Andriivsky descent (Andriivsky uzviz) is one of the oldest streets of Kyiv and it is impossible to miss it during each excursion. If you haven’t been to Andriyivskyy descent, you have not seen the Old Kyiv. Not many streets in the world have its own museum but Andriivsky descent has. Visiting this museum, you can see the Andriivsky descent with Taras Shevchenko eyes, who created the magnificent lithography with the Andriivsky descent and Andriiv Chirch view. Also, you can admire its picturesque with the eyes of photographers of recent years. Furthermore, in the museum you also will see the objects that were used more than hundreds years ago by people who lived in Andriivsky descent. Probably your grandparents used these objects in their everyday life. You should also visit the “One Street museum” and our guide will help you find it.
Regarding the new street name, it is relatively young. Street was named fairly recently by the end of 40s years of XVIII century when the Andriiv Chirch foundation was laying. However, it is little known that the old name of this street is Borychev descent. It is in this street lord Ihor went from Kiev lord Sviatoslav Vsevolodovych Hrozny to pray in Pyrohoshcha Church (which is situated on the Square of Contracts) for his successful escape from capture after defeat at Kayal river. It was written by the author of “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” in his immortal work “Igor goes down by the Borychev to Pyrohoshcha”. Not many streets were happy to be said in the medieval poerty and “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” is older than 8 centuries (created in 1185 year).
In 1920 year in Kyiv during the establishment of Soviet Union the communization process reached not only the buildings of Andriivsky descent (condos were nationalized) but also its name. It was named after Bolshevik H. Liver (1894-1918) – activist in establishment of soviet regime in Kyiv in 1917-1918 years, in turn Kyiv citizens, especially people who lived on this street have not accepted the new soviet name and kept naming it as Andriivsky descent. Therefore, in 1957 year it was established to return back its old name.
Manor character of “Andriivka”, how it was called by local citizens, has completely changed at the turn of XIX-XX centuries in relation to the capital buildings construction which have brightly reflected the whole architectural multidimensional nature of the period of historicism and modernism. The list of these architects consists of the following names: Hardenin, Kazansky, Nikolaev, Sparro.
At the same time, being one of the oldest hubs of the city, which connected its higher part (annalistic “Mountain”) with Podil – the bottom part, street becomes trading area with clearly defined specialization – service of church and pilgrims.
Andriyivskyy descent has saved its trading character up to now; but now it serves, not the needs of church, but the needs of modern tourists. Have you forgotten to buy a fridge magnet or souvenirs for your friends? You mustn’t scramble to find both. Here there are numerous fashion boutiques and galleries. During the tour our guides will help you to choose souvenirs.
Being so engaged in choice of souvenir products don’t forget about the spiritual aspect, Beside “One street museum” here there are two not so big but not less interesting museums.
In the house (Andriivsky descent, 21) which was designed according to the project of V. Nikolayeva for prior of Andriiv Church in 1911 there was Ivan Petrovych Kavaleridze’ studio in semi-basement section. Here he worked on the statue of Princess Olga, which was opened in the same year on Mykhailivska square (monuments of Mykhailivska square were destroyed by soviet government in 1919-1923 years and rebuilt in 1996 year). For now the Kavaleridze museum (formed in 1991 year) is fully located in this building. Near the building there are shown transient models of this outstanding sculptor.
On the slope of Uzdyhalnica hill there is situated an apartment building of 1888 year (Andriivsky descent, 13). On the second floor of this building lived Bulgakov with his family. There were no reconstructions so building passed through decades and it is exactly as it was in time when Mykhailo Buigakov lived there. Now it is a museum of the writer. It is this building is mentioned in novel of famous writer called “White Guiard” and in play named “Days of Turbin family”. In this building with “deuced” number 13 lived the main characters of Mykhailo Bulgakov. During the Kiev tour you certainly have to visit this museum.
On the Andriivsky descent there is one more deuced building of particular interest. This is “Richard’s castle”. The lower end face of building lies near the Uzdyhalnica mountain. Our guides will take you there despite the steepness of steps and rocky banisters leading on the mountain. Nevertheless, the view from observation desk is worth the efforts. There our guide will tell you about ghosts of Richard’s castle, who scared the residents with their scary moaning and howling, and the reason of the ghosts emergence.
You can have a rest and catch your breath after rise on Andriivsky descent in a modest square near foot of the platform of Andriiv Church. Andriivsky descent is the highest street in Kyiv (the difference in altitude between the lowest point at the beginning of the street and the highest point and the end comprises 70 m.). In the square there is an arbour made up 120 years ago (1897-1898) funded by merchant and patron V. Kokorev.
Finally, at the end of your excursion you will face with the main architectural building of Andriivsky descent – homonymous baroque-style church constructed by the project of Italian architect B.-F. Rastelli. The Empress Elisabeth I (daughter of Peter I) by herself initiated the construction. Under the legend at that very spot apostle Andrew erected the cross with that blessing Kyiv hills. In 1215 year here was built the last stone church in the period of pre-Mongolian Kyiv named Khrestovozdvizhenska. In 1240 year the church was ruined by the horde of khan Baty. Afterwards, on its stone foundation there was built a wooden church which also was destroyed in 1724 year. The existing st. Andrew’s Church was designed as palace temple of Empress. Engineer I. Mychurin and head of masonry works I. Vasyliev have led the church construction which was in progress for 15 years (1747-1762).
On the steps of Andriiv Church the final scene of “Chasing two hares” film was made. Next to the church there are two bronze sculptures of the main characters of the film. There is a proverb if single woman rubs the ring of Pronya Prokopova she will definitely find rich fiance (main point is not so “rich” as Golokhvosty ;) and if man scratches the bug of Golokhvosty, he will be successful with fair sex (go ahead, man! ;). But remember matter is it would not happen as the film ends.
In addition, Andriivsky descent is one of the few Kyiv streets that kept its ancient road surface – paving stones. Andriivsky descent was firstly paved by large stones in second half of XIX century. In 1981-1983 years the old paving stones were replaced by new and buildings were also recovered. After that the sidewalk part of track was “graced” by paving slabs. Therefore, is you like extreme winter sports (snowboarding, bobsled, etc.) or you just want extend your stay in Kyiv (because of traumatism ;), we recommend you to go down the Andriyivskyy descent in winter. Our guides will come and keep your company with no pleasure, but customer gets what customer wants.