Rock, robbery and SWAT in Kyiv castle

Pidgorskiy’s House, also known as the Baron’s Castle, is one of the most interesting vintage buildings in the centre of Kyiv. It’s situated at the corner of Yaroslaviv Val street and Lysenka street and attracts with its exquisite romano-gothic style with elegant molding and a high spire. This  house was built in 1897 and at the moment requires restoration, so all its dwellers were transferred. While it’s waiting for renovation, rock band S.K.A.J. decided to film their new clip here.

The video for the song Nebezpechna (Dangerous) will thrill everyone with dramatic plot, and energetic footage. It tells a story of a pair of lovers, who decided to commit a serious crime – bank robbery. They stand against a SWAT unit.

-          Nebezpechna is the first song from our fourth album, - told S.K.A.J. vocalist Oleg Sobchuk. – We have already formed some vision of it, but we are still experimenting. S.K.A.J. is not a solo project, It includes five charismatic musicians. I can only tell that new album will be rather unusual for us.

Clipmakers were searching for film set for quite a long time, till they got lucky to rent the Baron’s Castle. This empty building is a real oasis in the centre of Kyiv. But they had to transport a great amount of stage property – furniture, weapons, household items and other stuff – as well as print loads of dollars. Professional actors Victoria Varley and Oleksandr Pechenyk played roles of the lovers. Oleg Sobchuk will act a rather unusual part but at the moment it’s kept in secret.

- The premiere of this clip is scheduled on mid-November, - emphasized the S.K.A.J. vocalist. – We are not in hurry because we prefer making quality product. But the release date of our new album is a secret for now. In the nearest future we are planning to present more new singles. 

Retro-style excursion

A great number of entertainment activities are offered for citizens of Kyiv and guests of our city.  Tourists also have a chance to get acquainted with Kyiv on different excursions and some of them are rather exotic. For example, South-Western railway offers to come around the city by train. And this is no ordinary train as it’s towed by an old steam locomotive.

Vintage locomotive L-3055 was found in depot in a small town of Schors. It was produced in 1953 and during the next 15 years it served as a freight train. Not a long time ago it was restored and its engine now runs on oil, not coal. The train has three modern carriages, equipped with comfortable chairs. The restaurant is situated in one of them.

The train cruises on a route of Kyiv city train and the trip lasts two hours. It departs from Kyiv passenger railway station, goes to Petrivka, then crosses Dnipro River by Petrivka bridge and heads to Darnytsia railway station. There the train turns around and crosses the river again by Darnytsia bridge. The locomotive is still capable of achieving 80 kph but its speed is limited at nearly 50 kph so that the passengers can enjoy the sights of Kyiv. During the voyage they can also listen to a story about history of Kyiv and Ukrainian railway.

Retro-train departs twice a day, at 11.32 and 14.31, tickets can be bought in ticket window 19 of Kyiv Suburban Train Station. The excursion costs 25 hryvnas. At the moment the trips are held everyday.

More accomodation opportunities in Kyiv after Euro 2012

While tourists continue to be interested in Kyiv after the championship, there are more hotels for them and a network of apartments at lower prices than for the event

Innovations in Infrastructure

Month before Euro, the quantity of hotels in Ukraine had been expected to be 20-40% higher than UEFA demands, according to the officials. Indeed, the Main Department of Preparation to Euro reports that 30 new hotels were opened and 2000 work places appeared in June-July. The conditions and safety guarantees offered by them are anyway much better than those in most apartments for rent. At the same time, as one financial analyst has remarked to, the prices for apartments for tourists usually mirror the increase in hotel prices, so the hotels could be a better choice.


Rent for English-speaking tourists, especially with additional service, is a business separate from long-term rent for locals. That is why this market is not touched by the annual increase in prices in August, as well as from the 2% increase that has been reported recently. Though tendencies in rent for foreigners are not stable enough for predictions, there is a hope among experts (from the administration and SV Development group) that the prices for apartments will gradually decrease in the following months.

Connecting People

As Ihor Pylypchuk, the founder of Euro initiative Rooms4free, has reported to, the exchange between former Euro visitors and Ukrainians is going on without mediators, and around 30 families have welcomed various acquaintances of Euro guests in turn for an opportunity to stay in their places in Europe. Europeans discover the hospitality and benefits of Kyiv, and the prospects of tourism in the city seem to promise them more than before.

Trick and Treat: Kyiv and the World Concept Restaurants

Concept, or themed, restaurants, where You can enjoy not only eating but also some unique atmosphere, are usually associated with Lviv, not Kyiv. In truth, the capital has a number of places for eating out of such character, but, as the city itself, they convey a different mood from Lviv. If Kyiv’s concept restaurants were on the menu, they would not be piquant, but certainly the menu would have its peculiar zest.

What Is a Concept Restaurant

Entertaining (and not necessarily food) is the main aim of every concept restaurant. For this, local coloring, sense of humor, stereotypes, and epatage are used. “Make sure you have… an appetite to take on what’s never been done before. Make certain that you’re willing to be more creative and passionate than they are”, advices Stephen Schussler, the founder of the Rainforest Café network in America, one of the concept restaurant brands known all over the world. However, it is not easy to be unique: a seemingly unique atmosphere in one country may be considered boring in another. Some concepts are widespread due to their simplicity and effectiveness: for example, the restaurants where You can eat in the dark or those with hospital setting may be found in almost every touristic city more or less interested in ‘wow-effects’. Being commonplaces does not prevent them from popularity. Kyiv also has such places, namely, the newly opened “Dark Side” and “Palata №6” (Ward 6th).

Bright, stereotypic décor, in other words, kitsch, is a typical feature of concept cafes. “Masoch” restaurant in Lviv constantly attracts the attention of the press for its erotic interior, while “The House of Legends” (also the property of “!FEST” holding) recreates the spirit of old legendary Lviv, starting from sewerage and ending with gifts. Kitsch has been characteristical for concept restaurants from the very beginning: it was a core concept of Disneyland cafes, tiki (jungle, island) interiors and the restaurants with American “wild West” saloon themes. There is also a restaurant in Tokyo where the waitresses wear manga and anime clothing or are dressed up as computer games characters. Catchy kitsch interior is inspirational in Kyiv café “Pobieda” (Victory) that recreates the mood of the USSR. There, waiters’ uniform resembles good old canteens of the Soviet Union, the menu is full of handmade dumplings and original kissel (dessert of farina, fruit, and sugar), and tables covered with cute Soviet prints like calendars stand near bookshelves of real Soviet editions.

Concept restaurants are sometimes brave enough to give their visitors a bit of confusion. Dick’s Last Resort in the US likes to poke at its clients: the visitors of the place are given huge paper caps with funny names they used to be called in childhood, and the waiters are told to make fun of the customers. One of the restaurant’s slogans is “The Joint Yer Mama Warned You about”. Vampire restaurants (in London, Bucharest, and Tokyo) scare their visitors with specific dishes and bloody decorative elements; additionally, in Romania, an actor performs as Dracula from time to time, and in Japan, waiters are told to appear unexpectedly near the table to terrify like “real” vampires. An English-speaking reporter LaCarmina who has recently come up with the book about 30 freak restaurants in Tokyo says that vampire cafes are surprisingly popular among the elderly. As for Ukraine, Lviv’s entertainment industry keeps up with world conceptual provocations: You will not do without haggling in the Jewish restaurant “Pid Zolotoyu Rozoyu” (Under Golden Rose), while the passage to Ukrainian rebel café “Kryivka” is impossible without a nationalistic password. This shock effect is something that Kyiv catering industry really lacks: here, the etiquette is oriented towards peaceful satisfaction of all customers, and this is impossible when some scandal intervenes.

Epic Fail Restaurants

Sometimes extraordinary ideas just do not work. It may seem strange that “Kryivka” in Lviv, toilet café in Taiwan (all décor of which is connected with toilet theme), and the military restaurant “Buns and Guns” in Beirut, Lebanon, are flourishing, while the notorious café “Eternity” in Truskavets (Ukraine) was closed with a scandal and sold out to some interested investors abroad. Outside, “Eternity” looked pretty much like a giant coffin; its insides clearly showed that the founders were more concerned with funerals than they were with catering: dark windowless walls with black plastic bags all over them and ugly-looking plastic funeral bouquets of toxic colors were provocative enough but deprived of the slightest care for customers’ feelings. However, the café made sensation and quickly found its way to the charts like “10 Strangest Restaurants of the World”.

Such charts are not always trustworthy. For instance, almost all of them have a mysterious Japanese Cannibalistic Restaurant that is said to serve an edible model of woman’s dead body covered with dough and containing red sauce that looks like blood. The fake article is probably the result of nyotamori practice of serving rolls on a naked body of a real living woman (male “plates” may also be ordered) that goes on, though very rarely, in some of the restaurants in Japan, provoking feminist protests and orientalistic articles in Western yellow press. Still, there is no cannibalistic restaurant in Tokyo, locals say.

Conceptual Fun in Kyiv

Kyiv won’t offer You such shock or laugh as Lviv or Tokyo would, but there are other attractive opportunities here:

  • eat in the dark, where Your meal becomes a surprise – this is the offer from “Dark Side” restaurant on Podil (14A Ihorivs’ka Str.,;
  •  come “back in the USSR” – there are already 9 “Pobieda” canteens in Kyiv (;
  • drink vodka from beakers and wash Your hands in urologist’s cabinet – welcome to a quiet absinthe-bar “Palata №6» on 31A Vorovs’koho Str. (;
  • pay for time of stay only and enjoy free drinks, Wi-Fi, interesting conversations, and occasional theme parties in “Tsyferblat” on 49A Volodymyrs’ka Str. (;
  • have a cup of tea in the company of newest colorful books and listen to some jazz, come to the library café “Babuin” (10 Kominternu/ Petliury Str.) ( The previous location of “Babuin” was more atmospheric and cosy, but now the café is located in two steps from the central railway station;
  • enjoy a view of old Kyiv roofs on a white cosmic attic in the «SkyArtCafe» in PinchukArtCentre (;
  • taste organic traditional cooking of Kyiv Rus’ (reportedly) in the room with ethnic Slavic décor (in addition, they make traditional parties and handmade sessions) in “Kult Ra”, the “Rus’” club on 4 Volodymyrska Str. (;
  • drink Lviv coffee and taste Lviv handmade chocolate in the local branches of Lviv cafes on Andriivsky Uzviz ( , and on 16 Instytuts’ka Str. (

Kyiv has its own secret places and urban legends, so there is a chance that new concept restaurants, maybe more challenging, will continue to appear.

End of the World 2012 has finished in Kyiv

After the end of the world, there was the first contemporary art biennale in Kyiv (24.05.2012 – 31.07.2012). In turn, it ended and has left the impressions no less than Euro 2012.

The apocalyptism of the event is related to its name and main theme: 'The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art'. So, how has the world ended on ARSENALE and did it end at all?

The world?

The event was of really large scale, as it has influenced virtually all Kyiv contemporary art sphere. Visitors of the biennale could see installations not only in ‘Mystetsky Arsenal’, the unique exhibition platform, and this year by such art stars as Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Phyllida Barlow, and Ai Weiwei. They could have seen the city’s botanical garden temporal reincarnation into the local Park Güell as a result of collaboration between Kyiv Sculpture Project and Yorkshire Park (02.06.12 – 02.07.12). The National Art Museum, Modern Art Research Institute and over 30 other locations in Kyiv and other cities worked in collaboration with the team of biennale. Zygmunt Bauman, a prominent social studies scholar, has given a lecture and took part in the discussion of the world doomed to end this summer.

The end?

A postmodern trend, apocalypse comes here and there all over Ukraine (not mentioning numerous examples from the world art scene). ISOLATION art residence in Donetsk (12.07-25.08) with its redesigning of urban space and the festival CATASTROPHE in Odesa (24.08 – 05.09) with a couple of really post-apocalyptic art works add to the fiddling while Rome burns. Ironically, the first time Kyiv appeared in a computer game (titled ‘Collapse: the Rage’, 2008), the cityscape was in debris, totally destroyed by game artists. After all, every victim of the catastrophe wonders: ‘Why now?’ and ‘Why here?’. Natalia Zabolotna, the commissioner of the biennale, has her answer: after 20 years of independence, Ukraine has its own generation of artists and will to participate in world art process. Together with Europe’s attention to the country related to EURO 2012, it was a good rise from ruins for active contemporary art movement in Ukraine.

The world ended, what’s next?

The team promises next biennale in September, 2014. Meanwhile, those who are interested in contemporary art are looking in the distorted mirrors by Anish Kapoor, considered one of the best modern sculpturers, in PinchukArtCentre (the exhibition ends 30.09). Kyiv is also waiting for ArtKyivContemporary, the largest Ukrainian contemporary art fair (01.11.12 – 11.11.12).