Lev Ginzburg skyscraper

The Ginzburg skyscraper, or as it was also called the Ginzburg House, is a 12-story building of the early 20th century. It went down in history as the first skyscraper in Ukraine and the tallest building in Russia. It was built in 2 years in 1912 and was blown up on September 24, 1941. Completely destroyed in the early 1950s. But let’s find out the history of the building and its owner in more detail…

On the site of Ginzburg’s future house there was a 4-story house of a high-ranking official under the Russian Emperor Michael Fabritius. Construction of the skyscraper began in 1910, 50 meters north of the current Ukraine Hotel. According to the project, the high-rise building was supposed to have an h-shape and different number of storeys on the sides of the building (this was necessary due to the location of the house on a hill) – all 11 floors were visible only from Gorodetsky Street. The customer was the famous merchant of the first guild Lev Borisovich Ginzburg (his construction company also built the National Bank of Ukraine in Kiev, house of the National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine, National Art Museum of Ukraine, Ivan Franko Theater, St. Nicholas Church, actor’s house, operetta theater and others), which covers an area of about 9500 square meters decided to build a hotel with 90 rooms.

In 1889, Lev Borisovich bought a plot of land from Mikhail Fabritius and subsequently demolished the house that was located there. The construction of the skyscraper cost Ginzburg 1,500,000 rubles. 12,000,000 bricks were used. Construction was carried out in unfavorable geological and hydrological conditions, but using the latest technologies at that time, including internal communications (for example, the house was equipped with American OTIS elevators, rare at that time). Ginzburg’s house was built in the Art Nouveau style (all the Khreshchatik buildings of the early 20th century were made in this style). In 1912, the construction of the skyscraper was completed, and the opening took place at the same time. After the 1917 revolution, the hotel was nationalized and the hotel rooms were turned into communal apartments.

The height of one floor of the Ginzburg skyscraper was about 4 meters and therefore we can calculate the approximate height of the entire building – 45-55 meters in height. In addition, there was still a tower with a spire on the roof of the house, giving it another 10 meters in height. The exact height of the hotel has not yet been precisely determined. Residential buildings as tall as the Ginsburg skyscraper existed only in the USA, Germany, Argentina and Canada at the beginning of the 20th century.

A few days before the occupation of Kyiv by German troops, large-scale mining of the city began by the army of the Southwestern Front together with NKVD units. On September 24, 1941, on the fifth day of the occupation of Kyiv, at about 23:00, Ginzburg’s house and 16 other buildings on Khreshchatyk were blown up. The explosion could not completely destroy the skyscraper – it was finally demolished in the 1950s, and the foundation began to be dismantled only at the beginning of preparations for the construction of the hotel “Ukraine”. In 1954-1961, almost on the very spot where Ginzburg’s house stood, a new hotel was built.

Where was Lev Ginzburg’s skyscraper located?

Institutskaya street, 4