The Squares of Khreshchatyk in Kiev
Located at the bustling intersection of Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, Khreshchatyk, Krutyi Descent and Chervonoarmiiska Street in Kiev, Bessarabska Square was a trading post for immigrants from the historical region of Bessarabia until the 1840s. Today the Besarabsky Market, built in 1910-1912 and covering an area of almost 10,000 square feet, offers a huge variety of goods, including fresh produce and crafts, and is a popular shopping venue for locals and visitors to Ukraine’s capital city. The square was initially on the outskirts of the city, but as Kiev expanded in all directions it became part of the city’s center.
In addition to the market, Bessarabska Square features a more modern office and shopping complex known as the Mandarin Plaza, and the underground Metrohrad Shopping Complex. Another prominent feature of the square is the monument to Vladimir Lenin – the Russian communist revolutionary who had a huge impact on the politics and history of the region.
From 1869 to 1919, Bessarabska Square was known as Tsaraskaya Ploschad (Tsar Square), and during the Soviet Era was renamed Ploshcha Tretioho Internatsionalu (Third International’s Square) after a communist organization active at the time. The square carried the name of Stalin for a time before being named Ploscha Leninskoho Komsomolu (Lenin’s Komsomol Square) in 1961 and later renamed as Bessarabska Square.
Bessarabska Square is one of three squares along Khreshchatyk, the other two being the European Square and the Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Situated in the Old Town neighborhood of Kiev, the European Square has had a number of names over the decades of its existence. As a reference to the horse trading that took place there more than 200 years ago, the square was called Konnaya Ploschad, meaning Horse’s Square. In the early 1800s, after the construction of the first theater in the growing city, it came to be known as Teatralnaya Ploschad (Theater Square), before being renamed in 1962 as Yevropeyskaya Ploschad (European Square).
Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kiev and features a number of historic and cultural landmarks and attractions, including a Monument to the Founders of Kiev, the Lach Gates, the Independence Monument and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine.