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THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD

PREMIER

PALACE KYIV

• 36 pages preview of our book PREMIER PALACE KYIV (KIEV) • This book has 160 pages, hard case (cloth binding, gold stamping) ANDREAS AUGUSTIN and is available from www.famoushotels.org


THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD

PREMIER PALACE KYIV

Cover and drawing by Manfred Markowski Contemporary photography by Michelle Chaplow

ANDREAS AUGUSTIN


T he M ost F amous H otels

in the

W orld

In 1986 A ndreas A ugustin, born in Vienna, founded THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD. The aim was and still is to set new standards in archiving and presenting the history of famous historic hotels. This book shows never before published material from archives around the world. After spending some time at the Premier Palace in Kyiv, it also has become a very personal book. Many thanks must go to Kyiv historian M ikhail K alnitskiy, who supplied historical material to lay the cornerstone to the history of the hotel. P avlo D yban has helped with our research and assisted in translations and at local archives. M ichelle C haplow is a British freelance photographer based in Spain. She is a member of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and has studied photography at Seville University. Her photographs grace various of our books, for example The Oriental Bangkok. Also born in Vienna, M anfred M arkowski , shapes the cover pages of the series T he M ost F amous H otels in the W orld . He has won recognition as illustrator and has painted book covers for Hotel Sacher Wien, Hotel Ritz Madrid, the Excelsior Rome, Schloss Velden, to name but a few.

Design: Michelangelo Ramazotti 6


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Contents T raveller’ s N otepad 9 ‘P remier ’ S teps 17 Early

laws for the hospitality industry

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Historic map of Kieff 30 B uilding the P alace 35 T he P alast -H ôtel 39 T he G rand E xhibition 49 A rriving 59 B ack S truggle

to

B usiness 75

for

T he C loche

S tandards 98 is

L ifted 111

S uite D reams 131 E pilogue 147 F amous G uests 155

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Early self portrait of Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko (1814–1861), the renowned artist and eminent writer. His literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and, to a large extent, the modern Ukrainian language. Shevchenko also wrote in Russian and left many masterpieces as a painter and an illustrator.

I have chosen to walk between the two lines of trees in the centre of Shevchenko Boulevard. It is the most peaceful walk in the heart of an otherwise buzzing city of three million – and still counting – people. This magnificent thoroughfare was created in 1842. The horticulturist Oleksandr Osypov noted at the end of the 19th century: ‘The boulevard’s alley was adorned with pyramidal poplar (Populus dilitata) or Italian poplar – as we see them in Lombardy and other Mediterranean countries. No other city can boast of such an allée. Indeed, two walls of trees line the road for 2.7 kilometres over the hill, passing by the University of Kyiv. All over the rest of Kyiv, by the way, you will find chestnut trees, whose leaf and flower represents one of the symbols of Kyiv. Along this magnificent boulevard two gymnasiums were established and the city’s sugar barons built their magnificent estates. The ‘sweet business’, as it was called, made Kyiv wealthy. Along this thoroughfare the mighty cupolas of the St. Volodymyr Cathedral, some of the first residential apartment buildings and the 18


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Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837) by Orest Adamovich Kiprensky (Tretyakov Gallery; Moscow, Russia). Pushkinska Street is named after the great poet, who is considered the founder of modern Russian literature. He visited Kyiv twice.

campus of the Commercial Institute, today known as the Pedagogical Institute were built. Not to forget the massive verdant strip of the Botanical Gardens on the other side of the hill. And it was on this boulevard that our hotel, the present-day Premier Palace Hotel, found its place. The boulevard has been known by several names over the years. Up until the 1860s, the fathers of Kyiv didn’t quite know what to call it and referred to it as Boulevard Chaussée and Boulevard Street. The name Universitetskiy Boulevard was also used at some point. In 1869, it was renamed Bibikovskiy Boulevard in honour of Dmytro Bibikov, a Kyiv Governor-General until 1852, who obediently toed the tsar’s line of the full ‘Russification’ of Ukraine and brutally persecuted any manifestations of separatist sentiment. Later the street was renamed Shevchenko Boulevard. No, not after Andriy Shevchenko, the soccer star. Rather in honour of Taras Shevchenko, the multitalented artist and writer, whose portrait you’re most likely carrying in your pocket: it adorns the 100 hryvnia banknote. 19


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country of Rus in 988 AD, Kyiv was its spiritual headquarters. It attracted pilgrims, who spent their nights in uncomfortable monasteries and guesthouses. They were the first ‘tourists’ to visit Kyiv. By the end of the 19th century, there were several hotels in the city. Opened in 1896, the Continental was the best of the bunch. An advert around that time read: ‘The Hôtel Continental can compete with the best hotels in Europe in terms of location, amenities and its beautiful finishing. 100 suites, a large restaurant, a winter garden, luxurious offices, a billiards room, four reading rooms, two electric elevators, a locker room for baggage and valuable items, bathrooms and a summer garden with an illuminated fountain.’ In addition, the hotel was equipped with steam heating, ventilation, electrical lighting and hot water running throughout the building. The parlour with its adjoining reading rooms boasted opulent trimmings in Mauritanian style. It sounds very impressive, doesn’t it? A few yards away, the Grand Hôtel welcomed famous guests like the Spanish Grand Duke Montpansier and His Royal Highness, Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil. According to a census carried out in 1897, some 3,000 labourers were employed in Kyiv’s hotel and restaurant business. In short, this profession fed 1.25% of the local population, which totalled around 250,000 at the time. Although tourism generated a considerable income for Kyiv, all these hotels vanished over the years. The rules of the game were strict for the hoteliers of Kyiv. The city’s founders drew up rigorous rules governing the basic laws of inn-keeping. In the event of a complaint regarding service in a hotel or restaurant, hotel managers would have to fix the problem and pay a hefty fine. In the most extreme cases, the license for running an establishment was revoked. All these cases were announced in a local chronicle as a warning to other potential violators.

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Early laws for the hospitality industry A special resolution of the Kiev City Duma dated January 1899 ‘On Hotels and Furnished Rooms’ called for the following: All hotel and furnished room premises intended for use as common halls, cafeterias and buffets, as well as for suites, should be dry, well-lit, warm and no less than four arshyns high (1 arshyn equals 0.71 meters); all of them should have ventilation devices and can only be on above ground floors, not in basements. The corridors in hotels and furnished rooms must be dry, warm and no less than two arshyns in width. The corridors should not be encumbered with bedding or buffet fixings; they should not serve as a storage place for teapots, chests, linens and other accessories. Every floor should have warm bathrooms (WC) with good ventilation separate for men and women. Hotels and furnished rooms should be impeccably tidy and up to standard. The rooms should be cleaned and aired out after every visitor checks out. Every hotel and furnished room should have a sufficient number of spittoons filled with disinfectants… All rooms should have printed announcements that request lodgers and guests to use the spittoons and not spit on the floor, walls or furniture. The keepers of hotels and furnished rooms are obligated to ensure that the chamber maids are sober and clean, courteous to the public guests and were not carrying some contagious disease.

An attendant has to be always on duty in the hotel foyer. The main entrance, corridors, stairs, doorways and washrooms should be lit from dusk till dawn.’ The names of lodgers staying in hotels and furnished rooms should be listed on a bulletin board in the foyer of the establishment. The room numbers not having a surname written in next to them should be immediately opened upon the request of the police. In terms of restaurants in hotels, the following specific warnings were given: Kitchens in hotels must be spacious, dry, well lit, have a waterproof floor. Walls must be painted with bright oil-based paint. A kitchen cannot serve as a place of accommodation. In the kitchen the dishware and glassware should be constantly washed and the copper vessels should be well tined. The tables and shelves should be thoroughly washed and any mess should be immediately cleaned up. The head chef and servants in the kitchen should be dressed in white, pure linen, wearing loose aprons and hats covering their hair fully. Keeping remaining liquids in glasses or pouring them back into the original bottle is prohibited. Accumulating and storing prepared tea is prohibited; it must be immediately thrown into the rubbish bin.’

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The formation of Khreshchatyk – one of the longest main streets in Europe (1.3km) – began at the end of the 18th century. It was extended to Bessarabsky Square. Inset left page: a 250 roubles share of the Kyiv tram system, the first electric tramway in the former Russian Empire and the third one in Europe after the Berlin Straßenbahn and the Budapest tramway. In 1891, the first horse-drawn tram wagon was set on a track. In 1892, the first trams with electric motors arrived in Kyiv.

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The Palast-Hôtel

In 1912, students of architecture flocked to the new corner building at Pushkinska Street and Bibikov (today Shevchenko) Boulevard. It was a pilgrimage to architectural innovation. There was something new to the structure designed by the two architects from Odessa, Minkus and Troupyanskiy. In 1908 the Viennese architect Adolf Loos had coined the provocative catch phrase ‘Ornament and Crime’, promoting the deletion of ornament from everyday objects including buildings. Tall, sleek and sober, the façade of the PalastHôtel was a smart compromise between Art Nouveau, Art Deco and something new. That must be the future, the young students agreed. The tower of the hotel proudly sported the name of the hotel: Palast-Hôtel, an experimental – or erroneous – play with words, combining the German word Palast (palace) with the French way of writing hôtel, using the appropriate accent circumflex (^) on the ‘o’. This was of course the international standard of writing hôtel at that time, in usage throughout most of Europe. But never had 39


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The Grand Exhibition

I have returned from an early morning outing to Lavra, the Monastery of Caves. I have looked at one thousand years of history (it dates back to 1051). It is worth going, by all means, whoever visited Kyiv without having been to Lavra has not been here. I am sitting at my table in the lounge of the Executive Floor, on the 7 th level of the hotel. I love the sheltered atmosphere up here. Sometimes you need your privacy. This floor has its own receptionist, a sort of personal assistant who organises my Internet access codes, looks after the latest newspapers and assists wherever possible. On the way from my room up here I have seen housekeeping ladies walking around the corridors with little baskets, carrying the supLavra is among the most popular sights in the world. Dating back some one thousand years it is a tranquil retreat from busy Kyiv. The chestnut trees are another symbol of the Ukrainian capital. 49


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Bibikovskiy Boulevard, to the left Hotel Marseille.

War was far from over, the Ukraine fought its own war, which had nothing to do with an Austro-Hungarian empire. In St. Petersburg, Nicholas II had to face the consequences of the obvious ineffectiveness of his armies during the Great War. Then, following the ‘February Revolution’ of 1917, the Tsar was forced to abdicate. He and his family would be executed. The great Russian Empire collapsed. The Ukrainian Central Rada (the governing council) had proclaimed Ukraine an autonomous republic. Civil war ensued. An artillery bombardment in January 1918 attempted to destroy the building of the first parliament of independent Ukraine. But the gunners missed their target and damaged instead the Palast-Hôtel, which was still closed and not operating. On 24 January the Kievlyanin reported that a heavy 6 inch mortar had hit the hotel. The strong walls of the hotel building withstood the blast, but part of the roof caught fire. Bed in the Hetman Suite. 65


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Golda Meir (Mabovich) (1898–1978) Prime Minister of Israel 1969–1973

Mikhail Bulgakov (1881–1940) Writer

Vladimir Horowitz (1903–1989) Pianist

Igor Sikorskiy (1889–1972) Aircraft and helicopter designer

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Skoropadsky had to get out of the city. The German Consulate located at the Palast-Hôtel had its connections, allowing the hetman to flee Kyiv one night aboard a German Red Cross train. In memory of a first free Ukraine, an attempt to break away from ‘Mother Russia’, we have a Hetman suite at the Premier Palace. While in November 1918, Germany and Austria had surrendered and the Great War had come to an end, in Ukraine a bloody civil war continued. The Soviet army recaptured Ukraine, then the nationalists regained territory. ‘Reds and Whites, Bolsheviks and anti-Communists, monarchists and democrats, forces from Russia’s wartime allies in the Triple Entente, Britain and France ... the fighting went on’. Power switched back and forth. Each regime issued its own money. Sometimes the new currency was valid for a few days only. Some years later, Kyiv author Mikhail Bulgakov noted: ‘By the account of Kievans, they’ve had eighteen coups. ... I can report with certainty that there have been fourteen, ten of which I personally experienced.’ It was an endless succession of senseless executions, murder and bloodshed. Many books have been written about these episodes and there is no space here to do them justice.

During that time Kyiv was home and birthplace of many famous people, poets, philosophers, artists, engineers and politicians. Sikorskiy, on the left page, was the only one of this gallery who was not born in Kyiv, where he studied and created his first aircraft. Following pages: in 1926 Globus Magazine advertised the four municipal hotels Kontinental, Chervoniy Kyiv, Nova Rosiya and Palast. The authorities used the words ‘comfort, peaceful and quiet’. A restaurant, elevators and rest rooms were waiting, not to forget the luxury of ‘new bed sheets’. 71


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Struggle for Standards

As I travel downstairs, I listen to Bizet’s Carmen, coming from the piped music of the elevator. I start my day with a swim in the pool. 17 metres long, some 20 laps: not really an Olympic distance, but it wakes me up. There are Finnish sauna, Turkish and Russian baths, a Jacuzzi and a state-of-the-art gym. The personal trainers are excellent. A great many Kyiv socialites exercise their individual fitness programmes at the Premier Palace. While I paddle away in the pool, I understand for the first time where precisely I am swimming. This courtyard with the glass-roof cover was the courtyard of house No. 5, the latest addition to the hotel complex. This was Ginzburg’s house. It joined the new Hotel Ukraina around 1953. As you now know, some 50 years back, our good old Palast-Hôtel was renamed Ukraina. I will not confuse you with this name for too long. But let’s get used to it, at least for a few pages. Ultimately its name will revert to Palace once again. Palast, Palace, Ukraina, The stunning atrium of the Premier Palace. 93


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The Cloche is Lifted

Do you know Bismarck? It is very likely that you will never see him. I met him once and shook his paw. Bismarck is a goldenbrown Labrador, born in February 2007. He is the successor of Boss, who died recently. His office is near the staff entrance and we all hope that he never has to prove his skills. He is trained to detect explosives and as such a very important member of the staff. Labradors are good at tracking scents in the air. I am cruising the walkways of what is called ‘behind the stage’, the back offices of the hotel. I am taken through immaculate clean corridors, a spotless garage with a delivery bay; I see the little staff-tailor’s workshop, the laundry and the kitchens. I have the great pleasure of having lunch with Oleksandra Plakhota, director of sales and marketing at the Premier Palace. We have chosen the staff canteen for our meal. The hotel management knows how to This phone rings at the private meeting room on the Executive Floor. 111


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Italy’s superstar Sophia Loren is greeted by former deputy director Dmitriy Prohorow, pop-star Sonique, HRH Michael of Kent and Polish film director and screen writer Jerzy Hoffman.

I’m approached by a member of the concierge team, who hands me the confirmation of my flight booking for tomorrow. Whatever it is you need, they deliver it. The theatre, the circus, sporting events, a last minute ballet ticket, a tour, any postal service, a personal driver, organising business services, flower deliveries to loved ones, shopping assistance. At what time does that exhibition in the museum open? What about the church service on Sunday morning? The weather? You name it, they’ll tell you. Incidentally, on one occasion, no sooner had I put down the phone on the concierge informing me that someone had left a message at front desk that the message was delivered to my doorstep. It makes 136


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you wonder whether the boys are taking part in secret races to get the job done quickest. Watching the busy crowd in the Lobby Bar means diving right into the pool of Kyiv’s in-crowd. A drink at the Palace, before you hit the town, is de rigeur. The Premier Palace has something for everyone, for every occasion. Swing a little shopping bag from one of the chic boutiques at the hotel under your arm, sport a trendy haircut from Aldo Coppola’s salon or take a piece of cake from Wolkonsky’s Patisserie back for grandmother. Anyone who is anyone in Kyiv is here, not to mention every VIP of note arriving in town from abroad. For example, general director Oleksandr Lytvyn welcomed Paulo Coelho. The famous Brazilian author presented the Ukrainian edition of his novel The Pilgrimage. Little by little, Lytvyn reveals parts of his management philosophy to me: ‘We’re proud of the fact that business professionals, politicians, artists, designers, athletes, and tourists have come to us from more than 100 countries. And in 137


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Epilogue

It is almost a trademark of famous hotels that they are made for perpetuity. From time to time they reinvent themselves, from time to time they set milestones. They lead the industry, they are always the first: the first to have electricity, hot running water, telephones in every room, flat screens, mobile handsets, W-LAN, ‌ In 1908, Ginzburg decided to raze the old walls of his office building to the ground and erected a beautiful mansion. On top of that building, almost 100 years after the fist cornerstone was laid, on the eve of the year 2009, Premier Palace opened Terracotta. Terracotta is the marvellous rooftop restaurant on the last floor of the hotel. From dusk to dawn, from breakfast to dinner, you are surrounded by the skyline of the city. No place gives you a better idea of the size and beauty of Kyiv. A senior manager of the hotel remarked at the opening: ‘Once again we have built something for eternity.’ How right she was. The last evening of my stay in Kyiv was reserved for Terracotta. The menu represents a splendid mix of Ukrainian traditional and international dishes. In some distance, the golden domes of Kyiv shine. After my meal the waiter pulls a digestive trolley in front of 147


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A Small Excerpt from the Premier Palace Guestbook

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Pavel R. Popovich

Princess Mette-Marrit

Church

Crown & Nobility

Diodor of Jerusalem Patriarch Feoktist (Romania) Patriarch Maxim (Bulgaria)

HRH Michael of Kent Princess Mette-Marrit (Norway) Princess Stephanie (Monaco)

Politics

Eternal FAME

Alexander Kwasniewski, Bohdan Horyn Colin Powel Condoleeza Rice Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Mykhailo Horyn Mykola Porovskiy Pavlo Petrovych Skoropadsky Stepan Khmara Volodymyr Filenko Vyacheslav Chornovil Xavier Solana

Pavlo Popovych Valentyna Gryzodubova Valery Chkalov Vasyl Petrov and many, many others ... (see next pages for VIPs of Art, Business and Sports)

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Alexander Vertinskiy Eva Herzigovรก Paolo Coelho

ARTS A-Ha Alexander Belyavskiy Alexander Rosenbaum Alexander Vertinskiy Alla Demidova Alla Larionova Alla Tarasova Andriy Myagkov Ani Lorak Aram Khachaturian Arkadiy Raikin Armand Assante Armen Dzhigarkhanian Benjamin Smekhov Black Eyed Peas Bogdan Stupka Borys Andreyev Borys Khmelnytskiy Borys Novikov Brian Adams Christina Aguilera Deep Purple Depeche Mode Edita Pyekha

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Elton John Emma Shapplin Eric Roberts Eva Herzigovรก Fyodor Bondarchuk Gary Moore Georgiy Vitsin Gleb Stryzhenov Gloria Gaynor Gotlieb Roninson Irma Sumak Ivan Kozlovskiy Jerzy Hoffman Julio Iglesial Karel Gott Klavdiya Shulzhenko Lenny Kravitz Lev Leshchenko Levon Oganezov Liya Akhedzhakova Lyubov Orlova Lyudmyla Khityayeva Makhmud Esambayev Maxim Galkin Mikhail Bulgakov

Mikhail Efremov Mikhail Zadornov Monserrat Caballe Muslim Magomayev Mykhailo Tsaryov Mykhailo Ulyanov Mykhailo Vodyaniy Mykola Kryuchkov Mykola Rybnykov Mykola Slichenko Natalia Gvozdikova Nelly Furtado Nikolai Karachentsev Nina Shatska Nonna Mordyukova Oleg Efremov Oleg Popov Oleg Stryzhenov Oleksandr Kalyagin Oleksandr Maslyakov Ornella Muti Paolo Coelho Patricia Kaas Pavlo Korin Pisnyary Band


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Oleg Popov Miss Ukraine Protopopovs

Radmila Karaklayich Roberto Cavalli Serge Lyfar Serhiy Filipov Sonique Sophia Loren Steven Spielberg Taisiya Dodina Tatiana Peltzer Tetyana Doronina Trio Marenychi Vakhtang Kikabidze Valentyna Telychkyna Valeriy Zolotukhin Van Klibern Vasyl Lanoviy Vasyl Zinkevych Viya Artmane Vladimir Vinokur Vladimir Vysotsky Vyacheslav Tikhonov Yevgeniya Simonova Yevhen Matveyev Yevhen Morhunov Yevhen Yevstigneyev

Yevhen Zharykov Yulia Sontseva Yuri Solomin Yuriy Antonov Yuriy Bashmet Yuriy Bohatykov Yuriy Lyubimov Yuriy Nikulin Yuriy Smirnov Zinaida Kyryyenko Zinaida Slavina

Business: Philip Zepter Ronald Lauder

SPORTS AC Milan AC Roma Alexei Kasatanov Alexeyi Belik Anatoliy Timoschuk Andriy Shevchenko

Carlo Ancelotti David Beckham David Coulthard FC Lyon FC Real Madrid Franz Beckenbauer Igor Larionov Josef Blatter Kateryna Hordeyeva Lennox Lewis Leonid Zhabotynskiy Lyudmyla Bilousova Michel Platini Mika Hakkinen Nikolayevich Lagutin Oleg Maskaev Oleh Protopopov Pavel Bure Ronaldo Sergei Makarov Serhiy Bubka Serhiy Hrynkov Valeriy Brumel Vladimir Krutov Vyacheslav Fetisov

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In 1912, students of architecture flocked to the new corner building at Pushkinska Street and Bibikov (today Shevchenko) Boulevard. It was a pilgrimage to architectural innovation: the façade of the ‘Palast Hôtel’ was a smart compromise between Art Nouveau, Art Deco and something new. In 1972, Richard Nixon celebrated hisCE KYIV LA IER PA last night of a journey through the M E R P ur bookwith a dinner in, gold stamping) former Soviet iew of oUnion v e r p s e g a th binding lo c ( e s • 36 pKyiv. a c He raised his aglass to toast ghis rd (KIEV) has 160 pages, h .famoushotels.or k w hosts: ‘On this particular evening, o o w • This b available from w is is the last occasion that we and which will be having dinner on Soviet soil, we think it is very appropriate that it should be here in this mother of all Russian cities, here in Ukraine among a people who are so strong and who represent such a great spirit.’ Like no other hotel in this wonderful city the Premier Palace represents the strong spirit of Ukrainian tradition Famous guests of the Premier Palace include (left side): Italian movie star Sophia Loren, composer Aram Khachaturian, Clown Oleg Popov, HRH Michael of Kent, Cosmonaut Pavel R. Popovich; Right side: cinema prima donna of Soviet days Lyubov Orlova, soccer star David Beckham, writer Paolo Coelho and song writer Volodymyr Vysotsky. ISBN: English: 978-3-900692-28-5

Ukrainian: 978-3-900692-29-2

Russian: 978-3-900692-30-8

PREMIER PALACE KYIV (KIEV)  

In 1912, students of architecture flocked to the new corner building at Pushkinska Street and Bibikov (today Shevchenko) Boulevard. It was a...

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