Karaim kenasa – is well known building built in Mauritian Arabic style. It was built about a century ago. The owners of it were Karaims of Kiev, Judaic religious community. Their distinctive feature is that the main religious book for them is not the Talmud but is the Old Testament. In 1896 this community in Kiev consisted of 800 people.
The author of the project of Karaim Kenasa became a famous architect Gorodetskiy an author of many well known buildings in Kiev. Solomon Kogen, also well-known as a tobacco magnate, who was a head of a community became customer and investor of the project. With a purpose to build the Kenasa he bought the place in Yaroslavov Val street where the construction was organized. An area with a dwelling house (which was planed to use for rent to get a profit for Karaim community) with the cost of 35 thousands rubbles to magnate.
The construction took a couple years and suspended in 1900, with the Solomon Kogen’s death. His problems with a health have been started yet in 1897, when he was stricken with paralysis. But even this did not prevent him from continuing to lead the project until his death. Then finally the project was restarted. Even after death Solomon continued to help – in his will he provided the money amount to continue the construction. And two years later in 1902 the construction has been completed under the guidance if Solomon’s brother Moses and Kenasa started to function. To investors the coast was 200 thousands rubbles.
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The building has turned unique. The walls were decorated with an imitation of stone carving but also a stucco as arabesques made of rear material in these times – the cement. An Italian sculptor Elio Solya worked on that. The while building turned gloomy but at the same time luxurious and solemn with elements of Moorish and Arabic styles. Except of Vladislav Gorodetskiy and Elio Solya also in the project was participating an engineer Anton Straus. He was well-known as developer of a new method of concrete piles. Kenasa was electrified, and of course that was uncommon thing for the end of 19th century.
On January, 27,1902 the Karaim kenasa was ceremoniously sanctified by Samuel Pampulov, heham Taurian and of the Odessa. This ceremony attended most important people of the city: Head of the city, rector of the University, a Principle and many others. Undoubtedly this building already was an outstanding architectural monument and had a great meaning to Kiev.
An interesting fact: almost the same construction -Tyszkievicz is situated at the Baikove cemetery. There are no formal evidences which would confirm that he is an author of this construction, but the architecture speaks for itself.
Yaroslavov Val, 7