This small bronze Aquarius Lion stands in the public park between Sophiyska and Mykhaylivska squares, not far from Hyatt hotel and St.Michael’s Cathedral.
Without knowing what it is, it’s easy to pass by it without even casting a glimpse – most probably it will look as a regular park statue to a passer-by.
But Kyiv Aquarius Lion is in fact the increased copy of the ancient Slav jar brought from the archaeological museum in Pereyaslav-Khmelnitskiy. Similar jars (“aquaemanalis”) were used in ancient Rus to wash hands prior to shrine rituals. So this statue was originally made as a fountain, with water pouring from the lion’s mouth to the basin in front of it.
In early 70ies of XX century, it was placed in the city centre park together with the other copies of Ukraine famous archaeological monuments like the so-called Zbruch Idol and Polovetskiy Baba – both can still be found nearby, closer to Sofiyska Square.
As long as I can remember, the fountain has not been working as such for ages. At first its basin has shamefully been used by the locals as a waste bin. But last summer I noticed the flower bed made inside it (I’m only left to hope it wasn’t a one-off for Euro-2012). In any case, today the Aquarius Lion is no longer a fountain, but rather a simple city sculpture.
The kids brought by parents to the nearby playground still love riding it. No wonder: we, Kyivans, like to say if you sit down on the lion’s back, touch its ears and make a wish, it comes true!
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