Probably the most beautiful street in Kiev, Andriyivskyy Uzviz (Andrew’s Descent). It winds down a hill to the Podil district, past historic buildings, museums, artists and art vendors, souvenir stalls, and a few touristy restaurants.
Since the street is situated on a hill, you can obviously either walk up or down. Living in Istanbul, I deal with uphill walking every day (it gets old – trust me). Therefore, it was a natural choice to tackle the hill from the top (it’s called “descent”, not “ascent”, after all).
I first took the Kiev Funicular up from the Podil district and visited St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. From there, I walked towards Andriyivskyy Uzviz but made a quick detour.
I turned left and headed around the corner to the location of the now-ruined Desyatynna Church (Church of the Tithes). It was built in 989 and fell during a Mongol siege in 1240. It was rebuilt in the 19th century but destroyed by the Soviets in 1928. The ruins were fenced off, so I didn’t exactly see anything.
Nearby the ruins are the small St. Nicholas Bishop of Myra Church and the Ukrainian National History Museum. I skipped the museum.
Heading to Andriyivskyy Uzviz, the first thing I saw was St. Andrew’s Church, completed in 1747. It’s the patriarchal cathedral of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Legend has it that St. Andrew the Apostle came to the area during his travels, erected a cross on the exact same spot the church is built, and prophecied a great Christian city.
The church was built in the Baroque style and has a very ornate interior as well. It was commissioned by Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, who planned to personally care for the church. When she died, it was left without funding, no congregation, and no bell tower to call anyone to services. The city took over the church and regular services were held until the Soviets closed it in 1932. Services were restored from World War II until 1961, and in 1968 it was turned into an architectural museum.
After visiting the church, I began my walk down the street and noticed an interesting yellow building on the left. It’s the Academy Theatre, built in 1900. There were once two cupolas on the top but it’s believed they were removed by the Soviets. Nearby there’s a nice park with a monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.
Further down is the Castle of Richard the Lionheart, a mansion built in 1902 by Dmitry Orlov. After a scandal regarding construction permits, which were never cleared with the city, it was renamed from Orlov House to the Castle of Richard the Lionheart.
Near the mansion on the right side is a stairway. If you climb up, there’s a terrace where you can get a nice panoramic view of the area.
Continuing along as the street as it winds down the hill, there are a few interesting buildings. One of them is the house of Mikhail Bulgakov, a Kiev-born Russian writer, built in 1888. Inside is the Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, but it was closed when I passed. I would like to have seen it even though I’ve never heard of Bulgakov.
There are a few more interesting buildings, including the Koleso Theatre, as you come to the end of the street and it flattens out.