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L.Metzel made a genius decision to supply the reservoirs and hydrotechnic facilities of "Sofiivka" with water. Four ponds were created along the channel of the Kamianka river: Lower, Upper and Red ponds are situated in the territory of the park, and Viytivski pond is located in the village of Rodnykivka. The acreage of the Upper Pond (sometimes it is called a Magic Sea), which is the reservoir for the of hydrotechnic facilities of the park, is 8,6 hectares; that of the Lower Pond (or Ionian Sea) - 1,1 hectares. The Lower Pond has a granite bottom; probably serfs took granite from this place to construct grottos and stone compositions, vases, columns and pedestals. The water to the Upper Pond comes in four directions due to the difference in water levels of these two ponds.

In the middle of the Upper pond there is the "Snake" fountain, which is 12-16 meters high. Water comes to the fountain along a self-directed underground granite pipes along the road from the academy and greenhouses to Flora Pavilion.

Opposite the Thunder grotto, or Calypso grotto, there is a settling and a branch of conduit, to supply water to the grotto. The water being settled and clear comes slowly to the "Snake" fountain along cast-iron pipes placed under a slight slope to reduce pressure force while friction of water against the pipe walls occurs.

The diameter of the "Snake" is reduced 10 times compared to the water pipe. Accurately calculated supply of water and simple engineering decision of fountain ejection ensure a slight difference between the fountain height and the level of the Upper Pond which is equal to 1,5-2,5 meters, thus, the height of the "Snake" fountain amounts to 12-16 meters.

At first, water came right out of the stone, later, at the time of military settlements a sculpture of snake was mounted on the stone. An unknown craftsman cast it from bronze; it attracts by its expressiveness and plasticity. An inner tension is felt in every bend of the snake's body, and the din of water, which comes out of the snake's mouth, makes an impression that an alive snake is twisting in anger in front of us.

We do not know an exact date of installing the "Snake", and who the author of the sculpture was. From the speech of one of the graduates at the solemn meeting devoted to the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Main school of horticulture in 1844, we learned that during the years of his studies the park was kept in a very good shape, and there was the sculpture of the "Snake" there. So we can assume that the "Snake" was installed in 1852-1859. It could be that in 1870 it was removed by water flow during the flood, and it was installed only after the World War II. The thing is that there is no information about the "Snake" in all famous works about "Sofiyivka" published before 1939.

Maybe the Snake sculpture is associated with the Greek mythology goddess Hygeia (Hygeia is drawn in the form of a woman wearing long clothes and feeding a snake from the bowl. Nowadays a bowl with a snake around is the emblem of medicine and health).

The fountain is perceived differently from different points. Let us admire this magnificent sight and breath in fresh and moist air, listen to sedative din of water, which falls down from the height, and is iridescent with colors of the sun spectrum, and you will feel that you have really touched the source of health and beauty. But most of the architects wanted the Snake to remind the visitors of the beginning of the Greeks' campaign against Troja about their landing on the coast of the Aegean Sea near the Avlide Mountain:

The weather was windless, so the ships could not sail and had to stop. The Greeks landed, found a beautiful glade, surrounded by platans, where there was a clear spring coming out of the ground. There they made a fire and began to make sacrifices to gods. Suddenly a large snake crept out from under the fire and slid through the branches of a plane tree to a sparrow's nest, where eight nestlings were twittering. The snake ate them all very fast, while their mother was tossing and crying over her babies. The snake ate a female-sparrow and right after that it turned into a stone. All the warriors watched all this in horror, and their prophet Kalhas said, "Why are you all dead silent? An Almighty Zeus gives you a sign. The snake ate eight nestlings and their mother - all in all nine. This is the number of the years we will be at war with Trojans. We will destroy the country on the tenth year."

We have to note that these are our assumptions; we do not know anything about L.Metzel's plan and ideas; the more so, as we have mentioned earlier, before the water used to come out right from the stone.

To the right of Flora Pavilion there is an arch of granite rock, so-called Venetian Bridge. The bridge is decorated with granite pylons, heavy forged chains hanging down among them. The construction is done in a classic style; it blends with a surrounding landscape and makes a peculiar romantic picture. A bit lower there is a wooden lock through which water runs into the Kamianka channel.

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