Day trip to Mezhyhirya (Mezhygorie) Residence From Kiev
Kiev makes for a great base from which to explore the northern side of Ukraine and one of the fascinating day trips is to the Mezhyhirya Residence, which is notorious for modern political exuberance and extravagance. This sumptuous house and extensive grounds (including a Zoo!) was the former private residence of the 4th President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, and required a staffing level of 2,000 people and daily maintenance costs of $75,000!
This unbelievable waste and political corruption ended in 2014 when Yanukovych was forced to resign during the Revolution of Dignity. Today the Mezhyhirya Residence is a modern day palace, and for visitors it is an interesting alternative day trip for longer holidays based in Kiev. Mezhygorie is the Russian pronunciation while Mezhyhirya is the Ukrainian spelling. This guide will detail how to travel to the Mezhyhirya Residence from Kiev and provide tourist information for a day trip.
Kiev to Mezhygorie by bus and Marshrutkas
Mezhygorie is located in the village of Novyie Petrovtsy, about 30km to the north of central Kiev. It has become a very popular tourist destination since the hasty retreat of its former owner, V.Yanukovych in February 2014. Mezhygorie is easily accessible by either conventional bus services or the “Marshrutkas”, a routed taxicabs or mini-vans. The advantage of the Marshrutkas is that they stop directly in front of the Mezhyhirya Residence, whereas a 30 minute walk is required from the bus terminus in Novyie Petrovtsy.
Both the bus services and Marshrutkas depart from the same area of Kiev close to the Geroyev Dnepra metro station on the Blue line. After leaving the metro station, you should turn to the left, the marshrutkas drivers wait on the street just north of the station and for the bus services continue further along the street. The two regular bus service to Mezhyhirya from Kiev are the N792 or the N902. Bus departures for the N792 are at 7:40, 9:00, 10:10, 11:20, 14:35, 15:50, 17:00 and 18:10, while the N902 departs at 7:00, 8:00, 9:30, 10:40, 13:30, 14:40, 16:00, 17:10, 18:25 and 19:30 (correct spring 2015).
If you miss a bus service catch a Marshrutkas, which tend to depart once they are full. The Marshrutkas fare is €2.00 and the bus fare is €0.20. The journey time is 20 minute by marshrutka and 30 minutes by the standard bus. Return services continue well past the closing time of the Mezhyhirya Residence.
Tourist Information about Mezhygorie
Mezhygorie is open for visitors from 9:00 to 19:00 (Mon-Fri) and from 9:00 to 20:00 (weekends). The entrance fee to the grounds is €2.00, and the main house (the Honka) is €8.00. There is limited food establishments near Mezhygorie with a couple of newly opened cafes but no restaurants.
Mezhygorie occupies an enormous area of about 140 hectares and the former residence of President V.Yanukovych has been transformed into the Museum of Corruption or the Museum of Kitsch. Mezhygorie represents a very beautiful park with well-groomed lawns, beds with wonderful exotic plants and flowers, amazing clear water ponds with decorative fountains and other water features. An enjoyable activity is to hire a bike to explore the grounds; the cost is €2.00 per hour (leaving passport/driving license and a €4 guarantee).
Found in the grounds close to the house are fine sculptures and numerous ponds, the extravagant waste was also extended to the ducks of the complex, they were provided with several specially designed duck houses! Other luxuries on the site include a professional golf course, a helicopter pad, its own petrol station and a laboratory to test the food for presence of harmful substances, toxins, radiation, etc, also all the roads were heated in winter. The zoo once housed numerous exotic animals but these animals have been transferred to state zoos. There is also a greenhouse with bananas, dates and other exotic plants not native to the Ukraine. In the days of V.Yanukovych this huge territory was served by about 2,000 persons and every day up keeping required approximately $75,000!
Mezhygorie Honka House
The main feature of Mezhygorie is a wooden palace, which is called the “Honka” (entrance fee €8.00) and in which V.Yanukovych lived for several years. The name of this house comes from the Finnish construction company “Honka” which constructed it within a year. The interior of the Honka was styled as an elegant English castle, with suits of armor lining the “Knightly Hall”.
There are many beautiful chandeliers some of them cost more than $10,000! There are the billiard room, the poker room, the swimming pool, the ring and even the personal church of V.Yanukovych. The interior is excessively decorated with all sorts of very expensive and mostly golden things and represents a real kitsch. Numerous valuables include pictures by famous painters; a great many 17th-century icons and ancient manuscripts and books were taken or simply stolen from various Ukrainian museums and Churches, have been returned back to the rightful location.
While at the Mezhyhirya Residence do not miss the former garage (€1.80 entrance fee) to view the extensive collection of classic cars which includes an ultra-rare Horch 855 Special Roadster, one of only seven made. In addition to automobiles there are many old and modern bikes, such as, BMW R69S (1965), Harley Davidson Road King Classic (2009) and Boss Hoss (2012).
There are many other interesting places at Mezhyhirya, for instance the canine center, as the former president was fond of Tibetan Mastiffs, reputedly there were 17 of them. Near the Honka there are a bowling alley, an indoor tennis court and an underground shooting range.