INTERESTING PLACES ON ANDREW’S DESCENT
During any excursion around Kyiv it is impossible not to visit one of the oldest streets of our city – Andriivsky Uzviz (Andriivsky Descent). Who did not see this street, man can say, did not see Old Kyiv. There are not many streets in the world that have their own museum, and Andriivsky Descent has the one. Visiting it, you will see this street through the eyes of Taras Shevchenko, who created a wonderful lithograph with the appearance of the very descent, topped by St. Andrew’s Church. And also you can admire its picturesqueness through the eyes of photographers of later period. In addition, in this museum you personally see objects that the inhabitants of this street and the Kyivans used in general more than a century ago. It is possible that the same things were used in household by your great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers. Be sure to visit this “Museum of one street”, and our guide will help you find it.
As for the modern name of the street, it is relatively young. The name was received recently – in the late 40-ies of the XVIII century, when has been the laying of the St. Andrew’s Church. However, very few people know that the old name of this street was Borychiv Descent. It was on this street that Prince Ihor came from the Kyiv Prince Svyatoslav Vsevolodovych the Terrible to pray at the Pyrohoshcha Church (located at the Kontraktova Square) for his successful escape from the Polovtsian captivity after the defeat on the Kayala River. The author of “The Tale of Ihor’s Campaign” wrote about this in his immortal work: “Ihor goes through Borychiv to the holy Mother of God Pyrogoshcha.” Not many streets were lucky to be immortalized in the monuments of medieval poetic literature, and “The Tale of Ihor’s Campaign” is more than eight centuries (written in 1185).
In the year of the establishment of Soviet power in Kyiv in 1920, the communization process affected not only the buildings on the Andriivsky Descent (profitable houses were nationalized), but also the name itself. The street began to bear the name of the Bolshevik G. Liver (1894-1918), a participant in the struggle for establishment the Soviet power in Kyiv in 1917-1918, the Kyivans themselves, and in particular the residents of this street, did not accept the new “Bolshevik” name and continued to call it Andriivsky Descent. Therefore, in 1957, it was decided to return the street its old name.
The manor character of the “Andriivka”, as its residents themselves sometimes called this street, began to change completely at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries due to the construction of capital structures on it that vividly reflected the entire stylistic architectural versatility of the period of historicism and modern. The list of authors of these architectural masterpieces variegates with such names as: Gardenin, Kazansky, Nikolaev, Sparro.
At the same time, being one of the oldest highways of the city, connecting its upper part (the chronicler “Hora”) with the Podil below, the street also acquires the importance of trade with a clearly expressed specialization of its shops and workshops servicing for the needs of the church and pilgrims.
Today the Andriivsky Descent retained its trading character; now it serves the interests of contemporary tourists, but not the church and pilgrims. Have you forgotten to buy a magnet on your fridge and souvenirs for friends? You do not need to run in search of both. Boldly go to Andriivsky Descent and there you will find everything you need; and for every taste and purse. There are also some fashionable boutiques and galleries. Our guides during the excursion will help you with advice in choosing souvenirs.
Carried away by the choosing of souvenirs, do not forget about spiritual things. In addition to the “Museum of one street” there are two small, but no less interesting, museums.
In the house (Andriyivskyy Descent, 21), which was built for the abbot of St. Andrew’s Church by the project of V. Nikolayev, in the summer of 1911 in the basement there was a workshop of Ivan Petrovich Kavaleridze (1887-1978). Here he worked on the monument to Princess Olga, which was opened in the same year at Mykhailivska Square (the monuments at Mykhailivska Square were destroyed by the Soviet power in the period of 1919-1923 and restored in 1996). Now the museum of I. Kavaleridze (created in 1991) is completely housed in this building. In the courtyard of the building there are transitional works’ models of this outstanding sculptor.
On the slope of the Uzdyhalnytsia mountain (Russian: Vzdyhalnitsa) housed an apartment house in 1888 (Andriivsky Descent, 13). In this house on the second floor lived the Bulhakov family. The building has never been restored and preserved in the form in which it was known by Mykhailo Bulhakov. Now this is the house-museum of the writer. This house is described by the writer in the novel “The White Guard” and the play “Days of the Turbins”. In this house with a “devil’s” number 13, Mykhailo Bulhakov settles his main characters. During the tour through Kyiv, you should definitely visit this museum.
But there is another building with devilry at Andriivsky Descent, which arouses particular interest. It’s Richard’s Castle. The lower end of the building adjoins Uzdyhalnytsia mountain. Our guides will guide you to this mountain, despite the steepness of the steps and the staggering railing of the staircase leading to it. But the view, opening from the viewing platform of the Uzdyhalnytsia is worth the minute difficulties of raising. On it our guide will tell you about the ghosts of the “Richard’s Castle”, frightening its inhabitants with their terrible moans and howls, and the reason for their appearance in it.
In a small public garden near the foot of the platform of St. Andrew’s Church you can take a breather after the ascent, as the Andriivsky Descent is the highest street in Kyiv (the height difference between the bottom point at the beginning of the street and the highest point at the end is 70 m). In the public garden there is an arbour, built 120 years ago (1897-1898) at the expense of the merchant-patron V. Kokorev.
Finally, during your excursion around Kyiv you will reach the main architectural dominant of the Andriivsky Descent – the church of the same name, built in the Baroque style, designed by the Italian architect B.-F. Rastrelli. The customer herself was the Russian Empress Elizabeth I (the daughter of Peter I). The church is built on the very site where, according to legend, the Apostle Andrew the First-Called erected a cross, blessing the Kyiv mountains. In 1215 here was built and consecrated the last stone church in Kyiv pre-Mongolian period – Khrestovozdvyzhenska. In 1240 the church was destroyed by the Horde of Khan Baty. Subsequently, on its stone foundation, a wooden church was built, dismantled in 1724. The present St. Andrew’s Church was conceived as a palace temple of the Empress. The construction of the church, which lasted fifteen years (1747-1762) was supervised by engineer I. Michurin and the head of construction works I. Vlasyev.
On the steps of St. Andrew’s Church, the final scene of the film “Chasing Two Hares” was filmed. The main heroes of the film froze in bronze. There is a belief that if a girl or an unmarried woman rubs a ring on Pronya Prokopovna’s hand, she will find herself a rich groom (the main thing is not to find as “rich” as Holokhvastov;), and if a man scraps a beetle on Holokhvastov, he will enjoy success among girls (dare, guys!). But remember, it’s important that everything does not end as it was in the film.
It remains to add that Andriivsky Descent is one of the few streets in Kyiv that has preserved the old pavement. The Andriivsky Descent was firstly paved in the second half of the 19th century. The old paving stone was replaced by the new one in 1981-1983, and also carried out regeneration of the building. Then the sidewalk part of the road was “decorated” with paving slabs. Therefore, if you like extreme winter sports (snowboarding, bobsleigh, etc.) or if you just want to extend your stay in liked Kyiv, (by reason of traumatism;), we recommend you to go down on the sidewalks of Andriivsky Descent in winter. Our guides will not be very happy to keep you company, but the wishes of our clients for us are the law.
The Landscape Avenue was founded at the beginning of 1980s. The avenue lies along the line of defense constructions of the Х–ХІІІ centuries of historical Upper city. According to the project, the Landscape Avenue was supposed to be a part of the historical reserve “Ancient Kyiv”, including the archaeological, historical and urban museums. The nearby mountains (Castle, Starokyivska, Detynets and Vozdyhalnytsia) were also planned to be improved. This was to be the most ambitious project in the whole USSR. Unfortunately, the project did not come true. Since 2009 Konstantin Skretutskyi, the sculptor, began to decorate the Landscape Avenue with fantastic mosaic characters: the centipede cats, Alice in Wonderland, etc. The park is built with the help of the money of patrons and people from the neighboring houses. The area is 1.48 hectares.
Kyiv Detynets is usually called “the City of Volodymyr” by historians named after Volodymyr the Great the Prince, who built it during his reign (970–988). Despite the archaeological excavations demonstrating the first settlements on the territory of Kyiv that were founded in the 6th century, Kyiv became the capital of the ancient state from the 8th-9th centuries. During Volodymyr the Great reign, the settlement acquired the appearance of a fortified city surrounded by an earthen rampart and a moat with wooden fastenings, with entrance stone gates and occupied an area of 10–12 hectares. The Tithe Church, built in the period of Volodymyr Sviatoslavych reign in 989-996, was the compositional center of the city. In the following centuries the fortifications of the Detynets were renewed in the period of Yaroslav the Wise reign (the protected area of the city was expanded to 70 hectares, the Golden Gate was built), then in the 17th century in the period of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi reign and in the 18th century in the period of H.Minich, the Russian General-Field Marshal. The subsequent rapid development of the construction of Kiev erased from the face of the earth the remains of ancient trees and the very Detynets. The Tithe Church, the main stone structure, was destroyed as early as 1240 by the hordes of Khan Batu. Its investigations have been conducted since the time of Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyi by Petro Mohyla, the Metropolitan, and they have been conducted to the present day. The Tithe Church was restored in 1842 and it looked pompously. It was destroyed in 1930 by the Soviet power. The ruins of the Tithe Church are included in the complex of ancient buildings of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine.
The Museum of one street is the first private museum in Kyiv, whose collection is dedicated to the history of Andriivsky Descent and its inhabitants. The museum items from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century were used for the exposition. Getting here, plunging into a nostalgic atmosphere, as if traveling on a time machine. Here you can imagine how the boudoir looked like with a full set of ladies’ toiletries, a dining room with a table, interiors of workshops and shops. Retro music is played in the museum, which gives a search to the realities of the past. In addition to objects of urban life, the museum has a lot of rare autographs and books – original manuscripts and photographs of Alexander Vertinsky, Bulgakov’s novel “The Days of the Turbins” (1927) and his “Therapeutic Directory” by Dr. M. Schnierr. There are exhibitions and interesting projects in the museum. Well, a real excitement of the public was caused by an exhibition dedicated to the public houses of the Andriivsky Descent.
The St. Andrew’s Church built by the order of Elizabeth the Empress as part of the Kiev royal residence, consisting of the Mariinskyi Palace and the palace church in 1749–1754 in the Baroque style designed by F.-B. Rastrelli. The temple is built on a steep spur of the Ancient Kiev Plateau, which served as a pedestal for the construction of the church. At this point, according to the chronicle “The Tale of Bygone Years”, in ancient times the mountain on which now the church stands was surrounded by the sea. Predicting the foundation of a large city, in the 1st century AD Andrew the First-Called the Apostle set a cross, and the water mysteriously retreated. According to a legend, now the church closes the underground sea, which can only be awakened by a bell ringing, triggering the second world flood. That is why, the bell tower was not built in the St. Andrew’s Church. Since the XI century wooden and stone churches were built and destroyed in honor of Andrew the First-Called. Because of the location on the top of the hill, the groundwater erodes the base and causes landslides.
Souvenir market – souvenir shops “in the open air”, located along the Andriivsky Descent. Here you can find items of folk arts and crafts, modern art, objects of Ukrainian and Soviet life, as well as decorations, vyshyvanky, collectible coins, badges, handmade toys, paintings of local artists. This is where not only tourists come for souvenirs, but also citizens to admire the works of folk craftsmen.
Bulgakov House is the famous literary and memorial museum of the capital today. The house itself was built in 1888 due to the project of N. Gordenin, a Kiev architect, and the customers were the merchant family of Litoshenko (the mansion was intended for the owner’s wife). One and a half floors of the building were built of stone, the top wooden floor, was bricked, the roof was covered with iron. Within some time, several buildings were added to the main building, the new owner of the estate of four houses became Z.Mirovych, a merchant and a personal honorary citizen of the city. All the buildings were leased, and the apartment on the first floor was the most expensive. In 1906, the tenants of this apartment became the family of Afanasy Bulgakov the Professor of the Kiev Theological Academy, renting an apartment on the first floor. So, from 1906 to 1919 years the world-famous writer Mikhail Bulgakov lived and worked in the Building No. 13 located on the Andriivskyi Descent. The house wasn’t different from neighboring ones for many years. But in 1967 in the popular magazine “New World” of that time was published an essay by Viktor Nekrasov, a Kiev writer of “The House of Turbins”. That’s right, Kievans began to call the Building No. 13 by the name of the fictional Bulgakov literary heroes, the Turbin family. Today it is the only museum in the world where Bulgakov’s relics are collected. The decision to create a literary-memorial museum of Mikhail Bulgakov was made in 1989. Only in 1993, the museum began to be visited. Today it’s not just a building, it’s a Legend-House.
The Castle Hill is a high hill with a history of several thousand years, was one of the central parts of Kiev during the Kievan Rus, fortified by defensive structures. It was a handicraft district of the capital city. In the times of Ancient Rus, the mountain was called Horivytsia (also known as Kyselivka and Florivska), since the 15th century it becomes a Castle (Zamkovaya) Hill. The origin of this name is associated with the construction of a wooden castle built after the entry of Kiev into the Lithuanian principality in 1363. But there is also a version that the fortifications were erected by Kievans, as Khan Batu devastated Kiev in 1240, destroyed the fortress on the Ancient Kiev Mountain, located not far from it. In 1840, the Castle Hill passed to the Florovsky Convent to the cemetery. In 1921, the cemetery was closed, and with the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War in 1941, a military unit was located on the Castle Hill, which served as a radio station built here. It was used to mute the signals of foreign broadcasting stations. At the same time, the military conducted the necessary communications on the mountain, finally destroying the surviving sections of the old cemetery. In the 1990s, the radio station was dismantled for uselessly, and the building of the military unit was dismantled for building materials. Today the mountain is an ambiguous place, with which many legends and mystics are associated. Rising 80m. above the Dnieper, the Castle Hill offers an excellent view of Podol, Andriivsky Descent, St. Andrew’s Church and Vozdvyzhenka District.
Vozdvizhenska Str. is a picturesque corner of modern Kiev, which once was called the Gonchary-Kozhemyaki Tract. The history of Nikita Kozhemyaka the literary hero is connected with this street. According to the legend, he saved the inhabitants of Kiev from the snake. In ancient times, a port and a huge market was represented here, potters and tarriers settled here. Later, the merchant class was firmly established in this area. Today Vozdvizhenka reminds the Emerald City in the Dutch style from a fairy tale, because of its colorful houses, pointed turrets, shops, cozy cafes, modern galleries. That is why, this place has become a favorite place for making movies, programs and TV shows.
The Richard’s Castle was built in 1902–1904 on the Andreiivskyi Descent. The site where the construction was started, and then the whole house, belonged to one of the residents of Kiev, to Dmitry Orlov, the contractor, who bought this site from Malenko, the manufacturer of the iconostases. A. Krauss, a builder and technician built an outstanding house in the style of English neo-Gothic. Richard’s Castle has the appearance of a real classic noble castle, which has all the features of such mansions, i.e. sharp and spectacular spiers, crenellated walls, steep stairs that lead to the patio.