Andriyivskyy Descent

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Asia

Coordinates: 50°27′36″N, 30°30′59″E

General view of the Andriyivskyy Descent with the Castle of Richard Lionheart on the left and the St Andrew's Church in the background.
General view of the Andriyivskyy Descent with the Castle of Richard Lionheart on the left and the St Andrew's Church in the background.

Andriyivskyy Descent ( Ukrainian: Андріївський узвіз, translit.: Andriyivs’kyi uzviz; Russian: Андреевский спуск, translit.: Andreevsky spusk, literally Andrew's Descent) is one of the best known historic streets and a major tourist attraction in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is often advertised as the Montmartre of Kiev.

The descent contains the: Castle of Richard Lionheart; the baroque St Andrew's Church; Mikhail Bulgakov's house, a famous Kiev-born Russian writer; and numerous other monuments.


The beginning of the Andriyivskyy Descent near the St Andrew's Church.
The beginning of the Andriyivskyy Descent near the St Andrew's Church.

The street begins on the hilltop near the delicate late- baroque St Andrew's Church, which gave the street its current name, and descends to the Podil district were it ends at the Kontraktova Square. In past times the descent was known as Borychiv Descent mentioned as "Боричев увоз" (Borichev uvoz) by Nestor in his Primary Chronicle and in the 12th century poem, The Tale of Igor's Campaign (Slovo o polku Ihorevim). The current name comes from the 18th century, the time when the church was erected atop the hill.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, merchants and craftspeople inhabited the street. Although they are long gone due to the sweeping demographic changes in Kiev during times of the late Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, the street is once again thriving thanks to its unique topology, architecture, rich history and also many gift shops and small art galleries showcasing various paintings and sculptures by Ukrainian artists. The Descent is one of the favorite spots for Kievans and tourists alike. It is also notable for the many festivals it holds, including various art festivals and the Kiev Day celebration on the last weekend of May. The street's location and its attraction made it lately a highly prestigious area and several luxurious restaurants moved there as well. Recently, a decision was made to close off the descent for 2 years, in order to change the nearby sewer systems.


The descent, located between two hills, is the shortest passageway from the historic Old or Upper Town ("Князівська Гора"; Kniazivs’ka Hora) to the commercial Podil neighbourhood. One of the hills, known as Uzdyhal’nytsia, was the place where pre-Christian idols once stood (see: Baptism of Kiev), and another hill, called Zamkova (Castle), served as a castle hill during the Middle Ages. For many centuries, this passageway was very steep and inconvenient, which is the reason why it was not inhabited for a long time. Therefore the first buildings were erected here only in the 17th Century, and the first apartment buildings appeared in the end of the 19th century.


According to one legend, Andrew the Apostle visited the uninhabited mountains in the mid-stream of the Dnieper River. He put up a cross atop of the hill where the descent starts and prophecied a foundation of a great Christian city. Since then, wooden churches were built in the vicinity.

According to another legend, there was once a sea where the Dnieper River now flows. When St. Andrew came to Kiev and erected a cross on the place where the St Andrew's Church now stands, the sea went away. The only part that remained of the sea is under the mountain on which Kiev sits today. When the church was built there in the 18th century, a spring opened under the alter. The church has no bells, because, according to the legend, when the first bell strikes, the water can revive again and flood the left bank of Kiev.

The Castle of Richard Lionheart.
The Castle of Richard Lionheart.


  • St Andrew's Church (18th century)
  • Mikhail Bulgakov's house (late 19th century)
  • The Castle of Richard the Lionheart (20th century)
  • The Museum of One Street
  • Numerous monuments

The Castle of Richard Lionheart

The "Castle of Richard Lionheart" house was built from 1902– 1904. It was originally supposed to be called Orlov House, as it was built by one Dimitri 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 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 St. 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 Far East, his widow, left with five children, had to sell off the house to pay her family's debts. The house is currently being converted into a hotel.

The address plaque at the Bulgakov House displays an "incorrect" street name.
The address plaque at the Bulgakov House displays an "incorrect" street name.

Mikhail Bulgakov's house

Mikhail Bulgakov, a famous Kiev-born Russian writer, and his family lived on the street at two different houses in the early-20th century. In Bulgakov's novel The White Guard the author vividly describes the street (he calls it Aleksey Descent - "Alekseyevskiy Spusk") in the turbulent times of the 1917 Russian Revolution. The address, at №13, Andriyivskyy Descent is still commonly called the Bulgakov House and displays a plaque with the address the writer used in his book (№13 Alekseyevsky spusk).

A museum was opened inside the preserved building to mark the 100th birthday of Mikhail Bulgakov on May 15, 1991. The upper floor of the museum houses an exhibition of various Bulgakov objects, and the lower floor contains thematic exhibitions. The house, built in 1888 and designed by architect N. Gardenin, was thoroughly renovated before the opening of the museum. A memorial plaque with Bulgakov's portrait is now hanging on the front of the building.

St. Andrew's Church

Another attration of the Andriyivskyy Descent is the baroque St. Andrew's Church. It is located overlooking the Podil neighbourhood from the Andriyivskyy Descent, which gave the church its name. The idea to construct the St. Andrew's Church came from the Russian Tsaress Elizabeth Petrovna. When she visited Kiev in 1747–1754, she laid the foundation brick of the church with her own hand, after which the church was constructed, to a design by the imperial architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli.

As the Tsaress planned to take personal care of the church, the church has no parish, and there is no belltower to call the congregation to divine service. But she died before the construction ended, so the church was never cared for by Elizabeth Petrovna. After Elizabeth's death, the Kiev court took no interest in the church, which was last consecrated in 1767. Later, there were not enough funds to maintain the church, which left the maintaining of the church to private and voluntary funds, such as Andrey Muraviov.

In 1963, Rastrelli's original plans for the building were found in Vienna, Austria. This made it possible to reconstruct the original images on the building. The plan of restoration was carried out in the 1970s, overlooked by the main architect-restorer, V. Korneyeva. Since 1968, the church has been opened as a museum to tourists and visitors.

The One Street Museum

The One Street Museum is another main attraction of the Andriyivskyy Descent, which houses many of the historic items of the descent, containing more than 6,500 exhibits. They include information about the St Andrew's Church, the castle of Richard Lionheart, and the many other buildings of the Descent.

The monument to Pronya Prokopovna and Svirid Golohvastov
The monument to Pronya Prokopovna and Svirid Golohvastov

Also, the museum has a unique collection of various works by Ukrainian philologist P. Zhitetsky, Arabist and professor of the Kiev University T. Kezma, journalist and public figure A.Savenko, Ukrainian writer G.Tyutyunnyk, which have lived in the house №34 in the different periods of the twentieth century. Another important part of the collection in the museum are the is the memorabilia of professors of Kiev Theological Academy A. Bulgakov, S. Golubev, P. Kudryavtsev, F. Titov, A.Glagolev, famed doctors Th. Janovsky and D. Popov, and other prominent figures.

The museum also has a large collection of antique books. Book relics of the exposition include a famous Trebnik of the Metropolitan of Kiev Petro Mohyla, rare editions of works written by professors and graduates of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, unique books written by the Ukrainian Walter Scott, M.Grabovsky, the Defender of Orthodoxy, A.Muravyov, and the works of Mikhail Bulgakov published in his lifetime.


The Andriyivskyy Descent also has a number of monuments. One of them is the monument to Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of Novgorod and Kiev, depicts him holding a model of the Saint Sophia Cathedral. Another is the monument to Pronya Prokopovna and Svirid Golohvastov, which was unveiled in 1989, depicting two characters, Pronya Prokopovna and Svirid Golohvastov, from the play "Chasing Two Rabbits", which was written by Myhailo Starytskyi. And the last of the main monuments is the one dedicated to the famous Ukrainian poet and artist, Taras Shevchenko, located to the right of the monument to Yaroslav the Wise.

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