Heavenly Hundred Garden

Our experience of creating the CELESTIAL HUNDRED GARDEN

The main project that has already been accomplished by the NGO Garden City was the transformation of the wasteland into a mini-park. In the very heart of Kyiv, between Mykhailivska Square and Maidan, the CELESTIAL HUNDRED GARDEN was created by volunteers. The project does not have a sponsor, it is being carried out entirely with kind donations of the citizens.

History

During18-20th of February 2014, Maidan activists removed the iron fence that for years had been enclosing the dump-site on the patch of a land, which was illegally sold whenLeonid Chernovetskii was serving as a mayor of Kyiv.

The sections of the fence went down in history as shields for people in the barricades.

Starting in March, 2014, tons of garbage have been removed from the Garden by volunteers, who launched a legal process to return right of ownership for that patch of land to the city; eradicated self-seeding plants, leveled ground, delivered soil; set up walkways, planted trees, lawn; vegetable garden,and a unique playground for children was created by contemporary Ukrainian artists.

Trees for the Garden were sent as gifts from all over Ukraine and have been planted by Kyiv residents and members of the Celestial Hundred Heroes families.

First communal vegetable garden

Communal Vegetable Gardens in the city centre, in other contries , are a common therapeutic practice for, children, which teaches them how to be responsible and take care about nature. Communal Vegetable Garden planted in THE CELESTIAL HUNDRED GARDEN, in the very heart of the capital, was the first one planted in Ukraine.

Communal Vegetable Garden is a “green project” in the capital’s centre, which became the first fruit of the innovative open city space initiative. In 2014 we celebrated the “Planting Day” and the “Crop Harvesting Day” in the Garden. In our Garden children were engaged in planting cabbage and celery, watering them and harvesting salad greens. These activities thrilled urban kids a lot, as well as their parents.

Ground for children

Exclusively for our Garden, a unique playground was created by contemporary Ukrainian painters Anna Sorokova and Taras Kovach.

It consists of a classic slide and a swing, as well as what every child dreams of, a house and a car with a real steering wheel. The playground was completely made of natural materials after a thorough analysis of children’s dreams and wishes. There is also a room for a cat and a shed where toys are kept.

Here, little guests are eagerly building, playing games like “family”, “hut”, “drivers and passengers” and cleaning the house.

Legal issues

Since 2007 a patch of land where the Celestial Hundred Garden is located, had been enclosed by an iron fence (removed by the Maidan activists in February 2014 for construction of barricades) and served as a dump site and a shelter for stray dogs and homeless people in the city centre.

Residents of the neighbouring houses continuously addressed the authorities with request to identify the owner of that patch of land and to hold this owner accountable for creating the environmental hazard in the area, but all those pleas fell on deaf ears of the representatives of the Kyiv City State Administration.

The officials were deliberately misinforming the residents that the abovementioned patch of land had only been rented out to UKRinvestresource LLC for 10 years in 2007. However, as it came to light later, that patch of land was actually sold to UKRinvestresource LLC, with further acquisition of the ownership by M-Plaza LLC and later on – by GREEN-PLAZA LLC.

When the official data was received, community members found out that the City Council of Kyiv (illegally, without public hearings being held) adopted a decree 124/785 dated 08.02.2007 whereby a particularly valuable green zone within the existing St. Sophia Cathedral Park was given for a long-term lease; later the City Council of Kyiv adopted a decree 481/1142 dated 26.04.2007 whereby this patch of land was sold to UKRinvestresource LLC.

On the 23rd of September 2015, the Supreme Court of Ukraine reversed the judgments by court a quo sanctioning construction on the patch of land where the Garden is now situated (since February, 18, 2014).

The case was sent back to the court a quo (Commercial Court of Kyiv).

This was the first triumph in court since 2007 when the team of ex-mayor of Kyiv Leonid Chernovetskii illegally sold out the historical centre of the capital for extensive construction. Since that time the Prosecutor’s Office had continuously been having litigations with the City Council of Kyiv, always losing lawsuits.

Last September judgment is unique and it confirms that the judicial system may be just and the changes are possible and may never be hindered, as long as you become the change yourself.

Documents

Reference data

Response to request

Bas-relief dedicated to Serhii Nigiian by Alejandre Fartu aka Vhils

A worldwide renown Portuguese artist Alejandre Farto created a 100 metre portrait of Serhii Nigoian in the Celestial Hundred Garden and dedicated it to all Maidan heroes. Serhii Nigoian’s portrait was carved with artist’s unique technique on a big wall of a brick house, which overlooks on Mykhailivska Square. Serhii Nigoian was the first hero of the Celestial Hundred who died during Hrushevskoho Street Riots on January 22, 2014.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko attended the inauguration of the bas-relief.

A garden where dump-site used to be, step by step

  1. You found a dump-site that could be transformed into a beautiful public space? Find at least one person who would be highly motivated and would devote his/her time and put one’s heart into the project :)
  2. Form a citizens’ action group (team). Document all stages of its work (establishment, meetings, decisions adopted)
  3. Find out about the legal status of the patch of land and start working on legal issues if there are any. Your project has to be accomplished in a lawful manner.
  4. Develop a vision, work out a concept of your project and its goal. You should decide what you want to see in your public space and what is not acceptable.
  5. Work on creating an active local community: organize meetings, discussions, volunteer clean-ups, festivals.
  6. Establish contact with local authorities.
  7. Work out a plan, set the deadlines and designate roles and responsibilities.
  8. Invite architects, landscape designers, artists and jointly with local community model a public space you want to see.
  9. Work out appropriate fundraising methods to accomplish a project. It may be state funding, sponsors, community fundraising, crowdfunding.
  10. Your project should be public: work with the media.
  11. Keep progressing according to your finances, concept and action plan and never lose hope.

Events

Volunteer clean-ups, festivals for children and adults (the “Planting Day” and the “Crop Harvesting Day”, “Christmas Fairytale in the Garden”), meetings and discussions, art projects (“Never Again”, “Colour Therapy”) take place in our Garden on a regular basis.

Learn more about upcoming events