Podil is the oldest district of Kiev. The name “Podil” means something that is situated downwards. Blocks of this district used to be trading and crafting center of Kiev. Their names reflect this fact: Degtyari (someone who deals with tar), Gonchary (potters), Kozhemyaki (craftsmen who deal with leather). Kozhemyaki now is known as Vozdvizhenka that was mentioned in previous articles and is nowadays a town of millionaires. On the territory of Podil ancient constructions were found. Some of them date back to 9th – 11th century. In 17th century intensive building within Podil took place. Since 1797 annual fair was conducted.
Great fire damaged the district extensively in 1811 and after this event appearance of Podil changed a lot. Before this fire Podil was the most populous district of Kiev with its 2068 houses out of 3672 dwellings in all Kiev.
After this fire Podil was newly planned and great number of new streets appeared, which remained till our days. In this period were constructed such buildings as Kotractovyi house, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Shopping arcade and others. Historical heritage of the district was studied heavily throughout 1960-70’s when more then 3 000 constructions of Podil were inspected among them 226 monuments, 431 architectural ensembles and 99 memorial buildings.
Nowadays Podil is one of the main tourist attractions of Kiev and generally speaking it is the heart of old city. It is very European, very stylish and elegant. If you don’t know where to start your Kiev tour you may without a doubt start it at Podil and you won’t be disappointed. There are different ways to get there, but perhaps the easiest one is to go to underground station Kontraktova ploscha. There you can grab a bite at trapezna Akademia and continue your tour walking around or going upwards Andriyivskyy Descent. If it’s too hard for you to move upwards, you can choose easier way by going down Andriyivskyy Descent from underground station Zoloti vorota through Volodymyrska street.
As for Andriyivskyy Descent it is very popular tourist destination and probably it is the place where you can hear people speaking foreign languages the most out of all city. The thing it that it is the place where all kinds of national souvenirs are sold including those with soviet symbolic, handmade items, different vintage items, like badges and old cameras and so on. The only downside is that the goods at Andriyivskyy Descent are mostly overevaluated and it’s quite hard to get a bargain. Still some very rare and pretty items can be found there and sometimes they worth the price.
Andriyivskyy Descent is second most popular Kiev street after Khreshchatyk. People love it so much for the special atmosphere of the street as it is very much alike 19th century style. In some sense it is a street-museum, as every building of Andriyivskyy Descent is special and has its own history. For example there are Richard’s castle there, St Andrew’s Church, Mikhail Bulgakov’s museum, Museum of one street, which is dedicated to the history of Andriyivskyy Descent.
Since 1985 Andriyivskyy Descent became a popular place for any kind of art events. A lot of painters are drawing there open-air and sell their pieces nearby. Gradually Andriyivskyy Descent became full of various galleries and workshops. So the street has kind of bohemian chic to it. You can always meet there art students or just creative people wearing interesting clothes.
Also there are great number of restaurants and cafes at Andriyivskyy Descent, such as Art-café, Zamkove, Panorama. Theatre Koleso is situated here as well.