There’s probably only one Museum of Corruption in the world. You will find it in the little village near Kiev called Mezhyhirya. This residence is full of unbelievable wealth and used to be a home of former President of Ukraine – Victor Yanukovych. During his reigning the area was strictly hidden from public and Ukrainians didn’t know how luxury lifestyle was performed by their president for public money and huge kickbacks. After the revolution in 2014 and Yanukovych’s escape from the country, this place became the exceptional museum. If you want to see hundreds of million dollars in one place, don’t miss our article!
How To Get To Mezhyhirya
There’s two ways to visit Yanukovych’s Villa – independent and organized:
1. Independent (Recommended) – Take the metro to the last station of M2 line – Heroiv Dnipra. Next to the station you will find marshrutkas and private cars that will get you to the villa. They depart frequently and cost 50 UAH / OW. The ride takes about 20 minutes. On the way back you shouldn’t have problems to find available options to the city for similar prices at the car park in front of the residence’s gate. In our case the driver of an organized tour had a few free seats in his minibus and agreed to take us for just 25 UAH/person to the center of Kiev!
2. Organized (Not recommended) – You can find an organized tour by the minibus from the center of Kiev – Khreshchatyk Street next to Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square. It will take you to Mezhyhirya, wait 90 minutes for you while you’re visiting the area on your own and then take you back to the center. It departs frequently and the driver waits till most of the seats will be taken. The whole tour costs 150 UAH and includes the entrance ticket that normally cost 50 UAH when you arrive there independently. It may look like an interesting option however we strongly disadvise taking an organized tour as it’s definitely too short time to visit even a small part of the residence. With such amount of time you won’t be able to see many interesting spots of this huge area and can forget about visiting the main buildings inside.
How To Get Around Mezhyhirya
On foot you will be able to see only limited part of the area. Believe us, it’s too tiring and time-consuming to hit the whole area on foot. To improve your visiting there it’s worth to take a golf cart with the guide for 100 UAH/person. Guides speak only Russian/Ukrainian.
How much does it cost?
Entrance fee: 50 UAH
*it may vary and depends on a day of the week
*discounts for kids applied
*prices are often changed
Tour through the main buildings inside (Villa and Wellness Center): 200 UAH
Museum of Cars: 30 UAH
How To Visit The Villa
Every day and every two hours from 10am to 6pm you can visit two main buildings of the residence: Villa of Yanukovych and his private wellness center called FOK. The only way to see it from inside is to attend the tour with Ukrainian-speaking guide, who used to work there during Yanukovych’s presidency and will explain you how the live in Mezhyhirya looked like. To join the group just wait in front of the door to FOK wellness center where the tour starts. It’s very easy to find as you will quickly recognize the entrance by the puppet of Yanukovych and a gold-plated loaf of bread that are seen through the window. The tour takes about 90 minutes, costs 200 UAH/person and need to be paid to the guide at the beginning of the tour. No advance reservation needed. Btw, there’s a phone number to organizators at the front door of FOK, but nobody answers, so don’t waist your money to call them. You won’t get any official info about this tour and all this visiting seems to be a little bit informal, so stick to tips from our blog.
When the guide opens the door to FOK and invites you to the complex, you will see the first room of the wellness center – bowling alleys. Nextly you will visit the indoor tennis court and patio with stuffed lion. When wandering through the halls of FOK you will notice quite impressive gallery of paintings, even a few portraits of Yanukovych.
Also there’s a gym with boxing ring. All the machines seemed to be unused what means that the President didn’t work out very often. Btw, the guide admitted that Yanukovych didn’t take care over sport and ordered to build all these facilities just to show off in front of his guests. Nearby you will see a private surgery and cryotherapy equipment. However one of the most interesting parts of FOK were rooms where he was visiting to have some relax. It was nicely-designed salt-cave and massage room, where two Thai girls were permanently employed.
That’s how FOK looks like. To get from there to the Villa you don’t have to go outdoors. There’s a long underground tunnel that links those places. Yanukovych didn’t want to walk that distance, so the tunnel was made to be convenient for golf carts as well. The Villa is also commonly called Honka after the Finnish company.
When you reach the Villa your guide will explain you how the closed circuit system installed in the building works. It was made to secure the President from the potential poisonous-air attack from outside.
Then you will see many lounges and dining rooms with vintage, wooden chairs and tables. One of the rooms was destined only for drinking tea.
After that you can check out the a private presidential cinema and lie back on comfy armchairs.
However the most impressive showpiece of the villa is an enormous chandelier hanging above the long, spiral stairs similar to those in Titanic. This is the biggest chandelier among many others in the residence and according to documents found in Honka after Yanukovych’s escape all of them are worth in total about 50 million dollars.
The villa has a couple of tiers, so you need to use elevators to move between floors. In a higher part of the building you’ll find bedrooms of the President and his daughter. But more interesting than bedrooms and definitely their bathrooms because plenty of its facilities are made of… GOLD !!! Showers, taps, handles or even toilet brushes are made of solid gold. It’s surreal but unfortunately true. It’s probably the most shocking proof of unbelievably high corruptness performed by Ukrainian authorities…
On higher floors there are also spacious balconies with a wonderful view over gardens and Dnieper.
Moreover you can visit a presidential office and seat on his chair. Exactly from this place Yanukovych was giving orders to the special police forces how they should act during the Ukrainian revolution. In result, they are responsible for killing hundreds of protesters.
One of the last places in the villa that you’ll see is the huge living room with a billiard table, the piano, sofas and TV sets. Also you will hear the melody from an unique music box, which was produced on order for Yanukovych in Switzerland for a few hundred thousand USD.
The area of the residence
As we mentioned before the residence contains the huge lands. While exploring the area you will find many interesting spots along the way. One of them is a small private zoo. Apart from the obvious reasons of having such a thing, it had also one more practical side – Yanukovych was rearing animals get meat from a reliable source. He was scared of potential poisoning, which might be arranged by his opponents and eating only own animals allowed him to minimize the risk.
Across the lands President built a golf course and a big garage for his cars. Now the garage is run as a museum of his cars and the entrance is charged extra 30 UAH. However you will find only a piece of his collection there (mainly classic models and helicopters) as Yanukovych took the best cars out when he was leaving Mezhyhirya.
By the bank of Dnieper you’ll find a monumental ship (galleon) which was restyled to be a restaurant where Yanukovych was organizing parties for his friends.
What’s interesting there is also a guest house which was entirely intended for the President of Russia – Vladimir Putin. However he has never stayed in this house. Putin visited Mezhyhirya only once and just for a couple of hours.
To sum up, a full day trip to Mezhyhirya is a great and inexpensive way to spend a nice time during your visit in Kiev. Don’t miss that opportunity as this place is one of a kind and nobody knows how long the Villa will be open to public. There are rumors that it may be sell in the future. So, start planning your trip to Ukraine and see with your own eyes how unimaginable fortune leaders can achieve at the cost of average citizens.
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