On the site of the Dynamo Stadium, there used to be the Royal Garden, famous for its Chateau de Fleur café: since 1863, a restaurant opened there, concerts were held as well as fireworks and dances. Ivan Nechui-Levytskyi vividly described the evening festivities in the Royal Garden in his novel The Clouds.
Construction of the stadium began in 1931, and in 1933 the first match took place here, which was attended by 45,000 spectators – twice as much as the stadium could accommodate. During 1934–1936, the remaining buildings of the complex were completed, including the concave colonnade of the main entrance. The Berlin stadium became a model for construction.
The Dynamo Stadium underwent several renovations: in the 1960s and before the 1980 Olympics. In 1967, the first outdoor swimming pool in Ukraine with water heating was built at the stadium.
The history of the stadium is closely connected with the main football club of the capital, ‘Dynamo Kyiv’, although the team was created in 1927 by the sports society of the same name. Dynamo has participated in all USSR football championships since the first (1936). The team became national champions nine times: in 1961, 1966-1968, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980; it won the USSR Cup five times (1954, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1978) and was the first Soviet club to win the highest football awards in Europe: the Cup Winners’ Cup (1975, 1986) and the Super Cup (1975).
In 2002, the Dynamo Stadium was named after the outstanding Ukrainian football player Valerii Lobanovskyi, the coach of Dynamo (1973–1982, 1984–1990, 1997–2002) and the Ukrainian national football team (2000–2001). It is associated with the largest peaks in the history of the ‘white and blue’. An illustrative joke of the 1980s about the USSR national football team goes as following: ‘The team of Kyiv’s Dynamo is coming on the field, somewhat weakened by the players of Moscow’s Spartak.’ In recent times, the victories of 1997 have become legendary, when Dynamo twice ‘whitewash’ defeated the Spanish Barcelona.
Dynamo is as integral an attribute of Kyiv as the Dnipro River, parks, temples and landscapes.