The city of Nova Kakhovka was created for the builders of the Kakhovka water-development project. Everything was constructed quickly, on the basis of the same layout. There was no time to think about the aesthetics of the city because it was necessary to quickly resettle the labor force and provide them with due living conditions.
Everything changed with the arrival of Grigory Dovzhenko, a famous muralist and Boychukist (a member of the movement of Mykhailo Boychuk’s successors). Now, his creations are called ‘stone embroideries’. What are these unique panels and why are they interesting? Read on.
History of stone embroideries
It is amazing how one person may change the appearance of the entire city. The famous writer and director Oleksander Dovzhenko came to Nova Kakhovka to write the script for the film "Poem of the Sea". The gray and dull city did not inspire the writer. Dovzhenko requested the Academy of Arts to send architects and artists to Nova Kakhovka several times. The requests were heard: a group of monumentalists-boychukists led by Grigory Dovzhenko arrived. By the way, the architect and the writer are just namesakes.
Until 1955, artists worked on the gray ‘boxes’ of Nova Kakhovka. During the work, all 180 buildings of the city were decorated. The panels turned out to be lasting. Therefore, they have been preserved in good condition to this day. The secret is in the special composition of the plaster, which was developed by Grigory Dovzhenko himself and patented.
The Soviet authorities did not appreciate the efforts of the architects. Newspapers called the embossed decoration of buildings ‘architectural superfluity’. Fortunately, nobody dismantled them. Once a year, they were covered with a layer of plaster and whitewash.
Nowadays, stone embroideries have the status of a monument and are protected by local activists and architects.
Interest in stone embroideries revived in the 2000s. In 2011, a society for the protection of cultural heritage was created on the initiative of local architect Tetiana Yevsieieva.
In 2016, a volunteer movement was launched to restore the panel. Volunteers are schoolchildren, students, and simply caring citizens. Everyone helps as far as feasible. The most difficult task is to clean the panel from layers of plaster. The ornament is thoroughly blown, washed, primed, and plastered. Currently, 8 houses have been restored.
According to Tetiana, all the ornaments in the city can be restored. The stone is well preserved, despite natural disasters. And the people themselves cause the greatest destruction. Fortunately, the residents of the houses do not interfere with the work of the volunteers. Some take part in the improvement of their home themselves.
The work has borne fruit: 2 tourist routes along restored stone embroideries in Nova Kakhovka have been developed. In the future, it is planned to install signposts.
The panel's uniqueness lies in the fact that each building has its own ornament. Each picture indicates the functions the construction performed in 1954.
The main feature of the panel is the simplicity and sketchiness of traditional Ukrainian figures. Intertwined ornament, images of birds and plants are elements of traditional embroidery.
Dovzhenko wanted to convey the national Ukrainian art and did it.
Buildings that have the stone embroidery
- Summer theater – Dniprovskyi Avenue
- School No. 1 named after O. Dovzhenko – 27/1 Istorychna Str.
- Department of Labor and Social Protection of the Population – 18 Istorychna Str.
- Children's Art Center – 16 Karla Marksa Str.
- "Romashka" Kindergarten – 8 Istorychna Str.
- Palace of Culture – Dniprovskyi Avenue.
You will learn more about stone embroideries as you join excursions. For example, "Excursion House of Odessa" Travel Agency offers a one-day tour of Nova Kakhovka. Find the program here.
All buildings are within walking distance, so you can walk to the sights on your own.