“Sofiyivka” is one of the most beautiful parks in Europe. It was originally built by the leading architects and park engineers of Western Europe for one of the richest man of Poland Count Pototsky or, rather, for his Greek wife Sophia. Count decided to recreate a corner of Hellas and to present it to his beloved wife, so that it would remind her of the mountains and woods, clear brooks and transparent lakes of her native land.
Documents have retained for us the name of an engineer whom Potocki commissioned to create a park. It was Ludwig Metzel, formed Polish military engineer. The inauguration ceremony took place in May 1802. Finishing touches were carried out later, of course, and even after the Count’s dearth. Only six years, fantastically short period of time, was needed to get green and marble wonder appeared in the outskirts of Uman. Later the Park had new owners, the Royal family of Russia.
The park has happily survived the ravages of wars, revolutions and neglect. The state dendrological preserve “Sofiyivka” is spread over the territory of more than a hundred and fifty hectares on the outskirts of the Uman city.
The visitors are fascinated by the park wonderful landscapes, numerous sprinkling fountains, artificial grottoes, exquisite antique sculptures, and pavilion’s design. Visitors can see there chaotic heaps of rocks over the Kamyanka, the so-called Leucadian rock – a terrace from which a beautiful vista of the Sofiyivka opens, the romantic Island of Anti-Circe, the Diana-Grotto, the Snake Fountain, the pensive calm of the Elysian Fields, the Tantal Grotto with a boulder handing threateningly over it, and many other man-made wonders.
A special place in the Sofiyvka belongs to the Styx River and Dead Lake. A boat, departing from the Dead lake, takes you quietly into an underground river. This river, a man-made canal going through the stone thickness, is unusual, because there is no artificial illumination there and its name itself tunes a man to philosophic meditations and reminds of the transience of life. The underground Styx runs for 224 metres. Visitors come unexpectedly across white-marble statues of ancient gods and heroes or real historical personages. They blend with the surroundings so harmoniously that it seems that Venus, Apollo, Mercury, Euripides, all of them are inhabitants of that fairytale park. The constructors created a sophisticated hydro technical system, supplying water to the Upper and Lower park ponds, to all its sites and areas. Pensive maples and lindens, chestnuts and poplars, ashes and oaks, pines and fir-trees create the enchanting landscape of the park. The fine taste of the gardeners from many generations has enriched virgin nature and provided for the beauty of this green miracle.
Dendrological Park Sofiyivka of the Ukraine’s NASKyivska str. 12-а, 20300 Uman Cherkassy region, Ukraine tel. (04744) 3-63-19, 3-61-11
Main Entrance of the ParkSadova str, 53 20300 Uman, Cherkassy region, Ukraine
Hotel: tel. 3-35-27
Restaurant: tel. 3-43-66
The city of Uman is situated on the road E95 between the capital of Ukraine Kyiv (200km) and Odessa, the port on Black Sea (270km).