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England is known to have been a leader in landscape gardening at the end of the XVIIth century; a set of events, which were very close to sentimentalism appeared in literature. The period is often called pre-romanticism, as it goes back to the beginning of the XlXth century. The most positive in pre-romantic literature of the end of the XVIIIth century was the fact that attention was paid to folk art. Being unhappy with selfish and useless contemporary times, missing heroic and poetic past years, many writers of England took a great interest in folk songs and ballades (English, Scottish and Irish ones). The fact that valuable heritage disappeared so fast forced writers and scholars to write down songs and legends, that is, to do their best to save what had been left.

In the context of folk art traditions, James McPherson (1736-1796), a son of a Scottish peasant, a village teacher and a fan of folklore, published his "Ossian's works" and "Poems of Ossian, Fingal's son" in 1762-1765, both of them being a great success not only in England.

Ossian, a Scottish bard of the IIIrd century accompanied his father, the king of Morven, in his campaign against Ireland. After his father's death, he became a commander of the army. With times, having got old and blind, Ossian gave up state activities and began to write songs in honor of his son Oscar who was traitorously killed. His son's widow Malvina stayed with Ossian, she learned his poetry and shared it with others.

Ossian's epic story is constantly interrupted with lyrical digressions, melancholic appeals to the sun, the stars and the elements. The main episodes of the poem are of love character rather than a heroic one. The motive of family feud and the death of two loving people were widely used in Scottish folk poetry; it was very often used in this work as well. Ossian's characters were beautiful girls (Kolma, Daura and others) who left their parents to escape with their beloved ones; but having become victims of enmity, they died. Kolma cried over both her fiancŭ and brother who killed each other at a duel, and she died of grief; Daura died on the rock in the middle of the sea, while her brother, fiancŭ and father tried, though in vain, to save her.

Ossian's lyrical digressions are penetrated with gloomy hopelessness as well as some tragic episodes of his stories. Every poem has a tragic end for its hero, followed by a description of the hero's grave. One poem says, "Now your dwelling is small! The place of your eternal peace is dark! It takes me three steps to walk your grave around. And how majestic you were before! The only memory about you is four stones covered with moth. The tree with scarce leafage, high grass which makes noise being affected by wind, all this, similarly to a hunter's eyes, shows Morar's grave".

In spite of their darkness and sentimental pathetic, McPherson's poems played a very important role for the development of the world literature, they were reflected in landscape gardening art. Ossian, being a famous singer of Scottish folk epos, was called "northern Homer". Ossian's heroes inspired young Goethe; later Byron and Hugo.Yu.D.Levin's researches "Ossian in Russian literature" proved that Russia was also influenced by this European social-literary passion (Levin 1980). Ossian motives found their reflection in the works of Karamzin, Derzhavin, Zhukovskyi, Ozerov and Gnedych, Ryleev, Kuhelbeker, Pushkin and Lermontov. As Yu.D.Levin stated, they left their impact in Decembrists' poetry and favored the formation of Russian romanticism.

Taking into consideration that one of the leaders of Southern Decembrists' society, S.G.Volkonsky, lived in Uman, that several Decembrists, namely, P.I.Pestel, M.P.Bestuzhev-Riumin, V.Denysov, visited Uman, that O.S.Pushkin visited Uman on his way to Tulchyn in 1821, we can agree with D.S.Lykhachov's researches - Ossian's motives are reflected in "Sofiyivka", and first of all one can see it in the area from the Main Entrance to the Tarpeian Rock, which is know to have been built in 1838-1859.

On the hill to the left there is a natural grove, called Dubinka. Indeed, there once was an oak-tree forest, but only a 300-year-old oak-tree, situated in the glade near Chinese pergola, survived. And the trees, which create a picture of thick, natural, wild forest, were planted later; they are much younger. Some of them were planted during the first period of the creation of the park; others - later; there are many self-sown trees and bushes, which are cut down occasionally. Some 100-150 year ago exotic trees were planted there. It would be right to call this area Grekov forest due to the fact that once there was a forest, being famous from the times of Turkish invasion in 1674 (Witness' Chronicles. - K., 1971. - p.119) Probably, the gully which passes through the whole park along its right side has got the name Grekova (the name of the forest). The last remains of Grekov forest, which were saved near the upper part of Grekova gully, were cut down at the beginning of the XXth century.

Right near the entrance to the left, the road stretches for 1 km and leads to the attention, administrative zone. It was built in 1986 and rebuilt in 2002.

Picturesque hills planted with juniper, thuyas, fir-trees attract visitors' attention. As it has already been mentioned, there is a collector-reservoir for water from the source "Diana's Grotto", built in 1838. Nearby there is a map of "Sofiyivka", its author, the chief architect of the city P.Klymenko, marked major objects of the park and gave a brief historic reference.

Walking along the Main Alley which winds along the Kamianka river, we can admire picturesque landscapes, listen to birds' singing and gentle murmur of water, rustle of leaves over our heads, we are fascinated by unique beauty of nature and the creation of humans' hands. There are stone compositions ant grottos in the left bank. No legends, myths or even folk stories remained about them. This is the evidence that this part of the park, created during the 2nd period of the construction of the park, reflects Ossian's motives, which were so much in fashion both in art and among intelligent people of Russia.

Look at this group of granite slabs where cypress grows, does it not remind you of a symbolic grave made of four stones and belonged to one of the heroes of Morar's poem?

And there a large grotto, made of a pendent block of granite, can reflect Fingal's Cave. (Fingal's Cave is in Great Britain at the Coast of Staffa Island, Hebrides islands). It is 70 meters long and 30 meters high. The bottom is covered with water. The cave has many-sided basalt columns and unusual acoustics.

Further, along the Main Alley we can see a wooden pergola on a high rock cliff. Being of light construction, it seems to blend properly wit the surrounding landscape. It was first installed in 1839, later when it got older, it was taken away, an only in 1950 the pergola was restored.

The cliff is called Tarpeian Rock. The southern-eastern wall in Capitoline fortress of Ancient Rome had the same name; it still exists. The name was first mentioned in L.O.Kazarinov's essay. During Potocki's time this was the end of the park.

One of the legends of Ancient Rome tells that Romul (a legendary founder and the first king of Rome) wanted to strengthen friendly relations with neighboring tribes and his sons to get married to their girls. Sabinians did not trust Romans and did not want their girls to marry Roman men. Romul ordered to arrange celebrations and to invite their neighbors. During one of the celebration, Romul made a sign for his warriors and they caught the girls from Sabine tribe. Tit Taci, Sabine's King (a historic hero), declared the war. But the Capitoline fortress had strong high walls and was inaccessible, so Tit Taci had to make a deal with the first Capitol consul's daughter - Tarpeia. She had to open the gate of the fortress for the warriors to enter, they, in turn, would give her the gold they carried as bracelets on their left arms. When the warriors rushed into the fortress, Tit Taci, showing his contemptuous attitude to a betrayer, also threw his shield to her feet together with his bracelets. His warriors followed his example, and Tarpeia died under the weight of what had been thrown on her. The conflict was resolved peacefully: the siege of the fortress lasted for several months, during this time Sabine girls could see that they were loved and respected and not slaves at all; they let their hair down as a sigh of their sorrow and began to beg their fathers and brothers not to kill their husbands.

Tarpeia's body was thrown down from the wall, since that time the rock has been called Tarpeian. The customs to throw down the bodies of criminals and betrayers sentenced to death existed till present time.

This part of the park can be viewed from the position of Ossian's motives. Let us assume that the cliff on which the pergola is installed, is a lonely stone rock surrounded by the sea where Daura, one of the characters of D.Zh.McPherson, died. L.O.Kazarinov noted that in 1841 it was planned to supply water under this cliff and to construct a cascade. This plan was not accomplished; the reason could be that tsar Nicholas I did not agree to use the elements of Ossian's motives in "Sofiyivka". Another proof could be the two towers at the entrance, which were rebuilt from Gothic into Classical style.

There are still a lot of mysteries in the park, which have to be discovered, having carefully studied literary heritage and archive documents of the past.

The park, as a scientific institution of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, is engaged in researches of connatural and cultural flora of austral Forest-steppe of Ukraine, introduction and acclimatation of plants in the region.

The article of the director of the famous park I. Kosenko summarizes this work:

50 years anniversary of the Sofiyivka park as a scientific institute of the Ukraine's NAS

In the final article of I. Kosenko the review of the park's whole history from the moment of the foundation till todays is made:
205 years since the foundation of Sofiyivka

The team of scientists of the park issued the catalogue of plants with the total amount 1994 taxons, in which 25 taxons of hazels, 24 beeches, 41 fir-trees, 44 junipers, 100 lianas, 320 roses, 57 rhododendrons and 98 flower plants - totally 1220 trees and bushes and 774 herbaceous plants.
Catalogue (zip 380 КB)

The hothouse of the park is the unique center of cultivation of conifers and deciduous trees, bushes, roses seedlings - total more than 200 items.
Open|Download (22 КB)

The beauty of the park was sung by a lot of poets, but the poem of the Polish poet S. Trembecki occupies an especial place. Written in 1811, it is the park guide book in verses.
"Sofiowka" and comments of Adam Mickiewicz (polish)

Park as the tourist center offers the visitors a complex of services - excursion support in six languages, hotel, restaurant, conference hall etc.
List of services