HomepagePlan of Kyiv in 1930s
Samson's Fountainor "Felitsial"

The Monastery Of St. Michael Of The Golden Domes


Built in 1748-49, demolished in 1934 or 1935.

Between Podil's Town Hall and the Cathedral was one of several municipal water fountains. Fresh water for these fountains was brought by wooden pipes from the neighboring St. Andrew Hill. In the mid-eighteenth century Podil's magistrate commenced work on repairing the city's water distribution system and constructing a new masonry structure above the fountain in the Town Hall Square. The job was given to the young architect Ivan Hryhorovych-Barskyi, a scion of a well-known Podil family and graduate of the Kievan Academy. The new structure, named "Felitslyal" by the magistrate, was completed in 1748-49. It was a pavilion-like circular rotunda with a cupola resting on four piers, with each pier embellished by two columns of Corinthian order. As there was a custom in Old Ukraine to erect sculptures in public spaces and wells, the dome of the rotunda was surmounted by a two-meter high gilded copper statue of St. Andrew. Under the dome of the rotunda was a statue of an angel who held a chance from which water issued and ran into a basin. Around 1800 the sculpture of the angel was replaced by an almost life size wooden sculpture of Samson tearing the lion's jaws from which also flowed water. Subsequently the Felitsiyal was known among Kiev's inhabitants as Samson's or Lion's fountain.
Before the First World War the statues of St. Andrew and Samson were removed and stored. In 1927 the dome of the rotunda was repaired by the municipal government. During the development of the 1935 plans for the reconstruction of the Podil, the Architectural Planning Administration proposed to include the Baroque structure in the planned park on the site of the enlarged Red Square. According to a story which might be of an apocryphal nature. Pavel P. Postyshev, on one of his inspection tours of the city, instructed the Chairman of the City Council Ryzhkov to remove the "kiosk". Apparently the eighteenth century structure was dismantled in the middle of the night. Its foundations were preserved.
In the second half of the 1970s. as part of an effort to develop the Podil as Kiev's tourist center, a decision was made to reintroduce the lost historical ambience to the old merchant and artisans quarter of the Ukrainian capital. These plans included rebuilding some of the landmarks demolished in the 1930's, including Hryhorovych-Barskyl's "Felitslyal". In the fall of 1977 the government of the Ukrainian S.S.R. directed the City Council of the Ukrainian capital to rebuild Samson's Fountain. Reconstruction of the Felitslyal, according to a design by Soviet Ukrainian architect V. P. Shevehenko, was scheduled to be completed In 1981.

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