Archive for September 2009


Castle in the courtyard

castleKyiv is a city of hidden homes and courtyards. There are the rows of apartments that, like ours, face the street. But often there’s another cluster of apartments tucked in behind them, almost like a second row of teeth. They’re accessible through small archways between the buildings.
Our kitchen is the one room in our apartment that faces away from the street. It looks out over a courtyard with this majestic, mysterious pink palace. Every morning as I sip my coffee, I stare out the window and try to imagine what this crumbling four story mansion must have looked like in its prime, and who might have lived there. I’m guessing it was built at the end of the 19th century, when Ukraine’s burgeoning coal, iron and sugar industries fueled a building boom in Kyiv.
castle_nightThe government undoubtedly owns it now. Maybe it will be restored and re-inhabited at some point. Who knows. The small archway that leads to its courtyard has a rusted iron gate that’s padlocked, so we can’t get any closer to it than our kitchen window.