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You're reading: Then & Now: Kyiv’s top square connects medieval with modern times
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Nowadays, Maidan is one of the biggest squares in Kyiv. But between 1876 and World War II, the Kyiv city council – or duma — stood right in its center, occupying a great part of the square. It was then known as Dumska Square.

After the construction of the Duma was finished, landscapers created a small park behind it. In 1909, this patch of greenery was reconstructed. It was decorated with a cast iron fountain, quite typical for Kyiv in those days and still present in the city center.

“You can see that the small park on Dumska square was fenced around it. Almost all gardens in Kyiv, they were not called parks then, used to have fencing,” Kyiv historian Vladyslava Osmak observed. “A garden in city architecture derives from the idea of the biblical Garden of Eden. It’s not wild nature it symbolizes, but orderly space, a safe place, a place of escape. The present-day Maidan is open and therefore is extremely uncomfortable. It is desolate, no matter how many people are on it.”

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