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Sofievka Park Excursion

The National dendrologic park “Sofievka” in Ukraine
Dendropark “Sofievka” is recognized as one of the Masterpieces of so-called "landscape architecture" of Ukraine. Covering area of nearly 1180 hectares, it is located in the northern outskirts of the town Uman, Cherkassy jblast, on the bank of the river Kamenka. It is hard to believe that it was planted by man; it looks so natural and authentic.

Historical reference
The end of the 18-th century was marked by the boom in building castles, palaces and parks. The owners of estates were trying to excel each other. It was Stanislav Pototskiy, the former owner of Uman, who did the best work of construction and park design. His name became famouse for all the times. The park was planned to be a gift for Sophiya Vitt from the landlord. (In 1798 Sophiya became his wife).

The serfdom-based architects and gardeners of the graph worked with all their efforts.  Thanks to theit talent, diligence, fantasy this miracle came out. Moving away from their aims, they created their self-reliant work of art.

For the layout of the park they chose the most picturesque rocky bank of Kamenka, where the vivid stream was playfully flowing. Not far from it, there were springs of pure fresh water.

In 1796, the building of the park was finished. The author and the guidance or the project was Ludovic Metzel, Polish military engineer. The natural pulling up of the stone blocks, hills and ravines were inseparable elements of the architect's design, including construction of grottoes, rocks, cliffs, waterfalls, ponds, just as if they are natural. The steam was decorated with granite, and partitioned by rapids. All these installments helped create a picturesque cascade.

By1799, most of the plants and bushes, trees and flowers had been planted. Then, the marble statues of ancient gods and goddesses carved by the best Italian sculptors, were placed all around the park.

Everything was done to remind the countess of her homeland, Greece. The main construction was finished in 1801. The rich count spent more than 20 mln zloty to build the amusement place.

But thus, it was not finished. After her husband’s death the countess lost her interest to the project. In 1813, Metzel understood that it would be impossible to finish the work and he departed from Uman to Warsaw.

Later, in 1832, the park and all the property of Pototskiy were confiscated. Tsar Nikolay 1 gifted the park to his wife Alexandra Fedorovna. Since then, the park got a new name – Tsaritsa’s garden.

During that time, when the park was put under the responsibility of a military settlement (1836 – 1859), it reached the pike of its development. The beautiful cast-iron gilded gates with nicely shaped stone towers were set up. Stone pavilions were set up on the Lower and Upper ponds. The towers were reconstructed by architect I. Makytin. In due course, different architectural ensembles, developed in the best traditions of Russian classical architecture and Ukrainian folk art, were set up in the park. New plants filled up the greenhouses. The plantation of grapes and a number of rare plants were placed on the South slope. The paths were widened around the entire garden.
       In 1929, with the beginning of the Soviet era, “Sophievka” was proclaimed as a nature reserve. In 1955, it was given to the NAN (National Acedemy of Science) of Ukraine.
       In 2004, the oark acquired the status of a national park. The collection of arboreal shrub plants of the arboretum was brought in the list of National property. In our days, it is the first-rate tourist object, and 500 thousands of people visit it. In 2007 “Sophievka” was recognized as one of the “7 miracles of Ukraine”.
Dendrologic Park “Sophievka”

The main composition passes by riverbed of Kamenka. There the Lower and Upper ponds, waterfalls, sluices, cascades, underground river Aheron were built. All the territory of the park is segregated to several zones: The Main path, The English Park, Elyseiskie fields and others.

The Southern Part

The beautiful towers with porticoes decorate the entrance. The main entry suits well into the relief of the land. Then the chestnut path comes, from the left side purls Kamenka makes its way through stone blocks. At the left side, there are thick bushes. At the upper virgin of the steppe there is a small summerhouse resembling the mushroom. From here the title of the glade, it is mushroom. At the lower part of the slope an exotic plant- a marsh cypress grove. Further, the Tarpeiskaya rock disposed. Going through the main path you can come to the Flora’s pavilion, which was made in Dorian style. It only strengthens the impression from the entity of the architecture with the panoramic sight of the green park.

The Central Part

At the lower pond there is a very interesting fountain in type of bronze snake curled up on the stone projecting from the water. From her Graze flies high up a huge sheet of water. One can see it from any place of the central part of the park. The banks of the pond are decorated by the bushes of wild grapes, shrubs, poplar and willow. Under the water of the pond a rock overhangs. You can see from it the Big cascade and other amazing places of Sophievka..On the bank of the Lower pond the Levkadskaya rock is raising. The granite block named The Stone of the death lies in the water near it. Its name is connected with the death of serfdoms, which were crushed by the burden.

If you tern to the left you can see Screw hill. From it the visitors can see different panoramas: the Caucasian hill, the Belvedere, the square of meetings, the Big cascade, the fountain Snake, the Flora’s pavilion. On the western bank of the pond the marble sculpture of an ancient Greek philosopher and playwright Evripid stands.
Near the metal bridge there is a sculpture of Mercuriy – the god of trade, the protector of merchant and travelers. Near the steep slop of the terrace placed the source of Hypocrite. According to the legend this water gives inspire to poets. The granite cup of the source support sculptural grass snakes.

From the stones of foreman they made Diana’s grotto. It is not far from the yellow bridge that follows to the square of meetings. In the centre of the square there is an oval swimming poll with a big granite vase in the middle. At the left of the square you can see the grotto of fear and doubts. In the central part of the park raised a big waterfall. The upper pond supplies it by water. The water in the waterfall runs with huge roar and noise. At the right of it there is a Valley of giant. Seeing it you recollect the myth about the battle between gods and tetanus.    

The Eastern Part

It is very interesting with its grotto Nut and tree-stage waterfall. In the rock also cut down the grotto Loqueteques, in the middle of it a round table putted in. There is a little stream and it is divided into 3 parts and it creates the cascade “Tree Tears” in Tampeyskaya Valley. It symbolizes the memory about Sophiya’s and Potozkiy’s children who died, when they were little children. Next to it there is a column with a cut off top, it is a Column of grief. In the huge cave The Lion grotto is cut off- the biggest in the park.

The Venus’s grotto is created as an ancient temple. Near stays the statue of Apollo Florentine. At the eastern part of Elyseyskie fields disposed the Pheasant, which grown directly from the earth.
In the Upper pone there is an artificial island- the Island of love. From the Upper pond the underground canal is built, and it symbolizes the mythic river Sticks.

The Western Part

Practically a new park is created there. It has a modern infrastructure in servicing the tourist. Rosarium and four water body located there. You can see a century-long oak. Gradually the territory passes to menagerie- a deep gully covered by forest.

The Northern Part

The English park with its collection of exotic plants as coral bean, a stone tree, a bear nut and many others located there. The Amphitheatre and the greenhouse also located there. This park is full of ancient Greek history and places connected with the history of ancient Rome.   

The Museum of Sculptures

Near the main entry a tourist complex is situated: the house of creative work for scientists with the restaurant and a hotel for 45 persons, and a sauna. In the hole of the hotel there is an open museum of marble sculpture of the park and a winter garden where you can see the originals of the statues standing earlier in the park. 


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