The National Dendrological Park Sofiyivka is a research institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, established and operating with the aim of conducting scientific research aimed at obtaining and using new knowledge in the environmental fields of science, bringing scientific and technical knowledge to the stage of practical use, training highly qualified scientific personnel, meeting social, economic and cultural needs and innovative development of Ukraine.
Some highlights about the Sofievka Park, in Uman (Ukraine)
Kyivska St., 12a, Uman
Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine, 20301
Coordinates: 48.763722, 30.236467
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The park is open daily from 9.00 to 21.00 (entrance until 19.00)
Entrance ticket for adults: 70 UAH, for school children: 40 UAH.
Tour for adults: 65 UAH, for school children: 40 UAH.
Tour in a foreign language for adults: 95 UAH, for children: 65 UAH.
Phone: +38 04744 4 07 39
Distance from the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv: 202 km.
Distance from the capital town of the region, Cherkasy: 184 km.
The city of Uman, where the park is situated, is located at the intersection of two European routes: E50 Brest (France) – Makhachkala (Russia) and Е95 Saint Petersburg (Russia) – Merzifon (Turkey), that is, the location of the park is quite convenient when traveling both by car and by bus.
The park is located directly on the territory of the city of Uman and is accessible both with and without a car or public transport.
The National Dendrological Park "Sofiyivka" of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is an outstanding example of landscape style in garden art and landscape design. This style, which originated in Western Europe in the 18th century, was embodied on the territory of modern Ukraine due to the exchange of ideas and trends in landscape art between Central, Western and Eastern Europe using the cultural traditions of antiquity.
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, under the influence of the works of philosophers, poets and artists, preferences in the art of gardens also changed. Built on the principle of a naturalistic motif, “Sofiyivka” has both a landscape part, designed according to the rules of an English park, and a regular, representing the front entrance area during the initial periods of development of “Sofiyivka” (1796–1836): the Parterre Amphitheater with a summer palace. It was from the summer palace that the principal axis to the Lower Pond and the central part of the park was overlooking.
In the middle of the 19th century, which is considered the time of the decline of the philosophy of the European garden tradition, there was a period of development of “Sofiyivka”, when the park was subordinate to the Department of Military Settlements (1836–1858). This stage is characterized by the influence of Russian architecture of the Classicism period of the first half of the 19th century and eclectic tendencies containing elements of different architectural styles. The modern parts of the park were created in accordance with the requirements of the Florence Charter in order to preserve the historical part of the park.
Throughout its history, “Sofiyivka” has been affected by both social and natural disasters, but the historical core of the park has been preserved: its architectural and planning basis, megalithic structures and hydraulic system. Having absorbed the influences of different styles of the European classical tradition of park building, "Sofiyivka" united them in an inimitable ensemble, while retaining its internal dramaturgy - the embodiment of images and ideas of ancient mythology.
The historical part of the “Sofiyivka” Park starts from the Main Entrance on Sadova Street. Two towers located at the entrance to the park were designed in the antique style and built in 1850-1852.
To the right of the Main Alley, the Tarpeian Rock was built, on which a wooden pergola is located. On the left on the Main Alley, the source “Silver Springs” was built in 1974.
The alley brings visitors to Flora Pavilion built in 1842-1845. Between the white columns in the Doric style, a panorama of the Lower Pond opens up. To the right of Flora Pavilion the Venetian bridge is situated. In the middle of the Lower Pond, there is the “Snake” fountain – a bronze sculpture of a snake wriggling on a stone. A column of water shoots out of its open mouth. On the slope of the western bank of the pond a natural oak forest called Dubinka is sited. In this part of the park the Chinese pergola was built, it was made entirely of wood. On the Upper Alley there is a statue of Hermes.
At the end of the Lower Alley is a statue of Euripides. At the foot of the man-made hill - the Terrace of Muses, there is the Hypocrene source: from a granite pedestal on which a statue of the bathing Venus is installed, spring water runs, filling a bronze half-cup, decorated with a decorative image of grass-snakes.
A metal bridge leads across the Lower Pond to the Assembly Square, from which visitors can see the Valley of Giants and the Great Waterfall. In the center of the square there is a pool - the Temple of Poseidon. There is a statue of Paris near the pool.
To the left of the Assembly Square, the Grotto of Tantalus (the Grotto of Fear and Doubts) is sited. It presents a huge granite block weighing more than 300 tons, which is held only on three fulcra. A statue of Cupid can be seen above the Grotto of Tantalus.
Granite steps go up from the Assembly Square. Immediately to the left the Grotto of Scylla (the Western Grotto) is situated. Further, on the right, there is a platform carved into the rock on the edge of a steep cliff – the Belvedere. The platform is decorated with a statue of Orpheus. The site adjacent to the Belvedere is called the Ithaca Island (the Caucasian Hill). There is a statue of Odysseus here.
To the east of the statue of Cupid, granite steps down to two grottoes. Polyphemus’ Grotto (the Nut Grotto) finalizes the composition of the Valley of Giants: it seems that only a small stone supports a huge granite block. Down to the left is the Loketek grotto - a massive natural rock, in which a bench has been carved and a round table has been installed.
Further, the alley leads to the Tempe Valley. A granite obelisk, “The Broken Column” (the Column of Sorrow), was installed in the valley. The Kamianka river is divided here into three small waterfalls - "The Three Tears", personifying the mother's sadness for three deceased children. On the right, there is a bust of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.
The next part of the park is called the Elysian Fields. At the entrance to the Elysian Fields there is a granite block of natural form, and next to it is a hewn tetrahedral granite column: they form the composition "Nature and Art". On the left, in a green meadow, a granite vase stands on a pedestal; on the right is a site of stones of various sizes, covered with moss, between which paths run without a certain direction - the Cretan labyrinth.
To the east of the Elysian Fields, the visitors can see a grotto carved into the natural rock - Calypso Grotto (Lion or Thunder Grotto). Further along the alley is the Grotto of Thetis (the Grotto of Venus), similar to the ancient temple, the inside of which is decorated with a sculpture of Medici Venus. To the right of the grotto of Thetis, a statue of Apollo of Florence (the Apollino) stands; to the left is a round wooden pavilion incrusted with oak bark called the Pheasant Cage.
In the north-eastern part of the park, there is the Upper Pond with an artificially created Anti-Circe Island (the Island of Love, Circe Island). The architectural dominant of the island is the Pink Pavilion in the style of the Renaissance. To pass the boats from the Upper Pond to the underground river Acheron and back, the Amsterdam Lock was constructed. The underground river Acheron, 223 m long, was built during the first period of the park's creation.
The English Park (V. V. Pashkevich Arboretum) is an arboretum, where a collection of trees and shrubs, valuable in decorative and forestry terms, is presented. Next to the English park to the west is the Parterre Amphitheater. In the upper part of the Parterre Amphitheater there are greenhouses and study rooms of the Uman National University of Horticulture. The area of the park in front of the greenhouses is designed in the regular formal style. In the lower part, there is the "Seven-Jet" Fountain.
The western part of the park was opened to visitors in 1996. Administrative-laboratory and ancillary buildings are situated there, a rosarium has been created. Visitors can get acquainted with rare plants and admire landscape compositions.
In 2019, “Nova Sofiyivka” Fantasy Park was opened in the valley of the Kamianka river to the south of the Main Entrance. The expositions allocated on its territory are: the Regular Garden, the Fairytale Garden, the Topiary Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Ukrainian Homestead, etc. Downstream of the Kamianka, there is the “DinoSofia” exposition - the largest dinosaur park in Ukraine both in terms of area (4 ha) and the number of exhibits (more than 80 showpieces).
The museum of “Sofiyivka” is located on the second floor of the laboratory-administrative building. In the hall of about 150 m2, mostly documents related to the history and development of the park are presented. The exposition of the museum is used to train guides and hold conference events. The museum is not intended for tourist visits.
The Museum of Marble Sculpture is located in the winter garden of the House of Scientists’ Creative Work (the hotel at the entrance to the park from Sadova St.). The Museum exhibits marble statues of Euripides, Orpheus, Paris and Odysseus, busts of Plato, Socrates, Alexander the Great.
Marble sculptures are placed in the Museum to protect them from adverse environmental conditions and vandalism (in the park, the marble images have been replaced with copies made of modern materials). A visit to the Museum of Marble Sculpture is not included in the excursion route, but can be carried out at the request of visitors to the park.
The National Dendrological Park "Sofiyivka" of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was included to the Tentative Lists 20.06.2000 (Ref.: 674)
“Sofiyivka” park with a complex of park facilities was taken into State registration by the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR dated August 24, 1963 No. 970 "On streamlining the accounting and protection of architectural monuments on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR"; the park was granted the status of an Architectural Monument of National Importance, under protecting number No. 722.
The park is included in the State Register of National and Cultural Heritage as a Museum of nature and landscape gardening art (approved by the decision of the Collegium of the State Committee of City Construction of Ukraine of 23.12.93 N 12 based on the Resolution of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 12.08.92 N 466).
The National Dendrological Park "Sofiyivka" of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is also protected as an object of the Nature Reserve Fund of Ukraine in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On Nature Reserve Fund of Ukraine" (No. 3530-VI (3530-17) dated 16.06.2011), since it has the status of a Dendrological park of national importance.
The plant collections of the National Dendrological Park "Sofiyivka” were added to the State Register of Scientific Objects That Are National Heritage by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 73 dated February 11, 2004.
At the national level, there are a number of laws of Ukraine, within which the park is protected. In particular, these are the Laws of Ukraine "On the Protection of Cultural Heritage", "On the Protection of Archaeological Heritage", "On Culture", "On Museums and Museum Business". The basic legislative act regulating legal, organizational, social and economic relations in the field of cultural heritage protection in order to preserve, use, protect the traditional character of the environment is the Law of Ukraine "On Protection of Cultural Heritage". This Law defines the bodies responsible for the management of cultural heritage sites, as well as defines the basic requirements for the maintenance, use and protection of heritage sites, the participation of enterprises, public organizations, citizens in their protection.
In addition, the protection status of the park is ensured by international legal acts ratified by Ukraine.