A city for ‘walkers’, Kiev traces centuries of history on one street

Walking through Kiev’s repository of history and travelers will find vendors selling old Lenin busts, Wehrmacht medals from World War II and banners proclaiming communism’s glory. Andrew’s Ascent or Andriyivky Uzviz is Kyiv’s most popular street with tourists and locals alike. Named after the Baroque St. Andrew’s Church, this street has earned its reputation of being Kiev’s Montemarte.

Once the connecting avenue between the aristocratic strongholds called the Upper City and the mercantile center of dockside Podil, the street has the air of history. Novelists like Mykhail Bulgakov lived on this street and the Richard the Lionhearts’s castle still looms, empty and foreboding to Ukrainian school children who still consider the uncompleted structure haunted.

The Days of Kiev celebrations in May find a home on the Uzviz when the street comes alive with vendors and artists, musicians and tourists. Famous galleries with stunning explosions of color in paintings and sculptures of winged beasts, compete with the street artists that may be talented or shilling for a contribution to their evening’s meal.

A dining destination, the street boasts good dinners and warm cappuccinos along buzzing outdoor patios. A local favorite, Chasing Two Hares, is a great place to watch shoppers haggle for bargains or relax over a glass of wine. Ukrainian dishes like varenyki and borscht are on the menu too.

Walking and people-watching are the best ways to enjoy Kiev’s road through history. Travelers with only a few days may find that a stop along this street will provide a wealth of information about Kiev in general. Others with more time on their hands and a desire to walk amongst Ukrainians young and old will gather stories for their travel journals with an eye towards history. Either way, Andrew’s Ascent is not to be missed.