Podil is one of the oldest districts of Kiev, located along the banks of the Dnipro River. Several centuries ago there was the city's main port where come ships, laden with goods, pilgrims and simple curiosity. Now Podil is one of the most prestigious areas of the city, as well as a popular place for walks of citizens and visitors.
During the times of Kiev Rus Podil was trade and craft district of Kiev. It was the city's main port, harbor and customs office. Probably only in Podil, or as it was called the Lower City, retain the old names of the streets and tracts of Kiev Rus such as Schekavitska, Kozhumyatska, Khoryva, Borysoglibska.
On the antiquity of this part of Kiev indicate the archaeological excavations, in which were found blockhouses of 10th century. At the foot of Zamkova Hora Hill in 1973 have been unearthed an entire city block and wood marshalling – the sidewalks of 9-11 centuries. Also there is information about Podil in ancient chronicles such as "Slovo o polku Igorevim" poem.
As excavations and legends prove when Iziaslav first and then Svyatopolk second governed Podil became crowded trade center of Kyiv. Then, in the 12th century, it began to play an important role in the history of Kiev: many times citizens staged at a special Chamber and took part in all the affairs of the upper city. Then, during the princely strives and invasions of strangers, Podil as well as upper city repeatedly went through plunders and devastates. In the era of foreign domination in Kiev Podil’s fate has completely changed: it has become a favorite place of Polish kings and the Catholic clergy so as a result Podil even rose above the rest districts of Kiev. At this time, by the way, in the northern part of Podil on the nearby standing mountain was built city palace, in which concentrates all city government, and that’s why this mountain was named Zamkova. The castle was also the seat of the gernor of Poland and Castle Hill was named Kiselevka after one of them, aftet A. Kissel.
From XV to XIX century here located Magistrate, Kiev brotherhood, Kiev Academy and other citywide facilities, there were various craft shops.
Before the fire in 1811 Podil was the most populated district of Kiev - 2068 out of 3672 houses. After a fire destroyed most of the buildings Podil was re-planned (streets, which were made in that period are preserved up to now) began its restoration project of A.Melenski and V.Geste. Architects Melensky and Stanzapi developed different types of buildings. Consistent with the spirit of the time, the old designed baroque buildings and new buildings have features of four Roman styles, imagination and creativity of artists and the ease of baroque forms were driven by rigor and accuracy of the symmetric classicism. There were built Arcade, the new building of the Kiev Academy, Contract house and other buildings.
The first sight of Podil is Poshtova Ploscha Square. Here is the bottom station of the cable car in Kiev as well as reconstructed Church of the Nativity, where in May 1861 citizens said goodbye to Taras Shevchenko. Across the street from the square is located the River Station and the Dnieper embankment.
Sagaidachnogo Street leads out to Kontraktova Ploscha Square - the heart of Podil. The square got its name because in the 19th century fairs were held here and enter into "contracts" - prototypes of the current stock exchange transactions. In the center of the Kontraktova Ploscha Square, dividing it into two parts, stands Seating yard. Across the street from the Square there is the Kiev-Mohyla Academy, where in the different years studied such famous people as Grigorii Skovoroda, Gulak-Artemovsky, Pylyp Orlik and even Mikhailo Lomonosov. Another small, but no less interesting area is the construction of the rotunda, under which there is a sculpture of "Samson tearing the lion's mouth." A century ago there was a fountain and there was a legend that every person, who drunk water from the fountain, will always live in Kiev.