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Podol (Lower city) of Kiev
Clicking on the lens, you can see the photo and the description of the route elements.
Podol (Lower city) is the oldest part of the capital. It is called as the “lower city” in ancient Kiev and is located at the foot of the Dnieper River. There used to be a river called Pochayna, where Kiev was supposedly baptized. Podol is one of the historical districts of Kiev, originally developed as a port part of the city, where artisans settled and active trade was conducted. In the middle of XIIth century the Podol had independent fasteners. In the annals there are numerous references to Podol, Podolsky bargaining, where the veche, which is objectionable to the prince, about the Podolsk churches, merchants’ farmsteads is collected, which indicates the rapid development of this part of the city in the 12th-13th centuries.
All the structures of Podol were of logs. The material was pine logs with a diameter of about 20-25 cm, length up to 6 m. The main type of buildings were five-walled houses with living quarters, porches, often with basement, porch, galleries-canopies. The houses were heated with adobe furnaces, overlapped with gable roofs with gutted ceilings. Share was used as a roofing material. Compositions of estates had a picturesque character. Buildings were located in compliance with the rules of the “prize”, which forbade neighbors to block out the views of nature, streets, buildings that are landmarks of development. Interesting information on the town-planning rules applied in Rus are available in the collection of laws and regulations – the so-called “Pilot Book”, known from the list of the 13th century. It attributed to the construction of houses to put them so that the view of nature was opened, as they did in Constantinople. The rules that prohibit putting ovens near neighbors’ walls, letting out smoke windows towards neighbors, planting trees near a neighboring house, etc. are also curious.
Since the middle of the 12th century, intensive stone construction has been underway in Podol. There are reasons to think that the construction was carried out not only by princes and rich monasteries, but also by trade corporations, boyars, rich merchants. Numerous workshops of artisans-artists, potters, bone carvers, jewelers, who died during the Mongol-Tatar invasion, are found during archaeological excavations in the courtyards of princely households, churches and monasteries, in urban settlements.
The center of Podol was considered to be the permanent Kontraktovaya square, where the market was held. Later, the Kiev-Mohyla Academy appeared here. Since the end of the XVIIIth century annual contract markets are held here. There was a fire that destroyed a huge number of buildings on Podol in 1811. After the fire Podol is actively built up. Gostiny Dvor and Kontraktovy Dom appeared. Today there are many ancient churches, monuments of architecture and museums. Cozy cafes and restaurants are located on Sagaidachnogo the main street of Podol. This is a favorite place for townspeople and tourists.
X 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.
X Zhytny market is the oldest operating market, known since the period of Kievan Rus. The name of the market was given to this street, because the grain was sold here. The market has been located on the Lower Vala for a long time, it was the site of the permanent “Podol” bus station. Hlubochitsa the ancient river divided the area of the market into two parts. Now there are Upper and Lower Val streets on the site of the river, and the river flows beneath them. The Zhitny market was located in Podol near the craft districts of Kozhemyak and Goncharov. In the period of Kievan Rus there was a veche, but the folk festivals were organized with a carnival ascent to the Shchekavitsa mountain during the reign of magistrates. Trade fairs were held here twice a year, where not only Kiev merchants came together, but also sellers from nearby and remote areas of Kiev. In the 1980s the market was moved to a new covered building, built in front of the former place. It is located until now there.
X Apshtein’s mansion was built in 1912 according to the project of V. Rykov the architect for the office of iron-hardware trade of Toby Apstein the merchant. Until now, the facade has preserved the image of metal beams and chains. The parapet is decorated with images of metal products, i.e. the symbols of the Apstein’s occupation: the channel, the cogwheel, drive chains. Apshtein earned his capital on metal trading, so his house is decorated with stucco rails and chains. There was a district committee of Komsomol in a private residence in the period of civil war, – people say that it is the same, the known note “Raikom is closed on its doors. Everyone went to the front” is photographed. In 1919 a Komsomol detachment came out to pacify Ataman Zeleny (D. Terpilo) the peasant army from here. Therefore, in the Soviet years, the street bore the name of the Heroes of Tripoli, where the mansion is located on, and then Spassky the former name was returned to it. Now the house is occupied by the capital’s Main Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.
X Hetman Museum was opened in 1993 and deals with one of the most interesting landmarks in the history of Ukraine – the era of Hetman power. There are more than 6000 exhibits associated with the management of the hetmans. The permanent exhibition includes 4 rooms dedicated to Ivan Mazepa, Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Pilip Orlik and Pavel Skoropadsky. The most important exhibits of the museum are part of the hetman’s club of the 13th century, the family emblem of Khmelnitsky, personal things of Pavel Skoropadsky, etc. The house of the end of the 17th century, survived after the fire of Kiev Podol in 1811, is one of the oldest civil buildings in Kiev. Traditionally, the Kievans call it the hetman’s name, although there is no reliable information that Mazepa lived here.
X Shchekavytskaya Str. is the street in Podol, appeared in the middle of the XIX century, originally called Shchekovaya. After a while the name was changed, acquiring its modern appearance. The name comes from the Mount Schekavitsa, from which the beginning of the street took place. According to ancient chronicles Prophetic Oleg the Kiev Prince was buried on the mountain. The name of the Mount Schekavitsa is associated with Shchek the name of one of the founders of Kiev. It can be argued that the Mount Schekavitsa was called so in the era of Monomakh. Although historians are still arguing about whether it is mentioned in Oleg’s annals, because the Oleg’s grave was often designated outside Schekavitsa on the ancient plans of the city. In Schekavitsa the old houses were built in the late XIX – early XX centuries, and these were modest philistine manors.
X Borychev Tok Str. is an old street located parallelly to Pokrovskaya and Sagaidachnogo Streets, it keeps the unique spirit of Podol of the XIX century. There are several versions about the name of the street. It originated: 1) from the tract “Borich”, located on this place, 2) from the name of the Mount Borych (now – Andreevskaya mountain). The name “tok” comes from the word “flow” – Borichev Tok – Borichev stream. These places are known since the times of Kievan Rus. In the X–XVIIth centuries artisans settled there. In the modern form, the street appeared after the fire of Podol in 1811. According to eyewitnesses and archival documents, the fire “turned the best part of the city into ashes”. The street was laid according to the redevelopment of Podol by V. Geste the architect. The Podol was divided into rectangular blocks by a grid of straight streets. The street runs from Borichevo Descent to Florovskaya Str.
X Pokrovskaya Str. was mentioned since the XVIth century and was called Gniloy (lit. Rotten) because of the location under the Andreevskaya Mountain. The rainwater and underground springs constantly flowed onto the street from here. Later, in 1766 the Pokrovskaya church was built here, its name was given to the street today. There was reconstruction after the fire in Podol in 1811. The streets became straight with rectangular blocks. Pokrovskaya Str. is one of several streets represented in Podol, which retained an indirect form to our days (together with Pritissko-Nikolskaya and Borichev Tok). It is also one of the streets of Podol, where there are not any shops, banks and restaurants. Pokrovskaya Str. has a length of about 320 meters and, thus, it is one of the shortest streets in Podol.
X Sagaidachnogo Str. is the central street of Podol, connecting the Contract and Postovaya Squares. The building of the street began in the early XIX century. At first it was a continuation of Aleksandrovskaya Str. In 1989 the street acquired its name after Petro Sagaidachny the Ukrainian hetman. Sagaidachnogo Str. is noteworthy because it almost completely preserved the look of the XIXth century. The nature of the street as commercial, merchant and progressive is determined by the fact that the electric tram that connected the city center with Podol was launched for the first time in 1896. A funicular, connecting the upper part of the city with the Post Square, was built in 1904. Until now, there are buildings (No. 27-a, 27-b) of Balabukhov wealthy confectioners, which produced a dry fruit jam in the factory, known throughout Europe. There were furnished rooms with a romantic name “Dneprovsky port” in the building No. 4 in the late XIXth century. Alexander Kuprin, a retired lieutenant and well-known Russian writer, replaced the threshold of this building in the autumn of 1894. Later, Kuprin described his building in the story “In a family way”. A famous story “Yama” about the buildings of tolerance in Kiev was also written here. It is noteworthy that there is practically no tree along the street. Today it is a street of cozy cafes and restaurants, boutiques, hotels – a favorite street of Kiev and tourists.
X Nativity of Christ Church was built in 1809–1814. The coffin with the body of Taras Shevchenko the famous Ukrainian poet was represented here from May 6 to May 8, 1861 on the way to Kanev, the last resting place. Many people called the church Shevchenko. According to a recording in one of the church documents of the 18th century, the temple was built in 1011 under Vladimir the Grand Duke.
X Church of Our Lady Pirogoshi is one of the oldest temples of Kievan Rus. Mentioning about it there is the “Lay of the Host of Igor” (Igor the Prince thanked the Holy Mother of God for his salvation from the Polovtsian captivity in the Church of Our Lady Pirogoshi). It was built near the market in 1132–1136 by Mstislav the Prince (son of Vladimir the Monomakh Prince). It was not determined where this name come from. The church is assumed to be built on the means of merchants engaged in the sale of bread. The letters of Mnogogreshny and Samoilovich the Hetmans of 1670 and 1672 testify to the right of the Assumption Church to collect taxes for the sale of grain in the territory of Kiev. Pirogoscha is known as the Assumption Church in the written sources of the XVI century. The Church of Our Lady Pirogoshi had been serving as a public center until 1935, at which the school, the orphanage, the hospital for the poor and the city archive operated. The temple was destroyed in 1935 and rebuilt in 1998.
X Church of The Holy Cross is originally a wooden church on a stone basement with a separate wooden bell tower. It was built in 1748 with the funds of artisans – the residents of the tract of Gonchar and Kozhemyaki. The name of this church is associated with Mikhail Bulgakov, the famous writer, who was baptized here. In 1935 the church was closed. During the German occupation, worship services were resumed, and the church was never closed again and worship services are held until now. The restoration of the upper part of the church was carried out in the 1986–88, as well as the lower one in 1991. This allowed to bring the inner decoration of the church to about the kind that it had before the damage inflicted to it in 1936–1941, when the warehouses were located here.
X Frolovsky Convent is one of the oldest monasteries in honor of St. Florus and Laurus, supposedly founded in the beginning of the 16th century. The heyday began in 1711 after Peter the Great closed the Ascension Convent and transferred the inhabitants to the Frolovsky Convent. The numerous monasteries of Voznesensky were submitted to Frolovsky Convent. Then it became one of the richest convent among the poorest ones. There is a well on the territory of the convent, which is considered to be healing by the worshipers. In the Frolovsky Church there is a unique sight: an embroidered icon, as a valuable sample of the Ascension sutures on the territory of the monastery. A picturesque garden is refined on the territory of the convent.
X The Wonder-worker (St. Nicholas Pritisk) is an architectural monument, a small church in the style of the Ukrainian Baroque, built in 1695–1707. According to one version, the name of the church is derived from the word “tail” (pier) because it was on the pier, which was called “sticky”. St. Nicholas has always been the patron of saints and merchants. According to another version, the name is connected with the river Glybochitsa, the arm of which passed near the temple, pressing (“squeezing”) from the southern part of the building. Since the days of Kievan Rus there was a wooden church, it was first mentioned in 1612. The church was destroyed by fires several times. In 1935, the church was closed and used the premises for a cotton-spinning factory. In the 1990s the church was reopened.
X Saint Elias Cathedral was first mentioned in 1632. It is considered to be the first Orthodox church of Kievan Rus. According to the legend, the temple was built by Askold and Dir the Princes. There is a version that the baptism in 988 occurred near this temple. In 1957, in a church under a layer of the 19th century painting, the fragments of the 18th century paintings were found, which were successfully restored. The remains of the previous painting were preserved only in the altar part of the church.
X Church of St. Nicholas Naberezhny. It is known from the XIth century, although the written information about it has not been preserved. 1552 is the first mention of the wooden church of St. Nicholas, representing near the Dnieper (hence the household name – St. Nicholas Naberezhny). The modern building of the church was built in 1772–1775 opposite the place where the wooden church was located. Today the greatest value of the temple is the icon of St. Nicholas of Myra (the first half of the 17th century). The temple in the style of the Ukrainian Baroque has a huge historical and cultural significance, and it has been considered as one of the architectural dominants of Podol for a long time. In 1992, the temple resumed its work.
X Church of St. Nicholas on the water or the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is the only temple on the water in Ukraine. It was built in 2003–2004 in the style of Ukrainian neo-baroque. In form, the temple on the water remotely resembles a candle of a blossoming chestnut. There is an old icon of St. Nicholas, which is over 200 years old in the church. St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is considered the patron of travelers and sailors, because the church was dedicated to this saint. In addition, in 1900, there was a wooden chapel of St. Nicholas next to this place, where they prayed for the dead sailors and sanctified the waters of the Dnieper on the Feast of Baptism, but it was destroyed by Soviet power in the 1930s. The Church on the water is 23 meters high and with a capacity of no more than 50 people. It is similar not only to a candle, but also to a lighthouse, decorating the embankment. A 15-meter bridge going along from the embankment to the church.
X Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is the first higher educational institution in Ukraine, founded in the 17th century and became the first Orthodox higher education institution in Europe. Initially, in 1615, the Kyiv Brotherhood appeared and in 1631 the school of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, united with each other, formed the Kiev-Brotherhood College, which became the Kiev-Mohyla Academy in the end of the 1680s. It acquired its name after Peter the Grave the founder and patron of the patron saints. People from different backgrounds came here, they are nobles, cossacks, clergy, petty bourgeoisie, peasants, as well as metropolitans and Ukrainian hetmans (Ivan Mazepa, Pilipp Orlik, Pavel Polubotok, Pyotr Doroshenko, Ivan Skoropadskyi and others). The follosing great people studies science here: M. Lomonosov and G. Skovoroda. In 1817 the academy was closed. In 1819, the Kiev Theological Seminary was re-opened, and then the Academy. In Soviet times, a naval political school was located on its territory. And only in 1992 there was an official opening of the University “Kiev-Mohyla Academy” – the beginning of the revival. Today it is one of the most popular universities.
X Bell tower of the St. Catherine Convent. A wooden church was built in 1738, a stone baroque temple was built instead of it in 1739–1741. It was transformed into the St. Catherine’s Monastery with the canonical submission of the Sinai Archdiocese in 1746. a stone bell tower was build in the style of neoclassicism near the temple in 1857. The monastery was the center of Greek spirituality and culture. The temple was destroyed and the monastic buildings were nationalized and used for economic needs in 1929. The bell tower was remained, which was restored in 1995. In 1995, the former monastic complex was transferred to the municipal property of the city in use for the needs of the National Bank of Ukraine.
X The Musical Theater of Opera and Ballet for Children is a monument of architecture of the period of Soviet constructivism. There were the best shops at contract fairs, and then – a large manufactory shop of I. Shvartsman. The house burnt down in 1919, and the construction of a room for the trade union of workers of the meat-canning industry was started in 1930. This was a period when the idea of cultural and educational institutions – palaces of culture, libraries and clubs became popular. Having been built by 1933, the building was distinguished by interesting interiors, convenient communication of premises for various purposes. The premise was intended for exploitation as the House of the Union of Food Industry Workers. A folk theater, a bandurist chapel, a choral chapel, a club of movie buffs, etc. operated here. Today it is the Kyiv Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theater for Children and Youth.
X House of Peter the First Great is a house in which Peter the First himself allegedly stayed in 1706 (not authentically confirmed), and it probably belonged to Ivan Mazepa the Ukrainian hetman. The building itself was built in the style of Ukrainian baroque at the turn of the XVII–XVIII centuries. The house was built on the territory of the estate, which had belonged to Bykovsky the famous Kiev merchant family since 1663. Bykovsky owned many yards, shops and lands on Podol. In the 1780s, the Kiev Magistrate bought almost all of their possessions from Bykovsky for huge money at that time. The house often changed its owners: since 1791 it was a “strait house” for the crazy, until the 1860’s. – Podolsk parish school, in 1870 – the house of F. Yanovsky the therapist, since the end of 1870 – Barracks, since 1883 – Alexandrovsky orphanage, since 1917 – residential building, since 1978 – a museum.
X Contract house was a marketplace for fairs in the past, built in 1815–1817. Not only the trade was conducted here until 1917, as well as deals and contracts were concluded, business meetings between landowners and merchants were held, and there was a concert hall on the first floor. The building was visited by the following writers, musicians, actors of the time: Gogol, Shevchenko, Mickiewicz, Balzac, Franz Liszt, the Wieniawski brothers, singer Angelica Catalani and others gave their concerts. The capital’s dramatic community put its performances here at the end of the XIX century. With the advent of railways, stock exchanges, press and telegraph, the house was rented for a reasonable price. There were the Academy of Commerce and the Trade Museum in the post-revolutionary period, but then technical schools. Now the Ukrainian Interbank Currency Exchange is represented in the building. The building is protected by the state as a historical, architectural and cultural monument.
X Cinema “Zhovten”. The story begins on November 8, 1930 and it was called the “Ninth Goskino”. This was the first cinema built after the October Revolution and the first detached building of a cinema in the city. The cinema was designed for 680 seats. The first session took place in 1931, when the premiere of the film “Hegemon” was held. It was one of the first cinemas in the USSR, where sound equipment was installed. In the years of war half of it was destroyed. During the years of German occupation, it was called “Gloria”. The cinema has been called “Zhovten” (“October”) since the post-war time. “Zhovten” has become a cult cinema for young people of several generations in many ways thanks to the non-standard approach to choosing films for demonstration.
X Post Square and the embankment is a link between the Upper Town, Pechersk and Podol. At this place there were the quays of ancient Kiev, whose place was later occupied by the River Station. The area of the square began to be occupied in the IVth century. It was called Khreshchatik (after the name of its origin) in the XVIIth – the first half of the XIXth century. Historians believe that this is one of the oldest squares of the city, founded back in the days of the founding of Kievan Rus andit was one of the Kiev markets. The modern name is associated with the Postal Station, built here in the 50’s of the XIXth century. Initially, Pochtovaya Square was given one of the main roles. It was to become the most important transport road with a multi-level interchange to unload the highway in the direction of the Podolsk-Resurrection Bridge. There have been no capital buildings from the side of the Dnieper for a long time. there were landing jetties of docks near the shore and there were folded forest, bags and other cargo next to it on the ground. At first, only cabmen and horse-drawn carriages arrived on the square at the entrance to Podol. In the 1890’s. the rails of the first Kiev tram lay on the Vladimirsky descent here. An important page in the history of Pochtovaya Square was the construction of a new River Station, ended in 1961. At that time, river transport was not only entertaining and walking, but also a highly sought-after means of transport – both intraurban and intercity.
X Old post station is an old one-storeyed post office building in the center of Poshtova Square, which has been preserved since 1846. A regular horse-post service between Moscow and Kiev was opened in 1669. In the same year, the first postal station was built in Kiev. In 1725 the provincial chancellery issued a decree on the construction of a post court on Podol, considered to be the administrative center of the city. Gradually the station expanded, rebuilt, and it has been turned into a big transport hub by the beginning of the XIX century. After the fire in 1811 in the 50’s. of the XIXth century stone post office building was built. It was served by horse carriages. Here the work was carried out concerning correspondence, horses were changed to postal employees. The postal station carried out postal operations and long-distance transportation of passengers on the stagecoach. The station had been operated until 1919. Later there was a communication service. Until now, the main building of the station has been preserved, which is protected by the state as a monument of architecture in the style of classicism.
X The railway station is the main river station of the capital. Since ancient times Podol was the shopping center of Kiev. In the XIX century the ship began to walk actively on the Dnieper river and many piers stretched along Podol along the river. Only in the middle of the XIXth century a marina with a length of 1770 m was built here. The lower part of this pier was received by passenger ships. In 1897 a river port was built. In 1899 the Harbor was officially opened with a berth line at 3156 m. It became one of the largest river harbors in Europe. Most of the cargo was delivered by barges here. There were dining rooms, teahouses, restaurants and low-budget hotels along the harbor, the pier and the nearby streets. In 1953 the construction of a new river station building was started and it was completed almost 10 years later. The grand opening of the new river station in Kiev took place in 1961. The very structure of the river station was a highlight of Soviet architecture – except for the bizarre shape, the walls of the station were lined with Inkerman limestone, the “masts and sails” of the station were partially covered with gold. Today, the river station resembles a giant white ship.
X The pedestrian bridge was erected in 1957, it was called the Openwork bridge during the Soviet era. Even then, the authorities assumed that Trukhanov Island would become a favorite holiday destination for many Kievites, but there were those who were skeptical about this venture. Hydrotechnists did not believe that the bridge would be erected, and made a bet with A. Zavarov the architect. He won a bet and got a prize – a box of champagne, right at the opening ceremony. Reconstruction of the bridge was completed in 2012, when the active preparation for Euro-2012 was conducted. The length of the bridge stretches to 439 m. The height above the Dnieper is 26 m. This is a wonderful place from which you can admire the city from different angles.
X The monument to the first tram is set for the 100th anniversary of this type of transport in Kiev City. An electric tram began to run on Vladimirsky descent in 1892 for the first time in Eastern Europe. The idea belonged to A. Struve, the engineer and entrepreneur. He offered the city authorities an alternative to a traditional horse, which was not efficient on the streets of Kiev, abounding in steep slopes and descents. The first tram line with a length of 1.5 km run on Vladimirsky descent. The experiment was considered to be successful. A few years later the total length of the trams of Kiev trams was 50 km. The project paid off very quickly, and soon the electric tram completely supplanted the urban transport by horse and steam traction.
X Column of the Magdeburg Law was built in 1802-1808 in honor of the return of Kiev Magdeburg law and it is located at the Vladimir hill – a stone chapel, which was crowned with a column with a small gilded dome with an inscription at the foot of “St. Vladimir the Enlightener of Russia”. In the arched pedestal of the chapel octagonal pool with a fountain, fed from the water-well was originally installed. It is believed that Kiev received the Magdeburg right at the time of Lithuanian-Polish domination in Ukraine at the end of the XVth century. More than 1000 years ago, according to the legend, there was a stream Khreschatyi, where Vladimir the Prince baptized his sons. In 1915 a ladder from Vladimirsky descent was laid to the monument. The column has the form of a monument made in the form of a tall white column of the Tuscan order, 18.4 m high.
X Kontraktovaya Square is the central square of the Lower city, the main bargain of ancient Kiev was located on the site of it. Since the XIIIth century the market is represented on the site of the modern Kontraktovaya Square, but according to the decree of Paul the Russian Emperor in Kiev, annual contract fairs begin to take place at the end of the XVIIIth century, hence the name of the square. In 1494 Kiev got the right to have a city government, and then the area turns into an administrative center. There is the Magistrate (it has not survived until now) and the square aquires the named of Magistratskaya. The well-fountain called Samson was built in 1748–1749. The main building of the Kontraktovaya Square is Gostiny Dvor (under reconstruction). The building, built in 1809, served as a shopping center here, even in the XIX century. There were more than 50 stores. The Kontraktovyi Dom (built in 1817) is located next to it is. The landlords and noblemen gathered here, commercial deals were concluded, ballets from Madrid and Warsaw, writers Pushkin and Balzac came here with tours. The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Pirogoscha (Kontraktova Square No. 1) is considered to be one of the most ancient shrines in Kiev. Its interior decoration is described in “The Lay of Igor’s Host”, the walls are decorated with frescoes, the floor – with mosaic slabs. The temple was built in 1132–1136 by Mstislav and Yaropolk the Princes, the sons of Vladimir Monomakh.