Odesa guidebook: Must-see places #9 Vera Kholodnaya

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(Edited)

Hello everyone! Today I want to tell you about the monument to a beautiful woman in a big hat, which is located next to Cathedral Square, in the lively place of Preobrazhenskaya.
Natural flowers can often be seen there. These true movie lovers honour the memory of the first movie star Vera Kholodnaya, the queen of silent cinematography.

Who is Vera Kholodnaya?

Vera Kholodna is an outstanding Ukrainian film actress of the silent film era. She acted mainly in such genres as drama, melodrama and short film and under the direction of directors Eugene Bauer, Peter Chardynin and others.

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She became famous in the films: "Song of Triumphant Love" (1915), "Mirages" (1915), "Life for Life" (1916), "Forget about the fireplace" (1917) and many others.

Vera Kholodnaya (nee Vera Vasilievna Levchenko) was born in Poltava (Ukraine) in 1893; from childhood, she amazed everyone with her artistic talents, she studied ballet. However, she got married early, and in fact, got into the cinema by accident.

Photo Source - Wikipedia

First, in 1914, she appeared in an episode of the film "Anna Karenina"; but woke up famous after the release of the tape "Song of Triumphant Love" by Khanzhonkov's studio. She was immediately recognized as the queen of the screen, the audience of the entire empire fell in love with a brunette with big sad eyes. Reporters ("paparazzi") began to run after her, fans recognized on the street, postcards were sold everywhere, where the actress posed in one of her many hats. She was admired by the singer Alexander Vertinsky, who dedicated songs and poems to her.

Photo Source - Wikipedia

And the Odesa spectators, of course, we're also in love with Vera Kholodnaya. Therefore, they were delighted when the celebrity arrived in the city in 1918 with the Kharitonov film group. In Odessa, in those revolutionary years, the government was constantly changing - the Reds, Denikinites, Petliurists, French interventionists. But everywhere posters of the film "The Last Tango" with Kholodnaya were posted. The filmmakers settled in the Bristol Hotel (now Krasnaya) and became the centre of Odessa social life.

Photo Source - Wikipedia

Vera Kholodnaya performed together with L. Utesov; Mishka Yaponchik and Kotovsky, and the military governor of Odessa, the white officer Grishin-Almazov, Yaponchik's personal enemy (nicknamed the "Odessa dictator") attended these performances.

Why is the sculpture located in Odesa?

In the summer of 1918, director Dmitry Kharitonov arrived in Odesa with a film crew, where they filmed "Princess Tarakanova" with Vera Kholodnaya at the film studio on French Boulevard. Work on other films and live performances also continued.

Kholodnaya and Polonsky, film Mirages. Photo Source - Wikipedia

Suddenly, after one of the concerts, the actress fell ill, doctors diagnosed "Spanish flu" - the flu, which claimed many lives around the world a year earlier.

The celebrity spent the last days in a private apartment in Papudov's house on Cathedral Square. Throughout the week, while she was sick, crowds of desperate fans were on duty under the windows. On February 16, 1919, Vera Kholodnaya died at the age of only 26. Of the fifty films in which she managed to appear, only eight have survived.

Stamps of Ukraine. Photo Source - Wikipedia

Thousands of Odessa citizens gathered to see off their favourite, forever bidding farewell to the legend of silent cinema. Vera Kholodnaya was buried at the first Christian cemetery, her grave has not survived. The younger sister of the actress, Sofia Vasilievna, stayed to live in Odesa, becoming a ballerina of the Opera House.

It is because of such a great love for the actress that the monument was erected in the very heart of the city!

What is the history of sculpture?

The monument to Vera Kholodnaya was opened on September 2, 2003. The sculptor was Alexander Tokarev, who is the author of many monuments in the city.

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The granddaughter of the actress' sister Lyudmila Sokolova was present at the unveiling of the monument. Bronze Vera Kholodna was cast in the Kyiv specialized creative association "Artist".

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At first, a bouquet of bronze flowers lay at the actress' feet, but vandals repeatedly destroyed this detail of the composition, several times the missing bronze flowers were replaced by new ones, but they disappeared again.

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The monument was erected at the place of the actress' death: the outbuilding of Papudov's house was demolished in the following years, in which the actress lived before her death and died.

Where can you see the sculpture?

The sculpture is located in Odesa, on Preobrazhenskaya Street 25.
The exact GPS coordinates are 46.482737, 30.732173
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