Andriyivskyy Descent Walk, Kiev

Andriyivskyy Descent Walk (Self Guided), Kiev

Andriyivskyy (Andrew's) Descent is a historic cobblestone street, running 720 meters (2,360 ft) downhill from the Upper (Old) Town of Kiev to the once commercial neighborhood of Podil (Lower Town), ending at Kontraktova Square.

According to a legend, there was once a sea where the Dnieper River now flows. When Saint Andrew, the Apostle came to Kiev and erected a cross on the spot where St Andrew's Church stands today, the sea retreated, partially remaining underneath the mountain on which Kiev sits. Back in the 18th century, when the church was erected, a spring opened beneath the altar. St Andrew's has no bells, because, as the legend has it, at the first strike of a bell the water shall come back and flood the left bank of the city.

Often advertised as the "Montmartre of Kiev", the Descent is a major tourist site – part of the national historic reserve "Ancient Kiev". It is also home to a number of landmarks. These include, other than the baroque-style St Andrew's Church, created by the imperial architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Castle of Richard the Lionheart – built in the early 1900s and originally supposed to be called Orlov House after the architect Dmitry Orlov; the famed Kiev-born Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov's house-museum – in which he and his family lived in the early-20th century; and the Museum of One Street – recounting history of the Andriyivskyy Descent; to mention but a few.

For a more detailed acquaintance with these and other prominent attractions on the Andriyivskyy Descent in Kiev, take this self-guided walking tour.
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Andriyivskyy Descent Walk Map

Guide Name: Andriyivskyy Descent Walk
Guide Location: Ukraine » Kiev (See other walking tours in Kiev)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
Author: kane
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Saint Andrew's Church
  • Ivan Kavaleridze Museum-Workshop
  • Castle of Richard the Lionheart
  • Theater on Podil
  • Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Kiev Academic Theater " Wheel "
  • One Street Museum
Saint Andrew's Church

1) Saint Andrew's Church

Overlooking the old neighbourhood of Podil from the top of Andriyivsky Hill, Saint Andrew’s Church is one of the most splendid pieces of Baroque architecture in Kiev. It was built between 1747 and 1754 by a team of foreign and local architects, led by Ivan Michurin, to a design by Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The church was meant as a private temple for Russian Empress Elizabeth and thus had no parish or bells to call to masses.

Because of its location on the hill, the church is placed atop a two story stylobate which also acts as a foundation for the building. Shaped as a cross, Saint Andrew’s has one dome and five decorative spires. The interior and exterior were finished simultaneously, thus adding unity to the whole ensemble.

Right from its inauguration and until the recent times, Saint Andrew’s has endured many problems; among them losing the original cupolas to a violent storm in 1815 and closure by the Soviets in the 1930s. In 1992, the Kiev Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church took over the stylobate, and then assumed a complete ownership of the building on its 255th anniversary. Today, services are still held inside the church but at irregular times.
Ivan Kavaleridze Museum-Workshop

2) Ivan Kavaleridze Museum-Workshop

The Ivan Kavaleridze Museum-Workshop was founded in 1993 on Andriyivsky Descent , in building 21, where in 1911 the artist worked on a monument to Princess Olga .

Ivan Petrovich Kavaleridze (1887-1978) – Ukrainian sculptor, film director, and playwright, distinguished as People's Artist of Ukraine and colloquially referred to as “Ukraine's Michelangelo”.

The museum-workshop was opened on November 15, 1993. The founders of the museum are Nonna Kapelgorodska - niece of Ivan Kavaleridze, film critic, researcher, author of many works and studies on the works of IP Kavaleridze and Rostislav Sinko (1933-2010) - Ukrainian film director, stage sculptor, sculptor , Honored Worker of Culture of Ukraine, student, husband of N. Kapelgorodskaya, heir of Ivan Kavaleridze. Rostislav Sinko was also the director of the museum-workshop until 2008. The museum was opened by order of the Representative of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv Mr. Leonid Kosakovsky and on the initiative of many prominent cultural figures and politicians.

The museum houses more than 5,000 exhibits dedicated to the life and work of the master. Near the museum in a small garden are exhibited several works by the sculptor, which did not fit inside the museum, in particular, the original of the first monument to Princess Olga, who was beheaded by the Bolsheviks.

A memorial room of the artist is being arranged, which includes furniture and personal belongings donated by Rostislav Synko.

The museum has a creative studio, which has made several films about the artist, is engaged in the implementation of plans that he could not realize. The video hall and gallery "In the House of Ivan Kavaleridze" promote the best figures of national art and talented youth.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Castle of Richard the Lionheart

3) Castle of Richard the Lionheart

The "Castle of Richard the Lionheart" house was built from 1902–1904. It was originally supposed to be called Orlov House in reference to its constructor Dmitry Orlov. But because its owner failed to clear the house construction with the city's authorities, a major scandal arose. Viktor Nekrasov named the building "The Castle of Richard the Lionheart", after the 12th century English king in his book. It has been established that the modernized Gothic fronts were practically copied from a published design for a Saint Petersburg building by the architect R. Marfeld. But the stunning relief of Andriyivskyy Descent softened the effect of this plagiarism.

The cellar of the building contained a barber's shop, a grocery store and a butcher shop. The remaining premises were used as apartments for rent. When Dimitri Orlov died in 1911 while building a railroad in the Russian Far East, his widow, left with five children, had to sell off the house to pay her family's debts. In 1983, renovation works were started on the building to convert it into a hotel. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, various reconstruction works have been largely unsuccessful. As of 2009, the Castle of Richard the Lionheart still stands empty and fenced off in renovation.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Theater on Podil

4) Theater on Podil

Theater on Podil (officially: Kyiv Academic Drama Theater on Podil) is an academic drama theater in Kyiv, established in 1987 in historical Podil and directed by Ukrainian theater director Vitaliy Malakhov. In 2006, it got a title "Academic drama theater".

In 2017, it was fully renovated and reopened. The theater has provoked much discussion and criticism because of its modernist architecture. Many citizens did not like the reconstruction of the building in the historical part of Kyiv, which caused outrage and protests.

At the same time, there were many defenders of the new theater building, who believed that the Podil area needed modern architecture and wondered why Kyivans did not accept modern art.

In 2018, the reconstruction project of the Podil Theater won the Grand Prix of the Ukrainian Urban Awards architectural competition and took the first prize in the Architecture of Cultural and Social Objects category.

In 2019, the restored building of the Theater in Podil was nominated for the European Architectural Award Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov

5) Literature-Memorial Museum to Mikhail Bulgakov

The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum in Kiev is a bit of a blend between fiction and reality. Dedicated to Mikhail Bulgakov’s life and literary work, the museum was first opened in 1989, as a department of the History Museum, and then transformed into a separate entity, in which capacity it was unveiled to the public on May 15th 1991, on the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth.

The museum is located at the famous Andrew’s Descent, no. 13, the house in which Bulgakov was born and spent much of his life. The museum features two sections: the one representing the house itself, just as it was before the restoration, containing some of the original items; and the other one, hosting the collection of Bulgakov's exhibits. In fact, the museum depicts the life of two families at the same time - the real Bulgakovs, who once lived in the house, and the Turbins, the fictitious characters of Bulgakov’s “The White Guard” novel, also set in the same house. The imaginary and real worlds overlap here, complementing each other, just like a perfect dream. There are in total some 2,500 exhibits in the collection, including 500 belonging to the Bulgakov family. Many of them have been donated by the writer's relatives and the people who knew him personally.
Kiev Academic Theater " Wheel "

6) Kiev Academic Theater " Wheel "

Kiev theater "Wheel" opened its doors to the audience in May 28, 1988. Headed by the ideological inspirer Irina Klishchevskaya, the team received its own premises on Andreevsky Descent . In the 19th century, the Podolsk jeweler lived in this house, in the 20th century there were Soviet communal apartments. All the theater workers, both service workers and actors, took part in the transformation of a residential building into a theater.

Today, the theater "Wheel" is an integral part of the cultural life of Kiev , a favorite vacation spot not only for the people of Kiev, but also for numerous guests of the capital. The theater 's repertoire includes 26 productions. Among them are both classical Ukrainian and world drama, as well as the works of modern writers, folklore ethnographic, avant-garde and traditional performances. Almost all known genres are represented in the theater: drama , comedy , detective story , melodrama ,farce , one- man show , tragicomedy .

In the "Wheel" there are two stages. The main one, with 70 seats, is located on the second floor of the theatre. A great intimacy stuns those who find themselves in the theater for the first time, since the actors are at arm's length, the audience becomes witnesses of the secret processes that take place. The second scene in the "Wheel" is considered the cafe of the theater. On the ground floor, performances take place in a homely atmosphere that make the audience feel like they are direct participants in the performance.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
One Street Museum

7) One Street Museum

Located on the famous Andreevsky Spusk (Andriyivsky [Andrew’s] Descent), the One Street Museum is a small museum dedicated to the history of one street - Andriyivsky Descent - from its early days to the present, making it one of the kind institution in Europe. The museum was inaugurated in 1991 by a non-governmental, non-profit organisation - Artistic Society "Master" - whose main goal is to preserve the Ukrainian cultural heritage.

The museum houses over 7,000 artefacts telling the story of the landmark buildings on Andriyivsky Descent, including St. Andrew's Church, the Castle of Richard the Lion's Head and others. Some of the items on display illustrate day-to-day life of the Descent back in the 1930s, 1940s and 1960s. Other items, - postcards, newspapers, photos, umbrellas, autographs, manuscripts and historical documents, - recreate the atmosphere of the times long gone. The collection also features numerous books, signed by local authors, some of which are true rarities and unique copies. Special highlight is given to Mikhail Bulgakov, renowned Russian author and resident of Andreevsky Spusk in the early 1900s, whose literary works are widely presented at the museum.

The displayed objects seem to turn back time and recreate the atmosphere of the days in which generation of our grandparents and parents lived.

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