The Podil district of Kiev is a flat area near the Dnipro River. The area is full of historic churches and is the home of the Chernobyl Museum, but there are some other highlights for visitors who take the time to explore it.
Kontraktova Square is the focal point of Podil. It’s one of the oldest squares in Kiev and serves as a transport and economic hub. The square gets it’s name from the contracts that were reached at the commodities market that was once there. Unfortunately, the Hosting Court, which is the main building in the center of the square, was behind large fences and scaffolding. The locals told me it’s a beautiful square when it isn’t under construction.
The Fountain of Samson, built in 1748, sits in the middle of the square and is one of its most popular attractions. It was destroyed by the Soviets in 1934 and rebuilt in 1981.
Around the square are several historic buildings. The Contracts House, built in 1815, gives the square its name. Until 1917, all contracts in the city had to be signed in the building.
Other buildings are part of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, one of the Ukraine’s best universities. It dates back to 1615 and boasts several notable alumni in politics, art, writing, and the Orthodox church.
On the north side of the square is the Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theater for Children and Youth, founded in 1985. On the south side is the Nazaire Suhoty House, built in 1804 for a rich merchant.
The main road that intersect with Kontraktova Square is Petra Sahaidachnoho Street. Along it, there are lots of restaurants, cafes, and entertainment venues.
There are also some nice buildings to keep your eye open for.
At the other end of Petra Sahaidachnoho Street is Poshtova Square, another historic square in Kiev. The Kiev Funicular is located there. It takes passengers up to St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, Andriyivskiyy Uzviz, St. Sophia Cathedral, and more attractions.
Towards the river from this point is the Kiev River Port, where you can catch a relaxing one-hour scenic river cruise.
Throughout the rest of Podil, it’s worth wandering through the quieter streets away from Kontraktova Square. You’ll be rewarded with some beautiful architecture and colorful buildings.