Kachanivka. National Historical and Cultural Preserve

Дата: 12.01.2016


освіти і науки України

гуманітарно-педагогічний коледж ім. І. Я. Франка

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презентація на тему:

National Historical and Cultural Preserve


студент ІІ курсу 2 групи

шкільного відділення

Бойко Євгеній Миколайович


Цибенко Лариса Миколаївна

Прилуки — 2008

a romantic place

over almost three centuries ago in 1742, Fedir Bolharyn, a land owner of Greek
descent from the town of Nizhyn sold a small village located at a scenic place
dotted with tree groves and ravines, that he himself had founded, he could
never guess, of course, the full import of the sale — the village was destined
to become an estate of wide renown as a cultural centre, “new Athens” as it was
referred to later. The man who bought the village from Bolharyn the Greek was
Fedir Kachenovsky, a chorister of “the choir at the court of Her Imperial
Majesty Elizabeth” in St Petersburg.


whose last name, in all likelihood, was actually Kachan (“Head of Cabbage”)
changed to Kachenovsky for euphonic and prestigious reasons, did not do much
with the village he had acquired, except for buying some more land around it.
His only lasting contribution was the name — Kachanivka that the place became
known by.

1770, the Russian Empress bought the estate to give it as a present to Petro
Rumyantsev-Zadunaysky, the then governor general of Malorosiya (“Small Russia”
as Ukraine was referred to in Russia at that time) and “glorious victor over
the infidels.” Kachanivka which was situated in the vicinity of Chernihiv, an
ancient Ukrainian town about a hundred miles north of Kyiv, was meant to become
one of the chief residences of the Imperial viceroy who ruled over Ukraine that
was being robbed of the last remaining vestiges of autonomy.

had a palace built in Kachanivka — a magnificent place designed to properly
reflect the status of its owner. A big orchard was planted around it, and a
nearby forest was landscaped and turned into a wonderful park. But the owner of
Kachanivka, being a person of much too “great involvement in the affairs of the
state”, had little time to spare for his estate, paid only infrequent visits
there, in fact neglecting it altogether. His son, a diplomat and statesman,
followed in his father’s footsteps in neglecting Kachanivka. Hryhory Pocheka,
Rumyantsev’s steward who took care of the estate and thus knew that the estate
in its neglected state could be purchased for a song, did buy it. He began
improving it but as he “died without issue” the estate became the property of Hryhory
Tarnovsky, Pocheka’s wife’s son from her first marriage. It was Tarnovsky who
gave Kachanivka a completely new status.

as “a cultural centre” flourished for only about seventy five years. The three
generations of the Tarnavskys made a thoroughly romantic place out of a
derelict “nobleman’s nest.” Kachanivka attracted, to use the words of Mykola
Kostomarov, a prominent Ukrainian cultural figure of the nineteenth century,
“the most learned birds of the Ukrainian world of literati, musicians and
artists.” The Tarnavskys themselves were colourful figures in their own right,
and besides, they were philanthropists, patrons of learning and arts, Ukrainian

Tarnovsky, nominally “a titular counsellor” (a civil servant of a low rank in
Czarist Russia), was a person distinguished in many respects. Paradoxically, he
combined in himself a miser and most generous person, a womanizer and a
faithful husband; he could alternately be rude and most civil, phlegmatic and
full of energy to the overflowing. He was, by the standards of the social elite
of that time, poorly educated (his knowledge of foreign languages, for example,
was limited to a few polite phrases, a thing unheard of in the then polite
society with French being the main means of communication), and yet among his
friends were such polymaths as Hryhorovych, Secretary of the Art Academy.
Hryhory Tarnovsky was known for being very little versed in musical notation
and yet he composed orchestral pieces which were performed by his own orchestra
made up of the musically gifted serfs he owned. He was even known to have tried
to “better” Beethoven himself.

to Hryhory Tarnovsky Kachanivka gradually became a cultural focal point whose
light was seen all over Ukraine. The atmosphere in Kachanivka was conducive to
inspiring all kinds of creativity, and authors, musicians and artists flocked
to it to spend weeks and months there, giving themselves fully to the creative
urge. The revamped central palace was more like a fifty-room five-star hotel
accommodating literati and artists than a specious dwelling of a retired civil
servant. In addition to purchases of works of art made by Tarnovsky himself,
famous painters donated their works to be hung on the walls of the palace and a
newcomer never failed to be surprised and delighted to discover paintings by
such famous artists as Bryullov, Kiprensky and Ivanov in Tarnovsky’s “humble
abode.” Hryhory Tarnovsky, in addition to an orchestra, ran his own “home
theatre” in whose repertoire were pieces performed both for his private
enjoyment and that of his guests.

on culture

1854, Hryhory Tarnovsky died, also “without issue” and Kachanivka passed on to
his relative, Vasyl Tarnovsky. Unlike Hryhory, Vasyl was well educated, with a
university degree in law. His “civil stance” was that of a much more active
participation in the life of society. Among other things, he was a member of
the commission that was to work out the conditions of the agricultural reform
(serfdom was abolished in 1861 and the freed peasants were to be given plots of
land to cultivate). Vasyl Tarnovsky authored a number of scholarly works in
law, economics and statistics. In spite of his social and scholarly
commitments, he found time for Kachanivka — but now among those who were
invited to come over to stay at Tarnovsky’s estate we find such figures as
Taras Shevchenko and Mykola Gogol, that is people who were much more involved
in social matters. Gogol, an outstanding Russian writer of Ukrainian descent,
in his letter to Maksymovych, a prominent cultural figure and president of the
St Volodymyr University in Kyiv, described Vasyl Tarnovsky as “a kind-hearted
person of lively emotions… a bit too given to fancy ideas and dreams… always
determined to get what he sets to achieve… for whom such things as social
climbing, servility, respect for rank or vanity just do not exist…”

Tarnovsky also turned out to be a touchy person — after a colleague of his at
the Chernihiv Huberniya Zemstvo (huberniya — administrative district; zemstvo —
elected district administrative assembly) said something that badly offended
him, Tarnovsky had a nervous breakdown which led to his untimely death at the
age of 56.

time there was a son and Kachanivka passed on to Vasyl Tarnovsky Junior (in
fact, Vasyl Tarnovsky Senior had several children, of whom Vasyl was the
eldest). Kachanivka, never neglected by his father, became the main — if not
the soul — occupation of Vasyl Tarnovsky Junior. In many respects, Vasyl Junior
resembled Hryhory Tarnovsky, but with all the contradictory traits much more
pronounced. Dmytro Yavornytsky, a nineteenth-century historian, thus
characterized Vasyl Junior: “The articles he authored were so poorly written
that it would have been much better if he had not written them at all; his mind
was mediocre; he was wilful, inflexibly stubborn, volatile and hot tempered.”
He did have a short fuse — when badly angered, he would pull out a revolver and
start blindly shooting at the offender. He was known as a sophisticated swearer
who used Russian obscenities rather than Ukrainian ones, and the cuss words
with which he peppered his speech made even the hardened interlocutors cringe.

this “intimidator” had “a good genius” to tame his explosive and violent temper
— his wife Sofiya. A person of great tact and civility, patient and kind, this
well-read woman could in most cases control her rowdy husband but when he got
completely out of hand she would collapse in a faint in front of him. Seeing
her prostrate on the floor, unconscious, he would rush over to her, pick her
up, put her carefully on a sofa, say soothing words. He was so happy when she
came to, that he would clean forget about his tantrum or fit of wrath.

in spite of the violent and disorderly streak in his character, Vasyl Tarnovsky
Junior, was not devoid of “a sense of beauty” and interest in culture. He never
stopped acquiring curios, manuscripts, works of art directly related to
Ukrainian culture and history. Besides, if Tarnovsky had been “mediocre,” would
so many prominent individuals, luminaries in their fields of knowledge or
creative endeavour have sought his company? During the years Tarnovsky
“presided” over Kachanivka, almost everyone of any importance in the Ukrainian
cultural elite of those years visited the estate or stayed there for some time.
In spite of his own description of Tarnovsky, Yavornytsky was full of
admiration for Kachanivka, calling it “an earthly paradise.” It was hard not to
admire Kachanivka — a sea of flowers, a great many species of trees and bushes,
some of a very rare kind, handsome statues, great care and impeccable order in
everything did give the place an appearance of refined elegance. A particular
admiration was aroused by a floating island, complete with willows, herbs and
reeds, that drifted in the central lake of the park. Tarnovsky was very proud
of this invention of his. Around the summer solstice when the religious feast
of St John the Baptist was celebrated with many of the pagan elements still
preserved in it (the heathen feast was called Ivan Kupaylo), the lake with the
floating island had mermaids and mavkas, or forest nymphs, straight from the
Ukrainian pagan mythology calling out in sweet voices to those who came close
to the water and making sudden and startling appearances. Tarnovsky had gazebos
and arboreta strategically placed around the park, and benches were placed at
the spots most advantageous for watching the sunups and sunsets.

Tarnovsky had become an avid collector in his student years, or maybe even
earlier, at the age of eight when he had been privileged to see the great poet
Taras Shevchenko who had come on a visit to Kachanivka. Meeting the great man
had made such a lasting impression upon the young man that he had begun
collecting everything that was in any way connected with the poet. By the end
of his life, Tarnovsky’s collection boasted 758 Shevchenko-related items.
Incidentally, it was Tarnovsky’s collection that became the foundation of the
Museum of Shevchenko in Kyiv.

equal or maybe even greater passion, Tarnovsky collected relics of the Cossack
era — weapons, garments, banners, portraits — just anything that would remind
him of the Cossack glory and exploits. In front of the palace stood several
cannon from the times of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The seventeen-century
cannon were in perfect working condition and blanks were fired to salute the
arriving distinguished guests or on holidays. Tarnovsky’s Cossack collection
proudly displayed a sabre of Hetman Khmelnytsky, personal items that once
belonged to Hetmans of Ukraine — Mazepa, Paliy, Polubotok, Rozumovsky, official
documents and proclamations. The collection was estimated to be worth several
hundred thousand roubles, which at that time was an enormous sum of money. Unfortunately,
the collection was later dispersed with many items making their way into
different museums — many have been lost without trace. Had Tarnovsky’s
collection been preserved intact, it would be priceless.

by philanthropy

philanthropy, fuelled by his flamboyancy, spread far beyond Kachanivka and his
collecting ambitions. He financed the Kievskaya starina (“Kyiv Antiquities”)
newspaper, he gave money for the erection of a monument to Bohdan Khmelnytsky
in Kyiv, and for the erection of a cross at the grave of Taras Shevchenko in
Kaniv. It was his money that made archaeological expeditions headed by Mykola
Bilyashivsky, the founder of a historical museum and arts museum in Kyiv,

the late nineteenth century was a tough time for many old-style land owners in
Ukraine. Capitalism was making great strides both in town and in the country
and the old system of land use was crumbling. Tarnovsky spent much more than he
could get from the land he owned, and he was no match for “the new sharks of
capitalism” who knew much better than he did how to gain profits. His life
style and his philanthropy eventually ruined him financially — he went bankrupt
and in 1898 was forced to sell Kachanivka. It was a terrible shock for him and
he succumbed to such a devastating depression that he died a year later. He was
buried in Kyiv, at the Ascold Mohyla cemetery.


through the Kachanivka park, you can’t help imagining all those luminaries —
poets, writers, artists, composers and cultural figures, strolling through the
park’s alleys conducting quiet and heated conversations, enjoying the views,
breathing the balmy air. You seem to hear their voices, to see their shadows…

the greatest of them all was Taras Shevchenko, a cult figure of Ukrainian
culture. When Shevchenko came to Kachanivka for the first time — it was in 1843
— he was not a cult figure at all. He was a man of 29, full of vigour and life
(and he did not look the canonized Shevchenko in a tall fur hat with drooping
moustache, weary and sad, the way he is portrayed now), and he fell
passionately in love with Nadiya Tarnovska, Vasyl Tarnovsky’s niece. This love
proved to be unrequited, much to the young genius’ dismay. He returned to
Kachanivka many years later, in 1859, a man physically broken by years of exile
and hardships.

this second visit to Kachanivka, the poet wrote in Tarnovsky’s guest book:
“Even the path that you once strode along, has overgrown with thistles…” —
evidently, Shevchenko remembered the torments of love that was not
reciprocated. Shevchenko planted an oak in the park saying that he hoped he
would rest in its shade some day. He hoped in vain — two years later he died.

Gogol, a Ukrainian who became a towering figure in the Russian literature of
all time, was among the regular visitors to Kachanivka. Four times in the
period between 1835 and 1850 he came to Kachanivka to relax, to stroll around
the park, to get inspired — and to write. It is believed that it was in
Kachanivka that Gogol wrote and read to the host and other guests one of his
better known novels, Taras Bulba. One of the oaks in the park is claimed to
have seen Gogol.

1838, Mykhailo Glinka, the then most prominent Russian composer, came to
Kachanivka looking for singers for the Imperial Choir. Ukraine was famous for
producing excellent singers and Glinka in his travels across Ukraine kept
bringing boys and young men to Kachanivka for audition. In Kachanivka, Glinka
befriended a highly gifted artist, Vasyl Shternberg, doomed to die young, and a
poet, Viktor Zabila whose poetry the composer liked so much that he wrote two
wonderful romances which are still performed. It was Glinka who brought to
Kachanivka Semen Hulak-Artemovsky, a young singer then, who was to become one
of the leading Ukrainian composers of the nineteenth century. And it was in
Kachanivka that Glinka experienced a great love of his life — he was enamoured
of Mariya Zadorozhna, a niece of Hryhory Tarnovsky’s wife. There must have been
something special in the very atmosphere of Kachanivka that inspired love.
Glinka wrote his opera Ruslan and Lyudmila based on a wonderful fairy-tale poem
by Pushkin, at the height of his loving feeling and the music definitely bears
the imprint of love.

would take much more space than could be given to a magazine article just to
mention all those who visited Kachanivka and contributed to the development of
Ukrainian and Russian culture. The Kachanivka park deserves a separate story as
well. In the Soviet times, Kachanivka was badly neglected but in recent years,
with Ukraine’s independence, restoration work began and the park came back to
life. I dearly wish Kachanivka would one day become again “the cultural Athens”
of Ukraine it once was.


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