St. Andrew's Descent
According to legend, St. Andrew's descent got its name from Saint Andrew the First-Called. The Chronicle of Nestor tells that after protracted attempts to spread Christianity in the Scythian lands, about two thousand years ago, the Apostle Andrew blessed the slopes of the Dnieper and predicted the appearance of a great Christian city. At the place where Andrew had put his holy cross, later the church, named after him, was built. At present Andrew's Church is the main adornment of the street.
In times of Kiev Rus Andrew's descent was the shortest route from the Upper City, where the Golden Gate and St. Sophia Cathedral were situated, to the Lower City – Podol. The city port and artisan districts were also located there.
In 1711, by the order of the Kiev governor, the passage between Zamkovaya and St. Andrew's hills was expanded and it became accessible not only for pedestrians and riders, but also for driving pulled by horses and oxen. After the October Revolution, according to the trends of that time, in 1920, St. Andrew's descent was renamed to G.V.Leaver Street. In 1944, it was decided to return the historical name of the street, but this occurred only in 1957, when authorities took re-solution. The main development of St. Andrew's descent was made at the turn of the XIX and XX centuries. Many prominent scientists, writers, composers, painters, sculptors lived and worked there.
Nowadays, Andrew's descent is sometimes called Kiev's Montmartre - the artists come here with their works for sale, and musicians. Here you can buy Ukrainian souvenirs - embroidered, painted pottery, figurines. The range includes a hero of Ukrainian souvenir production - knit character of the entire Ukrainian culture with the words "Thanks God, I'm not Moskal." There are many art galleries, art shops along the street. Every year in Kiev Day at St. Andrew's descent the vernissage of crafts is held. St. Andrew's Descent is a Street-Museum. At every step, you can observe something interesting, in the street reigns bohemian atmosphere of the late 19th - early 20th century. In honor of St. Andrew's Descent opened a museum dedicated to the history of the street, which is called the "Museum of one street". Today, apart from antique shops and art galleries, theaters, museums, cafes and restaurants, the descent is also famous for unique landmarks.
The main attraction of the descent is St. Andrew's Church, built on the enactment of Catherine II, the author of the project was Rastrelli. If you go beneath, you will get the opportunity to stumble upon one of the most mysterious and enigmatic buildings in Kiev - Castle of Richard. An important element of cultural background is the house number 13, where the writer Mikhail Bulgakov lived, the author of the novels "The White Guard", "Days of Turbin." At present this house is a museum of Bulgakov.
In these latter days, Andrew's descent lights in the news and resounds in public discussions due to its recent reconstruction. Euro 2012, as you know, was invoked to improve and develop Kiev. And the renovation of the descent was appointed to the top of the "euro". The first most frightening thing was, of course, the threat of building commercial and business centers, all kinds of offices. Other anxieties were concerned with the replacement of the old pavement, which covered the descent from the beginning to the end. Being bulky, broken and rather uncomfortable it gives a vintage look to this legendary place, focusing on its uniqueness. Scrubbing slabs that covers the historical center of the city do not go in comparison with unique paving stone.
Having been on the scene before and after reconstruction it is difficult to estimate the changes that have touched upon the street. It is difficult to deny that the street was westernized almost by force. A superficial glance of amateur of urban aesthetics will be enough for not going deeply to say about the beauty of the present St. Andrew's Descent. Polished facades, smoothness of pavement surfaces sinks into the soul of anyone who chooses to get philistines quick impression of the historically valuable architectural element. And the price by which this goal has been achieved is quite controversial: now there is talk that the historically valuable paving was bought up in private collections. Communications, utilities, and sewers under the descent could soon light up the news by surprises of all sorts. Even now, after repairing, the general public is actively talking about breakouts of sewers beneath St. Andrew's descent.
In general, the people are loudly trumpeting about the slipshod of produced repairs and responsibilities are thrown to each other. Precisely known only time-tested fact " everything done is all the better". And done on Andrew's descent was enough, there aren't any hesitations.