[Kiev map] [Printable version]
It seems like Khreshatik has long ago become the symbol of Kyiv. One gets an impression that Kyiv always evolved and grew around Khreshatik. However, it will be wise to mention that Khreshatik became Kyiv’s main street only about a hundred years ago. Before it used to be full of impenetratable bushes, “khreshaty ravine”, where the left inflow of the Lybid river flowed – the river Khreshatik. In the Kievan Rus times the hunters would place their nets (perevisy) here to capture animals. That’s where the name “Perevisyshe” came from. According to the documents of XVI-XVII centuries this area was known as Yevseykova valley, in the documents of XVIII century – as Pisky.
From the lake that was located near the modern Independence Square (Maydan Nezalezhnosti) flowed a stream; in the area of today’s Basseyna St. it joined Klov. Along the stream stretched the road to Vasylkiv. That’s where the Big Vasylkivska Street’s name came from. Along the Independence Square stretched the banks that protected the city. Near Myhaylovska St. stood the Liadski Gates (they were restored during the last restoration of the square). Here’s where the Ivanivska road started, running through the valley, form Podol to Pechersk (today Volodymyrskiy descent and Grushevskogo St.).
The constructions on the street began at the end of the XVIIІ century from Khreshatik ravine. The first houses were wooden. The first building made of stone was Mr. Golovynskiy’s mansion (built at the end of the XVIII century), though, until 1849 the provincial post office was located inside of it, including a department for diligences.
During 1804-06 Kyiv’s first city theatre under the management of A.I.Melenskiy was built at the beginning of the street. However, in 1851 this building was demolished and on its former location the “European” hotel was built, according to the project of O.V.Beretti.
But then again this building didn’t live till our days – during 1978-82 there was built the museum of Lenin (today – the Ukrainian house).
The formation of Khreshatik Street began in 1830-40’s. In 1870-80’s there were built three-storied houses with shops, office spaces and banks. From that time on it is considered to be the main street of Kyiv. It was extended to Bessarabska Square and the length of the street reached 1.2 km (Khreshatik is still considered the longest main street in Europe).