Park “Sofievka” (Sofiyivsky) is the prominent monument of the world importance, the monument of the landscape art of the XVIII-XIX centuries. In the park there are held excursions, are offered many different amusements, horse riding or the romantic trip on gondola on the lake. It is the worthy contender on the title of the most picturesque place in Ukraine and one of the most exotic places of the country. Here are more than 3300 species of plants, among which are 41 species of fir trees, 100 species of lianas, 24 species of beech, 57 species of rhododendron, 320 species of roses and the famous tulip poplar. In the name of Uman Park the little planet with the number 2259 was called Sofievka.
The history of the park is associated with the romantic love story of Polish magnate Stanislav Pototskiy and his wife Sophia. The beautiful Greek, daughter of cattle dealer, Sophia was the beloved by Polish ambassador in Istanbul Karol Boskamp-Liasopolskiy, was the wife of the general of the Russian army Yusef de Witt (son of Yan de Witt, commandant of the Kamenets-Podolsky Fortress and architect of the Dominican Church in Lviv), she had success at Polish court, proved herself brilliantly at French court by empress Mary-Antoinette and, with the assistance of Grigoriy Potemkin, visited Petersburg and empress Ekaterina II.
During the long period of time the love affair of Sophia and S. Pototskiy was illegal: she have had already two sons when they managed to divorce with their former spouses and got married. S. Pototskiy founded the park in the Uman estate in 1796 and presented it to Sophia in her name day in the March 1802. The planning and the building of the park were headed by the well educated military engineer Ludvig Metsel, and the care of plants was given to the German gardener Olive. All works in the park were carried out by serfs. In 1806 the Polish writer Stanislav Nrembetskiy dedicated a poem «Zofiówka» to the park, which was later translated in other languages.
Since 1832 the owner of the park had been the empress Alexandra Fedorovna, the wife of Nikolai I, and park had been called “Tsaritsyn Sad” (Garden of Tsarina). The emperor family kept on improving the territory of the park, there was created the architectural decorations, made according to the project of the famous Petersburg architect Andrew Shtackenshneider.
Since 1929 Uman Park got the status of the reserve. The area of the park is 179,2 hectares. The ideas of decoration were cast by the Homer’s poems “Iliad” and “Odyssey” – the beautiful and mysterious world of ancient Greek myths was attempted to be created in the very heart of Ukraine. The main composition of the park is concentrated along the river Kamianka, where is constructed the line of separate pools and ponds, waterfalls, sluices, cascades, underground river Aheront. The reservoirs are surrounded with rocks of stone blocks (Levkadsaia, Tarpeiskaia), grottoes (of Thetis, Calypso, Scylla, Venus, Fear and Hesitations). There are built the wonderful pavilions for the rest (Flora, Pink) and summerhouses (Chinese, Mushroom). Throughout the park, both in thick bushes and in spacious lawns there are placed the sculptures of the antique Gods, heroes und wise men. The picturesque combination of the rocks, reservoirs, plants and architecture create the multi-faceted compositions: Main Alley, English Park, Champs Elysees, Bellevue Terrace, and Parterre Amphitheater. There are also the compact compositions, such as Cretan Labyrinth or the Island Anti-Tsertsei. The fountains take the special place in the decoration of the park, created by the inventive engineering mind. In the middle of the Ionic See lies the Snake Fountain, this throws up the high stream of water (16 m). Astonishingly, that such wonder occurs because of the difference of the water pressure in the pipes with the different diameter.