With its lush trees, bright blooms in the spring, and beautiful views of Kyiv, Lysa Hora (which translates to “Bald Mountain”) is a lovely spot for a picnic that also has links to witchcraft, satanic worship, and political executions.
Lysa Hora is one of the mystical “bald mountains” of Ukraine. According to folklore, witches would gather for their Sabbath ceremonies at these hills and be joined by crows, eagles, and paranormal creatures. References to the pagan uses and mystical significance of the bald mountains are found in various texts and literature, including stories by the Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol and the Strugatsky Brothers.
In 1872, the Russian army built a small fortress on the hill, but due to its location and relative isolation, it was soon converted into a storehouse. Between 1906 and 1917, the site was used for executions of political prisoners of the Tsarist regime—about 200 in total. The most notable execution that took place was that of Dmitry Bogrov, an anarchist and informant who assassinated the Russian Minister Pyotr Stolypin in 1911.
The park has also at times been home to Roma refugee camps, which gained international attention in 2018 when far-right radicals attacked the campers and burned their tents.
Today, the mountain is a nature reserve and part of the Fortress Museum area. It continues to attract practitioners of paganism and satanic worship. Carved wooden statues of pagan deities have been erected and can be found throughout the park.
Know Before You Go
From the Vydubichi metro station, pass to the southwest (in the direction of Koncha-Zaspa) a few hundred meters. The bald mountain is quite visible because of the treeless edge and the towering cross on it. Go up the path. Look around - the Left Bank of Kiev is plainly visible. Then go deep into the grove where you can find the pagan symbols and the entrance to the underground city.