One of the oldest sports facilities in Kyiv, the city’s velodrome has undergone a series of radical changes since it was constructed in 1913. Initially just a site for cycling competitions, it later also became the host to the Polar Star cinema during the summer months. After being damaged extensively in the Second World War, the velodrome’s track was re-laid with wood in the 1980s, allowing cyclists to reach evermore extreme speeds. But by 2009, the structure was on the verge of collapse because of severe damage inflicted by the construction of a nearby luxury housing block.
Through a series of large-scale public campaigns, the velodrome was eventually saved by a group of activists, cyclists, and architects, who mobilised a series of clean-ups, lectures, and film screenings to help fund its reconstruction. Nowadays, an enormous mural of a cyclist by the Canadian artist Emmanuel Jarus looms over the area, which has regained its position as a popular collective cycling space and local hangout.
Photos: 1 – Kyiv Velodrome in 2021; 2 – Pie Spot pizza; 3 – Save Kyiv Velodrome protests, 2014; 4 – Track Cycling Training by Avanhard sports society, 1960s
“A small hint from us: if you climb on the third floor of the building that borders the velodrome, you’ll get a nice panoramic view from another perspective”
15, Vyacheslava Lypynskoho, Kyiv, Ukraine