The Karaites are a few Turkic people traditionally profess Karaism (form of Judaism). Traditional places of residence of Karaites are the Crimea, some cities of Western Ukraine (Lviv, Halych, Lutsk) and the Trakai district in Lithuania.
Kenassa is the same as a house of worship. Until 1911 houses of worship of Karaites were called a synagogues. In 1892 Karaites filed a petition for renaming Karaite synagogue to kenassa.
First Karaites settled in Kyiv in the 1850-ies, and by 1900 there were 200 people. The most powerful family among the Karaites was the Сohen family that owned tobacco factories.
Since the emergence of Karaite community in Kyiv, it had not temple in its own. The head of a respected family, Solomon Aronovich Cohen, decided to fix this and has allocated 35 000 rubles for the purchase of a land plot for synagogue, and then another 80 000 for its construction. The project of the synagogue was prepared by Gorodetsky (known in Kyiv for its House with Chimeras and St. Nicolas Church) and Anton Strauss (the inventor and engineer, also participated in the design of the House with Chimeras and St. Nicholas Catholic Church).
Solemn opening of the synagogue was held in January 1902. Because of money, everything was made of expensive at that time material — artificial stone (cement). All external kenassa design was made of cement — windows and parapet ornaments, suspensions, descending from the top around all perimeter. Hall impresses by the beauty of graceful stucco ornaments in Moorish-Arabic style, filling all the walls. Colourful windows stained glass complete the whole ensemble.
In 1920, after the establishment of Soviet power, the kenassa was closed and community activities were discontinued. Later there were Tnstitution of Political Education, The House of Peoples of the East, Puppet Theatre, the cinema, and from 1981, here is the House of the Actor.
In our days, tobacco factory, which dates its history back to the factory Cohens, is part of the group of companies "Imperial Tobacco Group" and called "Imperial Tobacco Production Ukraine".