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Kiev

Kiev is the largest city in Ukraine and also the capital of the country. Nicknamed "The mother of all Russian cities" Kiev holds a special place in history of Ukraine and Russia.

 

 

 
Location: Kiev Oblast

 

Kiev Coat of Arms

 

 

 

History

Archaeological excavations show that settlements on the territory of the Kiev region already existed 15,000–25,000 years ago (Kirillovskaya site). The Neolithic and Eneolithic period (the Copper Age) is represented by the Trypillian culture, the monuments and periods of which the researchers divide into three stages: the early (4500–3500 BC), the middle (3500–2750 BC) and the late (2750– 2000 BC) For the period of the Bronze Age, the territories of the southwestern part are characterized by Belogrudov culture. Zarubinets culture is characteristic of the north-west of the Kiev region of the second half of the 1st millennium BC. e. - the first half of the 1st millennium BC e.

The Iron Age in the territory of modern Kiev and the Kiev region is represented by the Chernyakhov archaeological culture, which is also called the “Kiev culture” and which existed at the turn of the 2nd – 3rd centuries –– the turn of the 4th – 5th centuries in the forest-steppe and steppe from the Lower Danube in the west to the left bank of the Dnieper and Chernihiv region in the east. According to archaeological excavations, the first settlements on the Kiev mountains arose in the II century. BC e., and in the I century. there were already three Slavic villages. In the middle of the 1st century Apostle Andrew the First-Called raised a cross on the site of the modern St. Andrew's Church, which marked the descent of the grace of God on this earth. Maciej Stryjkovsky said that he was reading the “Kiev Chronicle” of the beginning of the 11th century, which was taken out of Kiev in 1018 by the Polish king Boleslav I the Brave. In this chronicle it was said that the fortified city on the site of Kiev has existed since 430. The same date is reported by the Brief Chronicler, the source of the second half of the 17th century, which is considered unreliable, but has interesting legends.

According to a legend in the Tale of Bygone Years, Kiev was founded by three brothers Kiy, Schek and Horeb and sister Lybed as the center of the Polyana tribe and named after their older brother.

The results of some archaeological excavations can be interpreted in such a way that already in the VI-VII centuries, settlements on the right bank of the Dnieper will be considered urban. This concept, reinforced by the celebration in 1982 of the 1500th anniversary of Kiev, was considered as generally accepted. However, some researchers indicate that discovered archaeological sources do not provide sufficient grounds for an extended interpretation. In contrast to the "jubilee concept", some historians and archaeologists believe, as before, that the formation of Kiev as a city took place in the VIII-X centuries. Only at the end of this period, individual settlements on Castle Hill, Podil and Starokievskaya Mountain merged in the 10th century into a single urban settlement.

According to various sources, at the end of the 9th century, Askold and Dir reigned in Kiev, who were either vigilantes of the Varangian Rurik or descendants of Kiy; in 882, Kiev was conquered by a relative of Rurik, Prince Novgorod of Novgorod, who moved his residence there. From that moment, Kiev became the capital of Russia.

 

In Russia, the possession of the Kiev Grand Ducal table belonged (at least theoretically) to the eldest of the kind and ensured supreme power over the specific princes. Kiev remained the real political center of Kievan Rus, at least until the death of Vladimir Monomakh and his son Mstislav the Great (in 1132). During the period of fragmentation, Kiev formally continued to be considered the senior table and served as a constant object of struggle between strong princes. A serious blow to the city was inflicted by the capture and looting of the troops of Vladimir Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky in 1169, which became the first case in history of the ruin of the Grand Duke's throne, and the pogrom by the troops of Smolensk Prince Rurik Rostislavovich in 1203. In 1240, Kiev was looted and destroyed by the Mongol-Tatars. Subsequently, the Principality of Kiev continued its existence under the Mongol-Tatar yoke, the Rurikovichs continued to rule them, but they received the reign by label.

A new period in the history of Kiev began with the victory of the Lithuanians in the battle on the Irpen River, which took place around 1324. In it, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gedimin defeated the army of the Grand Duke of Kiev Stanislav Ivanovich, as a result of which the Principality of Kiev became a vassal of Lithuania, and Mindovg Golshansky, the founder of the new dynasty of Kiev rulers - the princes Golshansky (ruled Kiev from 1321/24 to 1331 and became his new ruler) from 1397 to 1435). In 1331, the Rurikovich made the last attempt to seize the throne of Kiev - Fedor became the new prince with the help of the Horde, however, after the victory of the troops of the Lithuanian prince Olgerd in the Battle of Blue Waters in 1362, the Rurikovich finally lost the Kiev table and the son of Olgerd Vladimir, the representative of Gediminovich, ascended to it. the ancestor of the Olelkovichi (ruled Kiev from 1362 to 1397 and from 1443 to 1471), who competed with the Golshansky for possession of the principality throughout the entire Lithuanian period.

From 1362 to 1569, Kiev was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, from 1569 to 1654 it was part of the Crown of the Polish Commonwealth. In 1654, an anti-Polish uprising took place in the city and Kiev passed “under the arm of the Moscow Tsar”, which was officially confirmed at the signing of the Andrusov Armistice in 1667.

During the period of joining the Russian Empire (from 1667), Kiev continued to play an important role as one of the cultural and religious centers of the state.

After October 27, 1625 and until 1708, the city of Kiev was the regimental center of the Kiev regiment - the administrative-territorial and military unit of the Hetman.

On December 18, 1708, during the first division of the state of the Russian Empire in the province, the Kiev province was formed with the provincial city of Kiev and included 55 cities. After October 22, 1721, the Russian kingdom became known as the Russian Empire, and the Kiev province became a part of it. In September 1781, the Kiev province was transformed into governorship. In November-December 1796, a new Kiev province was established, and part of the territory located on the left bank of the Dnieper, went to the Little Russian province. In August 1862, the administration of the Kiev Military District of the Imperial Russian Army was located in the city.

After the February Revolution in Russia on March 3, 1917, the city became subordinate to the Provisional Government of Russia. September 1, 1917 the city, province, administration of the military district became part of the Russian Republic. After the October Revolution in Russia on October 25–26 according to the old style (November 7–8 according to the new style), the city, province, and the administration of the military district became subordinate to the Provisional Worker and Peasant Government.

Since November 1917, Kiev repeatedly passed from hand to hand, and power was constantly changing. On November 7 (20), 1917, the Ukrainian Central Council took power in the city. On January 16 (29), 1918, the January Bolshevik uprising began. The uprising was crushed on January 22 (February 4), 1918, the independence of the Ukrainian People's Republic was proclaimed - Kiev became its capital. On January 26 (February 8), 1918, the troops of Soviet Russia captured the city. The Red Terror, the establishment of Soviet power in the city. March 1, 1918 - the capture of the city by the troops of the Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR) under the command of S.V. Petlyura. Return to the city of the government of the Central Council.

 

April 29, 1918 - the overthrow of the Central Council by the German authorities and the proclamation of P. P. Skoropadsky as the hetman of Ukraine. The city became the capital of the new Ukrainian state (Ukrainian state). April 29 - December 14, 1918 the city was the headquarters of the corps - the military district of the 4th Kiev corps of the Ukrainian state. December 14, 1918 - the capture of Kiev by the UPR troops under the command of S.V. Petlyura.

February 5, 1919 - the entry into Kiev of the Red Army. On April 10, 1919, red troops were knocked out of part of Kiev (Podil, Svyatoshino, Kurenevka) for one day by uniting the chieftain Struk, who was operating in the Chernobyl district. August 31, 1919 (morning) - the entry into Kiev of units of the Volunteer Army of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia, the Galician Army, the army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (the red troops left the city on August 30). In the afternoon, the Volunteer Army and Ukrainian units began fighting, Ukrainian troops left the city. October 14, 1919 - the capture of the city by the Red Army. October 16, 1919 - A volunteer army recaptured the city. December 16, 1919 - the capture of Kiev by the Red Army. May 7, 1920 - units of the Polish Army entered Kiev. June 12, 1920 - the capture of Kiev by the Red Army. Since June 12, 1920, it finally became part of the Ukrainian SSR.

On June 24, 1934, by decision of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukraine, the capital of the Ukrainian SSR was moved from Kharkov to Kiev. To protect the city from the Soviet-Polish border in 1928, construction of the Kiev fortified area began. On August 13, P.E. Knyagnitsky was appointed commandant of KiUR.

From 1936 to 1941, a system of railway tunnels under the Dnieper was built in Kiev, but its construction was interrupted by the war. Subsequently, its unfinished components were partially flooded, and the remaining materials became the basis for the first stations of the Kiev metro. On June 22, 1941, the KOVO Directorate allocated the South-Western Front Field Directorate. The KVO Office continued to operate under the leadership of Lieutenant General V.F. Yakovlev. The party organizations of the city from the beginning of the war sent more than 30 thousand communists to the troops. July 11 began fighting on the near approaches to the city. September 19, 1941, the 37th Army of the Red Army, defending the city, left it and began to break through from the encirclement. On the same day, troops of the 6th German army entered Kiev. For more than 70 days, the defense of the city continued. The German army lost more than 100,000 people here. In 1941-1943, in the area of ​​Babi Yar was Syretsky death camp. During the occupation, more than 100 thousand inhabitants of the city of Kiev and prisoners of war were shot here. On November 3, 1943, troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front launched the Kiev offensive operation. November 5, 1943 in the morning the Wehrmacht began the withdrawal of troops from the city. By the morning of November 6, the capital of Soviet Ukraine, Kiev was liberated by the Red Army.

In 1951, the first MESM computer in the USSR and continental Europe was created in Kiev. On November 6, 1960, the Kiev Metro began its work. On June 21, 1961, Kiev was awarded the Order of Lenin to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the heroic defense. On the same day, the medal "For the Defense of Kiev" was established. In the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR “On the establishment of the medal“ For the Defense of Kiev “”, the city of Kiev was named a hero city. May 8, 1965 to mark the 20th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet people in World War II, the city of Kiev was awarded the honorary title "Hero City" and the Golden Star medal was awarded.

Since August 24, 1991 Kiev is the capital of independent Ukraine. In 2005 and 2017, Kiev became the venue for the 50th and 62nd Eurovision music competitions, respectively. In 2012, it was one of four Ukrainian cities hosting the 2012 European Football Championship, and in 2018 it became the venue for the UEFA Champions League final. In late 2013 - early 2014, the city hosted the main events of Euromaidan.

 

 

Travel Destinations in Kiev

Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Киево- Печерская Лавра)

Location: Ulitsa Lavrskaya, 15, korp. 42

Subway: "Dnepr", "Arsenalnaya", "Pecherskaya"

Official site: lavra.ua

Open: daily 9am- 7:30-m

Entrance Fee: Adults: 16 hryvnia, Children: 8 hryvnia, Cave ticket: 2 hryvnia

Kiev Pechersk Lavra or Monastery was found in 1051 by monk Antony from Lubech and his student Theodosius during reign of duke Yaroslav the Wise. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Ukraine/ Russia/ and Belarus. First monks of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra didn't build any buildings above ground. Instead they dug caves in the hill and used them to live there and pray. Eventually number of monks grew and caves became insufficient to house all brothers. They began to build first buildings above ground in the 70's of the 11th century. The caves, however became a giant cemetery for the dead. To this day Kiev caves are surrounded by legends and superstitions. Some of the local claim that underground tunnels spread under the Dnieper river and connect with the monasteries in Chernihiv.

 

Some of the oldest buildings of theKiev Pechersk Lavra include Assumption Cathedral, Trinity Church and Refectory that were erected in 1070's. After a major fire that broke out in the monastery in 1718, Assumption Cathedral and Trinity Church were rebuilt in a new Baroque architectural style that became highly popular in the Russian Empire during reign of Emperor Peter I the Great. Stone walls were also erected around that time period. Thus much of the appearance of the modern day Kiev Pechersk Lavra was formed in that period.

 

One of the most famous residents of this Eastern Orthodox Monastery was monk Saint Nestor, the author of first Russian chronicles known as "The Tale of Bygone Years" and the first historian of Russian- Ukrainian history.

 

After the Communist takeover in 1917 Kiev Pechersk Lavra fell on hard times. All their property was declared the property of the people and monastery itself was closed and later re- opened as a museum. In 1941 during World War II Dormition Cathedral was blown up and completely demolished. To this day we don't know who is behind the demolishion. While Kiev was under occupation of the German army, many evidence exist that it was carried out by the Soviet underground movement.

 

 

 

Independence Square (Майдан Незалежности) Kiev

Independence Square is the central square of Kiev. It is also known as Independence Maidan (Maidan is "Square" in Ukrainian). Its role in the history of modern day Ukraine can hardly be overestimated. It became a symbol of anti- government protests in 2004 and most notable Civil Unrest in 2013- 14 that led to the overthrown of Yanukovych government. Today Maidan became a synonym for pro- Western and pro- European movement among Ukrainians. Unlike Western media, Ukrainians have very divided views of this phenomenon. Picking up the subject of those events might not be the wisest way to make friends.

 

In the tenth century this area was called Perevesische (Spreading) Square. Residents of Kiev used to spread their fishing and hunting nets to dry them out. Later Lyadski Gate was erected here. It was one of the entrance to the Upper City of medieval Kiev. When Mongol armies of Batu Khan besieged Kiev in the middle of the 13th century they used this gate to get into a medieval capital of Kievan Rus. After Kiev fell this part of the city was largely abandoned until the 19th century. Ruins of medieval walls and towers remained largely untouched.

 

Only in the 19th century Kiev officials managed to demolish remains of the medieval fortifications and opened this area for construction of new government buildings like City Council or Duma. After Russian Revolution this Square was called Soviet Square and later Kalinin Square. In the 70's Khreschatyk street and Independence Square underwent new major reconstruction and renamed to October Revolution Square and soon thereafter into Independence Square. It is a popular area for concerts, demonstrations and other public events in the life of Kiev and Ukraine as a whole.

 

Saint Sophia's Cathedral or Sobor Svyatoi Sofii or Sofiyskiy Sobor (Kiev)

Location: Vladimirskaya, 24

Subway: "Maydan Nezalezhnosti

Open: 10am- 6pm

Entrance Fee: 3 hryvna

Saint Sophia's Casthedral is one of the oldest Christian churches in Ukraine and Russia. Saint Sophia's Cathedral was constructed in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise on site of a victorious batther with the nomadic Pagan Asian tribe of Pechenegs. Cathedral was reconstructed several times, but its location carries an important symbolic value in the history of Ukraine, Russia and Belorus since those countries date their origins back to Kievan Rus. In 988 Rus became an official Christian country as Prince Vladimir addopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. Its name is derived from the main church in the Byzantine capital (Konstantinopol or modern day Instanbul) of Saint Sophia. Byzantine Greek masters traveled to Kiev to help construction of the original church. It's not suprising that many of the frescoes and mosaics resemble the interior of Saint Sophia in Istanbul.

 

Saint Sophia's Cathedral of Kiev was repeatedly ravaged several times between 11th- 13th century by Asian tribes of Polovtsy, Pechenegs and fainally by the Tatar- Mongols under leadership of Batu Khan in 1240. Church's building was badly damaged, but not demolished. In 1385- 90 Metropolitan of Kiev Cyprian rebuilt the church from the ruins. In the 1630's the Metropolitan of Kiev Petro Mohyla further increased the size of the cathedral and founded a male monastery. The work was finally completed in 1740 giving Saint Sophia's Cathedral its presence appearance.

 

The bell tower of Saint Sophia's Cathedral was built by the orders of Hetman Mazepa. Its main bell, nicknamed "Mazepa" is still preserved in its original state. The threat of destruction of the church and its bell tower became a reality after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent Civil War. In the early 1930's the Soviet government decided to demolish historic building in an attempt to wipe out all old and hence "obsolete" symbols of the former life. For some reason they changed the decision and decided to keep the church. Local legends claim that the French government intervened and pressured the Soviet government to change their opinion. This claim is based on the fact that daughter of Yaroslav the Wise was father of the French Queen Anna and wife of Hentry I.

 

Today Saint Sophia's Cathedral is open to the public. Despite numerous reconstructions its interior preserved a large number of original frescoes and mosaics that date back to the 11th century. The interior of the temple is covered by frescoes depicting dscenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, her parents Joachin and Anna, the Apostles Peter and Paul, Saint George, Archangel Michael- the patron saint of Kiev and many other Orthodox saints.

 

 

Saint Michael's Golden- Domed Cathedral and a monastery (Михайловский Златоверхий Собор) (Kiev)

 

This Eastern Orthodox Cathedral was part of the monastery dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel. Saint Michael's Golden Domed Cathedral of Kiev was originally built in 1108- 1113 during reign of Sviatopolk II of Kiev, grandson of Yaroslav the Wise. Saint Michael's Cathedral was erected to house remains of Saint Barbara, those body was braught from Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Later Sviatopolk II was buried here after his death. In 1240 during the Mongol invasion building of Saint Michael's Cathedral was badly damaged and looted.

 

Saint Michael's Cathedral became known as Golden Domed Cathedral as at the time it was the only church that had gilded domes. The interior of the church was covered by mosaics, marble and colorful frescoes. Over the centuries the monastery grew in size and so did its main church. Hetmans (war leaders) donated large sums to increase its wealth and prestige. Bohgdan Khmelnitsky ordered construction of the central gilded dome at Saint Michael's Cathedral. Hetman Skoropadsky added a new iconostasis, while hetman Ivan Mazepa brought donations to the monastery in the form of chandeliers and silver casket of the relics of Saint Barbara.

 

After Soviet Revolution Saint Michael's Cathedral in 1919 the monastery property was nationalized. Most of the monastery was demolished in 1930s. The main church of the religious complex was preserved as a museum. Only in the end of the 20th century Saint Michael's Cathedral was returned to Eastern Orthodox Church. It was opened in the spring of 2000 after extensive reconstruction project.

 

Saint Andrew's Church (Kiev)

 

Saint Andrew's Church on located on the steep right bank of the Dnieper river overlooking a historical part Kiev known as Podil or Podol. It is visible from afar and its elegant and colorful appearance makes it one of the most notable architectural buildings in Kiev.

Local legends claim that in the ancient times this part of the city was completely covered by water with a small island visible just above the water wavers. It was visited by one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, Saint Andrew. According to this legend he visited the island, struck the ground underneath him and the water receded. Regardless whether the story is true or simply exaggerates certain historic events, but Saint Andrew became one of the most beloved saint in the Russian- Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Saint Andrew's Cross in a shape of a letter X is visible on many heraldic coat of arms of many nobles and of course it is visible on the two- headed eagle, symbol of Russia. One of the notable differences of Saint Andrew's Church is a fact that it doesn't have bells. It is believed that the water will come back and drown the city again if the church will start ringing.

The project of the current building of Saint Andrew's Church was created by a famous Russian- Italian architect Rastrelli.  The first stone of the church was laid by Russian Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1744. The work on construction was given to a Moscow architect I.F. Michurin. Despite high ground of the hill under a church it took several years before church was completed. Ground water and springs in the base of the hill constantly seeped through the rock and undermined the building and supporting structures.

The interior of Saint Andrew's Church is covered by frescoes that were made by I. Tchaikovsky, A. Antropov, I. Romenskii, I. Vishnyakov and many others. After Russian Revolution of 1917 church was closed. Only in 1968 it was reopened as a historic museum. It was finally returned to Christians in 2008, when government museum of Sophia of Kiev transferred Saint Andrew's Church to Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

Golden Gate or Zoloti Vorota (Kiev)

 

Subway: Zoloti Vorota

Golden Gate or Zoloti Gate in Ukrainian- Russian is a reconstructed medieval gate that led to the nucleus of the Ukrainian and Russian capital. It was constructed on the South side of the city during reign of Prince Yaroslav (978- 1054) the Wise who named it after the Golden Gate of Jerusalem in Israel and Constantinople (modern day Istanbul- capital of Turkey). Golden Gate was only part of huge protective military fortifications that were carried out by a legendary Prince. He surrounded Kiev with walls and earth mounds with a total distance of 3.5 km (over 2 miles) in length. The city was also protected by trench that measured 15 meters in width and 8 meters in depth. Golden Gates were added in 1037 along with Cathedral of Saint Sophia and served as the main triumphal entrance to the medieval capital of Russians and Ukrainians.

In 1240 Golden Gate was badly damaged when Mongol armies of khan Batu stormed Kiev and razed the city. The gate was reconstructed and served as military fortification through most of medieval period. It lost much of its military use by the 16th century and it remained abandoned slowly disintegrating. Famous traveller A. Van Westerfel who visited Kiev in 1651 described Golden Gate in ruinous condition. In the 19th century most of medieval walls were removed leaving only small parts of the original walls. In 1970's a small pavilion was constructed near a Golden Gate that houses a museum dedicated to the history of medieval Kiev and its defences in particular. In 1982 Golden Gate was reconstructed to mark 1500 years of Kiev foundation.

They main part of the Golden Gate is made of a single square tower with battlements with a height of 14 meters. The tower also has an additional prominence at its exterior facade that is called the Little Tower. The driveway within the tower was fairly wide measuring at 7.5 meters in width. It was protected by two doors that were lifted by day and lowered by night. On the exterior these doors had a wooden lattice covered by metal, while on the interior Golden gate had additional gates. Additionally during reconstruction historians added parts of wooden walls that once surrounded Kiev around its perimeters.

Golden Gate was crowned by a Church of the Annunciation so that every traveller could thank God for safe journey to the capital city. Yaroslav the Wise who constructed Kiev's walls was born just 10 years prior to official Christianisation of Russia, thus the country that he ruled remained polytheistic in nature and divided between various ethnic fractions and tribes. The church was covered by frescoes and colorful mosaics. Unfortunately we don't have an idea what it looked like, but during archaeological digs historians discovered numerous glazed cubes, fragments of fresco plaster and other colorful fragments of original interior.

 

Legend of Szczerbiec Sword

 

One of the famous legends that is persistence in Poland ties legendary Szczerbiec Sword to the Golden Gate of Kiev. Szczerbiec Sword is a coronation sword that was used in crowning ceremonies of most kings of Poland between 1320 and 1764. One of legends of its origin claim that it was once owned by Polish king Boleslaus the Brave. He got involved in a civil war between Russian princes for the throne in Kiev to rule Russian- Ukrainian lands. When he entered the Kiev in 1018 he hit the stones of Golden Gate that was under construction at the time with his Szczerbiec Sword. It left a mark on his sword that it carries ever since. The polish forces were eventually killed by the Russians and Boleslaus had to flee, but the legend stuck for centuries. Although historians believe that the Golden Gate mentioned in the legends was a reference to an older city gate that was replaced in 1037 by current Golden Gate.

 

 

 

 

Andriyivskyy Spusk (Saint Andrew's Descent) (Kiev)

 

Andriyivskyy Spusk or Andriyivsky Descent or Saint Andrew Descent is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and residents of Kiev. In the medieval times it was the shortest route that connected Upper Town of Kiev with Podil or the Lower Town that was inhabited by merchants, blacksmiths and people of various crafts and trades. Thus Andriyivsky Descent can be rightfully considered one of the oldest streets for Ukrainian and Russian cultures. It was name in honor of Saint Andrew, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ who allegedly visited this site and drained the sea that raged, covering this hill. Shortly thereafter he erected a first cross on top of the mound. The legend might be exaggeration of an actual flood that happened in the past or possibly an explanation of various ancient fossils that were found in Kiev and its vicinity. Whatever might the case it is one of the most interesting places in Kiev.

Saint Andrew Descent is often associated the name of the name of the its former residents, famous writer Mikhail Bulgakov. He lived in the house #13 in 1906- 13 and 1918- 19. It is fairly easy to find since it has a plaque honoring him. Bulgakov loved Kiev and many of the characters and novels were set in Kiev.

Museum of One Street (Kiev)

 

Andriyivsky Descent 2-B

Official site

Museum of One Street is situated in the very beginning of the Andriyivsky Descent and as its name implies it is dedicated to the street where its is located. Most of showcases and exhibits are dedicated to live on Andriyivsky Descent in the late 19th and early 20th century. It contains many items from the time period, personal things of various famous people, their death masks and other interesting legends and ghost stories that are associated with Andriyivsky Descent and its houses.

Mikhail Bulgakov House (Kiev)

 

Andriyivsky Descent 13

One of the first houses that you will see as you walk down Andriyivskyy Spusk or Andriyivsky Descent is house number 13. The building was constructed in 1888 and designed by architect N. Gardenin. It is a former residence of Mikhail Bulgakov and since 1991 it served as a Literature- Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov. He lived here in 1906- 13 before the brake out of World War I and during Russian Civil War in 1918- 19. His experience of living here and love for Ukrainian capital is described in many of his famous novels and books. This famous Russian author is famous for his book like Master and Margarita and Ivan Vasilievich is changing his Profession. However his book The White Guard has particular ties with the house number 13. He placed the action of the book in his own residence. Thus Bulgakov House is also known as the Turbiny House after the main characters of the book that were unfortunate to live through through years of the Russian Revolution.

Richard Castle (Kiev)

Andriyivsky Descent 15

Richard Castle or Castle of a Richard the Lionheart is a name given a house number 15 of Andriyivsky Descent. Richard Castle was constructed in the late 19th century in a highly unusual English Gothic architectural style. Picturesque panorama of Kiev below and interesting appearance of the house drew many artists. At various times it was inhabited by several famous Ukrainian artists including F. Krasitsky, I. Makushenko, F. Balavensky, G.P. Dyadchenko and many others. Russian- Soviet writer Viktor Nekrasov who frequented this apartment building gave its nickname after famous English king Richard the Lionheart and hence the name stuck and became semi- official. As any castle in United Kingdom Richard Castle also has many legends and ghost stories associated with its walls. Some local residents claim that they see ghostly figures that move from one window to another with an old fashion oil lamp in their hands. Most of eyewitnesses claim that it is a spirit of a young woman who was ditched by her lover an artists. She committed suicide by leaping from the tower of the Richard Castle thus killing yourself. Memorial plaque on the house commemorates G.P. Dyadchenko who lived here in 1909- 21. History of Richard Castle and its former residents is a subject of several showcases in the Museum of One Street.

Theatre Koleso (the Wheel) (Kiev)

 

Theatre On Podil (Kiev)

 

Andriyivsky Descent 20B

Official Site

Theatre on Podil is a fairly newly established theatre in Kiev in the end of Andriyivsky Descent in the Podil district. It was found in 1987 under leadership of Vitaly Malachov. It is famous for both classic plays as well as new and experimental performances. In 2006 Theatre on Podil got a promoted to a status of Academic Theatre.

 


Babi Yar (Kiev)

 

National Historical and Memorial Babi Yar is a World famous site of mass executions of civilians by the Nazi troops and their allies during years of World War II.

Most of the killed and burried in Babi Yar were Soviet Jews that were exterminated as part of the Final Solution or Holocaust. On September 1991 on a 50th anniversary of the mass murders Babi Yar memorial sign, a Jewish menorah was built here. Today it stands on the border of the former Eastern Orthodox cemetery of Saint Cyril and a former Jewish cemetery.

 In 2000 it was followed by an Orthodox cross that was dedicated to Eastern Orthodox Christian priests who were also murdered in this ravine. A year later Ukrainian officials erected another monument to honor dead children who were executed by Nazi war criminals near subway station of "Dorohozhychi". Communal cultural center "Heritage" laid a memorial stone in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Babi Yar. It is located between Melnikov and Dorogozhitskaya streets.

During occupation of German Wehrmacht Nazi troops and their Ukrainian nationalists allies murdered over hundred thousands of Soviet prisoners of war, Jews, Gypsies, mentally ill, partisans and hostages of various walks of life.

 

Announcement in Ukrainian papers in 1941 in Russian and Ukrainian

Babi Yar (Kiev)

"All Jews of a town of Kiev and its surroundings are to arrive on Monday 29 September 1941 at 8 in the morning to a corner of Melnikov and Dokterivsky streets (near cemetery).

Take your documents, money and valuable things. Additionally take warm clothes, linens and etc

Those Jews who won't carry out these orders and will be found elsewhere will be shot.

Those citizens that will sneak into apartments abandoned by the Jews will be exectured."

 

Verkhovna Rada (Kiev)

 

Location: Hrushevsky str 5

 

Verkhovna Rada is an Ukrainian highest legislative body equivalent of British Parliament or United States Congress. It is situated in a large light grey building of distinct Stalin's architecture known as Stalin's Ampir. Newly established Soviet state needed its own symbols and even its own distinct architecture. Thus building of a new Verkhovna Rada was built in 1936- 39 following a innovative design of architect Vladimir Zabolotny. Verkhovna Rada became operational as soon as rooms were completed. Suprisingly the building survived turbulations of the mid 20th century. Even the Germans kept the building and decided not to destroy it.

Building of Verkhovna Rada was designed as a symmetrical rectangular with a giant glass dome visible from afar. The building has three floors, but thanks to the large glass dome located on the roof it gives an impression that the building is larger that it actually is. Interior design of the legislative palace of Verkhovna Rada is influenced by traditional Ukrainian themes and ornaments. Architect Vladimir Zabolotny designed every aspect of Verkhovna Rada interior including the grand staircase, marble columbs, door handles and even furniture that stand in the lobby.

 

House of Baron Hildebrand (Kiev)

Location: Shovkovichnaya 19

House of Baron Hildebrand is one of the most beautiful and unusual buildings in Ukrainian capital of Kiev. It was built in 1901 following a design of architect Nicholas Wisniewski. Construction of this magnificent apartment building was carried out for Baron (nobility title) Vladimir Uexkull- Hildebrand. He belonged to a prominent noble family from Estland (modern day independent country of Estonia) and thus Gothic architecture was a reference to his origins. Additionally he added his family coat of arms.

Unusual architecture of House of Baron Hildebrand is owed to rules that were commonplace in a former Russian Empire. Regulations of architectural committee required architectural projects to be unique and quick to construct. House of Baron Hildebrand suffered greatly during World War II. It lost parts of its facade. Its Gothic spires were knocked down, but after the war it was reconstructed to its previous appearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zverynetsky Cave Monastery (Kiev)

Zverynetsky Cave Monastery (or Zvirynetsky) is a medieval Eastern Orthodox Monastery in Kiev. It was found in the early 11th century in the areas that served as hunting grounds for prince of Kiev Vsevolod. A Russian word for protected hunting area is "Zverynets" (Зверинец) and hence this explains the name. Unfortunately attack of Polovtsy nomads from grasslands of Southern Russian ended life of monks and the monastery as a whole. Upon getting news about incoming attack monks hid in the caves below ground. Once Polovtsy made it here they tried to open the entrances to the underground structures, hoping to get riches of the convent (which the monks didn't even possess). Once all attempts exhausted themselves Polovtsy simply covered with earth thus burring the monastery and its residents, condemning them to slow death of suffocation. Grass quickly hid the entrances to the caves and location of the Zverynetsky Cave Monastery have ceased.

Caves of Zverynetsky Monastery were rediscovered only in the early 19th century. People who uncovered the entrance of the cave were chocked to discover untouched original medieval Russian Monastery with skeletal remains of the monks in various positions laying along underground walls. In the last hours of their lives many monks inscribed their names on plaster of caves. This is how we know their named centuries after their tragic death. Eastern Orthodox Church recognized them as Saints. Additionally they discovered monk cells, underground chapel and 48 niches- graves with 96 older burials. The convent was partially restored. New central church of the Nativity was built soon thereafter. Additionally one of the cave's entrance became the site of construction for new Church of All Saints of Zverynets dedicated to dead monks who died in the underground of Zverynetsky Monastery.

Local legends believe that Zverynetsky Monastery is one of the possible sites of the library of Yaroslav the Wise. He was one of the most educated medieval rulers of Kievan Rus. He managed to gather huge collection of books, documents and manuscripts. Historians have hard time tracing this extensive library. Some believe that Yaroslac Library is still hidden in uncovered underground passages of this Kiev monastery.

Peter I Lodge (Домик Петра I) (Kiev)

Peter I Great Lodge was built in the late 17th century. Originally it housed a tavern for residents of Kiev. Later it was transferred to orphanage and a parish school. Its name was given due to a fact that Russian Emperor Peter I lived here while overseeing construction of the Pechersk Fortress in 1706. After revolution it was given to the communal rooms, but in 1974 the building was restored as a museum. Today is it known also as a Museum of the history of Philanthropy in Kiev.

Exhibit of the museum that is devoted to stay of Peter the Great in the house is situated on the second floor, while the rest of the museum is found on the first floor. Exhibition devoted to Emperor Peter I has no items that were part of the original interior. These didn't survive centuries after his famous stay. However museum workers managed to gather items characteristic of the time period including furniture, household items and old photos of Kiev before Revolution.

Exposition of Philanthropy was gathered for several years. Furniture, documents, photographs, books and other historic artefacts were gathered from residents who voluntarily brought these items. One of the more valuable artefacts include Eastern Orthodox Baroque icon of Holy Mother and Child from the 18th century. Historians believe it was once housed in one the Kiev churches as part of the iconostasis. Another interesting item in the Museum of Philanthropy is a portrait of Count Leo Tolstoy. If you take a good look at it you can even recognize words of the sonnet written in the corner of the painting. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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