On the right there would be a contract house, on the left a postal station should have been built. The Kiev Contract Fair operated until the October Revolution of 1917. Until this time, Nikolai Gogol, Taras Shevchenko, Honore de Balzac, Adam Mickiewicz and other outstanding personalities of that period had visited the contract house. In addition, there was a concert hall on the second floor of the contract building. Famous artists performed here – in January 1847, the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt, Polish musicians – brothers Henryk and Józef Wieniawski, violinist Karol Lipinski, Belgian cellist Adrien-François Servais, Italian singer Angelica Catalani, Russian violinist Gavrila Rachinsky and many others. In the 1890s, performances organized by the Kyiv Drama Society were held in the premises of the contract house. After 1917, the Trade Academy and the Trade Museum operated in the premises of the contract house, and later – various technical schools. Since the mid-1990s, the contract house has housed an interbank currency exchange, in the organization of which the famous Ukrainian economist Vadim Getman played a significant role.

The main facade of the building from Kontraktovaya Square has a four-column portico of the Dorian order, topped with a triangular pediment. Irregular contours of the layout (namely, indirect angles in the connection of walls, rotation of the colonnade in relation to it of the entire building) are due to the configuration of the building site. The central sections of the northern and western facades are decorated with porticoes of Dorian order pilasters, the eastern facade is decorated with a portico of three-quarter columns. During the reconstruction of the interior, the furniture for the building was designed by the architect Irma Iosifovna Karakis (author of projects for dozens of thermal power plants throughout the USSR, many interiors of hotels, restaurants and various public buildings in Kyiv).

Where is the contract house located?

Mezhigorskaya street, 1