Each day Voronezh residents walk past old houses with metal canopies. But hardly anybody thinks about the fact that some canopies have survived the Revolution, the Great Patriotic War and the 1990s, when people dragged all they could lay their hands on to scrap-yards, by a miracle.
The topic of the new issue of local history project “Legends of Voronezh” is unusual canopies that have managed to last in the city since late XIX and early XX century. Our guide for ancient canopies is local historian Anton Pozdnukhov.
The building of the owner-tenant association (4, Komissarzhevskaya Street)
This house was built in accordance with a project of Voronezh architect Mikhail Zamyatin. The iron canopy over the entrance is made in Art Nouveau style. Roses, the exquisite forged décor elements still remain. In late XIX and early XX century canopies were forged by hand. There was no electric welding back then, so canopies were anchored with rivets or rings.
– The name of the building is related to a phenomenon widespread at the turn of the XX century when citizens were renting accommodations instead of buying them. This explains the popularity of tenement buildings. This house was built for the money of a cooperative association of owner-tenants. The money for the construction was collected jointly, - Anton Pozdnukhov told.
The house of Khristofor Vartanov, 1913 (48, 20th Anniversary of VLKSM Street)
As you follow 20th Anniversary of VLKSM Street from Petrovsky Public Garden, you can see a blue house with an arch and a gable façade facing the street. The arched brackets of the canopy with floral décor are made in Art Nouveau style.
This building was constructed in 1913 by Azerbaijanian Khristofor Vartanov replacing an old ap wing. The new house was connected to the previous mansion with an arch. There used to be a terrace behind the elegant balcony grating. Capital repairs were conducted here in 2017.
The house of tradeswoman Gulda Byutner, 1911 (12, Bolshaya Manezhnaya Street)
The house built in Art Nouveau style upon the design project of industrial engineer Mikhaylov is not in its best shape – it is awaiting capital repairs. On the brick wall by the entrance there is graffiti drawn by an unknown author. The building’s décor has almost been lost over the years, but the canopy and the balcony grating still remain. The upper part of the cornice is decorated with a leaf ornament.
The house of Medvedeva, 1914 (37, Pomyalovsky Street)
The two-storey building with a brick bottom and wooden top is a typical example of mansion development in Voronezh of the turn of the XX century. In the 1910s the mansion used to belong to wife of court counselor Maria Medvedeva.
– At that time there was a law according to which the ground floors of two-storey buildings had to be made of bricks. It is related to fire safety. But the second floor was what the owners could save their money on – they built it from wood because it was cheaper, - Anton Pozdnukhov noted.
The building has withstood the ravages of time. Brackets decorated with little rings in ancient Russian style are what has remained of the canopy.
The shape of the brackets that upheld the cornice indicates that there used to be a balcony over them. What reminds of it today are pieces of old rails which have their own history.
– The railroad in Voronezh was originally built from English rails. In late XIX century the tracks had been replaced. After the repairs, local residents used the tracks construction material for fortifying balconies or making flights of stairs. The rail tracks used for attaching stairs can be found in Chizhovsky Barracks. Moreover, they were used for strengthening poles. Such a pole can be found at the intersection of 20th Anniversary of VLKSM Street and Pyatnitsky Street, - Anton Pozdnukhov added.
The house of bourgeois Miller, 1916 (5, Pravaya Sukonovka Street)
The house built in Art Nouveau style still has its décor remaining: columns, narrow strip-like windows and moldings over the entrance. The door is original too – long and big. One of the brackets of the cornice is still decorated with a rose.
The wooden house (13, Durova Street)
This old wooden house of rich green color is inhabited. No one knows for sure when it was built and who the first owner was. According to Anton Pozdnukhov, the house was built in early XX century. It still has its original cornice the anchors of which are made of rings.
The apothecary warehouse, 1913 (41, Kommunarov Street)
This unremarkable brick building is a former apothecary warehouse of a military agency. The riveted cornice over the entrance is made in Art Nouveau style. The original glass remains above the door.
– One would think it’s a maintenance building with a simply technical and practical function. Nowadays no architect would have decided to decorate it. But architects of the past had a completely different attitude to their profession, so they tried to make even such technical buildings beautiful, - Anton Pozdnukhov noted.
The tenement building of peasant Firyupkin, 1915 (39, Baumansky Alley)
Prosperous peasant Konstantin Firyupkin was one of the organizers of drapery cooperative “Commodity Warehouse, the Company of K. Firyupkin, P. Shibaev and A. Kulbatsky”. As he became wealthy, he didn’t rush to but a title – he remained a peasant.
The Art Nouveau building still has its unusual canopy, balcony fencing and a window with hexagon-shaped glass blocks widely known as “moon stones”. In late XIX century, the glass bricks invented by Swiss engineer and architect Gustave Falconnier became commonly used all over Europe as window décor. This building has the only remaining “moon stones” in Voronezh. Local historians consider them the oldest glass in the city.
The tenement building of Manuylov, the 1910s (3, Dzerzhinsky Street)
The house is built in neoclassicism style, but its metal brackets of the canopy over the entrance and balcony fencing are decorated in Art Nouveau style. The décor consists of wreaths and garlands.