Thousands of visitors which annually visit the dendrologic Sofievsky Park, Sofievka, founded in 1796 and considered to be the reserve, tell that the park has something magic, which is impossible to describe with the words and which is possible only to feel. Sofievsky Park is very beautiful, unusual, romantic, versatile and it does not resemble any other place in the world. The reason is that the Sofievsky Park was built with love and everything here is filled with this eternal wonderful feeling.
The men did a lot of strange things to express their feelings towards their beloved women! Polish magnate Stanislav Pototsky expressed his feelings in such strange way – he decided to give a park to his beloved woman Sophia and called it in her honor – Sofievka. He spent 15 million of Polish zlotys for construction of Sofievsky Park. More than 800 peasants worked at the construction site (Pototsky abolished the corvee labor and peasants were paid for their work). They created the lakes, underground rivers and stone grottoes. Pototsky wanted to surprise his beloved wife and he managed doing this... Today the Uman Park is a place of unforgettable romantic walks for the couples and the favorite place of the local newly married couples.
A lot of historical places and architectural monuments are connected with Pototsky family in Ukraine – the beautiful palace of Pototsky family in Lvov. Pototsky family also participated in the construction of temple and monastery of Capuchins in Olesko in 1738. Severin Zhevusky, the army commander from Volyn and his wife, the founders of the temple and monastery, were from Pototsky family.
Everything here looks like in a fairy tale. The project of the central part of Sofievsky Park in Uman is based on the stories of the ancient Greek and Roman mythology, and Homer poems Odyssey and Iliad. Every composition and architectural element of the park is thoroughly considered. They represent not just the individual masterpieces but the compositions with a plot, with a deep sense, creating a uniform harmonic symphony of beauty. It is hard to believe that there were ordinary fields at that places and that everything here is men-made – including the streams or trees. Only natural relief, grottoes, canyons and the natural river Kamenka were used at time of construction.
Ludwig Metsel, a military engineer, was the author of the architectural project of Sofievsky Park in Uman and manager of the construction. Oliva, the best German gardener, helped him. All the works were carried out by Uman peasants of Pototsky. The wonderful European parks, creations of the gardeners of the Russian tsars in Tsarskoe Selo and Petersburg inspired Pototsky to build Sofievsky Park. The work was carried out at a quick pace. With time architectural constructions were built, exotic and local tress and other plants were transplanted, antique sculptures were made and placed, water reservoirs and pavilions were built.
Water reservoirs of the park attract the special attention. Using Kamenka river the engineers created a complex of the pools, lakes and ponds (the area of the Upper pond is 8 hectares, Lower pond – 1.5 hectares), waterfalls (one of them is 14 meters high), cascades, sluices and even the underground river 224 meter long! Later fantastic fountains, underground sluices, grottoes were made in Sofievsky Park. The real rocks were set there, not far from the water reservoirs and right in the valleys – changing the local steppe landscape. It took just a few years for the builders and gardeners from Uman to create a masterpiece among the fields! In 1802 when Sofievsky Park was opened, the charming Sophia was enchanted with its beauty.
There are a few entrances to the Sofievsky Park, but whichever one you take you will be amazed with its beauty. The main entrance to the park from Sadovaya street starts with the towers built in 1850-52, which have survived till nowadays. Passing through them you occur in the central alley of Sofievsky Park. It is a key place where the tourists gather. A complex to service the visitors is located here. It has the original architecture and a scenic view point, hotel for 45 beds, a museum and a restaurant. The experts say that the main entrance to the park is an analogue of the entrance to the old Athenian market, and elements of the towers were taken from the Roman temple of Vesta in Tivoli. The main alley of Sofievsky Park is decorated with the ages-old chestnut tree and poplars and Kamenka river quietly flows nearby in the direction to the Tarpeian Rock (a cliff on the Capitoline Hill over which murderers and traitors were thrown). Going along the main alley of the park you occur near Flora pavilion built in antique style in a form of a horseshoe, with the white colonnade. There is Silver Spring at right of the colonnade. Behind the pavilion columns there are fantastic views of the Lower pond with Lefkada Rock (it resembles the profile of Pototsky himself), 18-meter Snake fountain, terrace of Muses. There is a block of granite in the bottom part of Lefkada Rock. They say that it fell down at time of its installation on Belvedere place and buried a few peasants under itself. It is still called the stone of death.
If you come along Venetian bridge of Sofievsky Park you will be at the Upper pond – via Tarpeian valley, Thunder Grotto and Venus Grotto. There is a Love island and Pavilion of Roses in the central part of this pond. You can take an unforgettable voyage along the underground river Styx in the huge boat through the tunnel in the darkness. This river will take you right to the Dead Lake. Do not forget to enjoy Amsterdam sluice!
We recommend you to visit the Lower pond in Sofievsky Park. Via a small bridge you will come to the Meeting square, where you can see the Big Waterfall. The water is supplied there through the underground river from the Upper pond. There is a pool in the middle of the square. Bright fishes live in the pool. A huge granite vase is located in its center. It is decorated with the flowers in summer. To the right of the square there is a 300-ton granite block, which stands on only 3 support points and creates the Grotto of Fear and Doubs.
Sofievsky Park in Uman is also decorated with the alleys (Main, Lower, English, Elysian Fields), pavilions (like, Phasannik pavilion of 1812), grottoes (Venus, Apollo, Thetis, Nutlet, Elbow, Western), rocks, sculptures, statues of the Gods – Hermes, Amorа, Venus, Euripides poet (2-meter statue which is located at that place since 1800), busts of Plato, Aristotle, Homer and Socrates. You should also see the Parterre Amphitheatre with the terrace of Muses! It is worth to visit the greenhouse, arboretum and rosarium with more than 5000 flowers and more than 150 types of roses. Sofievsky Park is a paradise for the people who love nature. The largest collections of trees, bushes, flowers and grasses are collected here – more than 3323 taxons in total – due to the hard work of the Academy of Science of Ukraine.
In Sofievsky Park there is a museum of marble sculptures, Aquarium selling exhibition, Flora of Sofievka shop where you can buy the seeding. You can visit the café too. In Sofievsky Park in Uman you can ride the catamarans, have a voyage on the ferry, ride the horse, go for a ride in the carriage, coach and in winter in the sleighs.
We are sure that now you would like to visit Sofievsky Park! Here is the address: Kievskaya street 12 a, Uman, Cherkassy region.
You can visit the park from May 1 till November 15 everyday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or by the preliminary order at any season (tel.: (04744) 3-22-10, 4-07-39).
The excursions are conducted in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, English, German and French languages.
The tourists can stay in Sofievsky hotel*** (100 - 500 hrivnas per person). You can order sauna, conference hall. It is allowed to accommodate the pets.
You can get to Uman by the car by Odessa highway (Е95, М05), distance from Kiev to Uman 232 km.
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