This day in history

Mykola Pavlovych Leontovych, the mayor of Mykolaiv in 1909-1917, the founder of Mykolaiv Zoo, was born on December 20, 1876 in Yelisavetgrad (now Kropyvnytskyi).

Mykola Pavlovych studied at the Imperial School of Law in St. Petersburg and Odessa. From 1901 he lived in Mykolaiv. Since 1906 - the deputy mayor, since 1908 - the acting mayor of Mykolaiv. On April 8, 1909 he was elected mayor for 4 years. He was re-elected mayor until 1917.

For 10 years as a mayor Leontovych did a lot for Mykolaiv: during this period in Mykolaiv were opened two museums, the first cinema, the first psychiatric hospital, the first tram was started. Under the personal guidance of the mayor, the laying of water supply and sewerage was completed, and a "drainage well system" was made - all of which we still use. Besides, the city power plant extended from 127 volts to 220, streets of the center of Mykolaiv were paved, the first embankment was opened. The belfry of the Kasper Church was built at Leontovych's personal expense. This list can be extended for a long time, but, of course, one of the main achievements of Mykola Leontovych was the creation of an aquarium and a zoo in the city.

In his own house he arranged a collection of aquariums - "aquarium". Aquariums were equipped with the latest technology of the time: they had electric compressors, heaters. The fish were housed in 75 aquariums. The collection included more than 50 species of fish and amphibians, more than 1,000 specimens. On April 26, 1901, the collection was opened for free access.

After the revolution Leontovych's Aquarium was nationalized, and Mykola Pavlovych became the director of Mykolaiv state Aquarium-Zoological garden. In this position he worked for many years and continued to develop the Aquarium-Zoological garden.

The further fate of Mykola Pavlovych Leontovych was tragic. On July 28, 1937, he was arrested on a number of charges: anti-Soviet propaganda, counter-revolutionary officer conspiracy, and others. After his arrest, his relatives and friends renounced him. Leontovych was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Date and place of his death are unknown…

…Mykola Leontovych's name was forgotten for many years. The square near the entrance to the zoo is now named after him, and a monument has been erected on it. Books are published about the life and work of Mykola Pavlovych. We recently mentioned a collection published in 2006, which contains an article by Volodymyr Topchy "My Leontovych" and a play by Mykola Troyanov "Breakfast at the Mayor's". In 2019, a collection album of photographs and documents was published, a significant part of which consists of documents telling about the activities of Mykola Pavlovych Leontovych.

And Mykolaiv Zoo, business of Mykola Leontovych’s life, continues to live and actively develop!