A Walking tour of the Pechersk District of Kiev
Ancient city of Kiev with its numerous interesting sights, varied historic monuments, makes for a fantastic holiday destination. There are several districts in Kiev which are best explored on foot and this guide will introduce you to Pechersky district or simply Pechersk. The walking tour also covers the interesting and prestigious Lipki area of the city. The whole route takes about 3 hours follow and is a pleasant introduction to Kiev.
Introduction to Pechersk
Pechersky district occupies the hills of the right bank of the river Dnieper. Its name derives from Ukrainian "pechera", i.e., a cave. The history of the district dates back to the ancient times and is closely connected with the world famous Kiev-Pechersk Lavra representing a unique Monastery complex including about 20 different in age and style temples and churches as well as the Near and the Far Caves. The Pechersk Lavra Monastery is a must for visitors to Kiev, however, to explore it more or less you will have to spend a whole day, at least.
The stunning Pechersk Lavra complex
In the 19th century Pechersk became one of the most prestigious districts of Kiev. Well-to-do Kievans and nobilities began to build luxurious private residences and fascinating palaces in the most prestigious and aristocratic area of Pechersk called Lipki. The name Lipki (i.e., small lime trees) is associated with the lime tree grove that was planted in this area in the middle of the 18th century. It is just this area that we recommend you to visit.
How to get to Lipki
The walking tour begins at the Maidan Nezalezhniosti (Independence Square) metro station which is located in central Kiev in Khreshchatik Street. We will walk up the Gorodetskogo Street passing by the grand building of the Musical Academy of Ukraine and admiring the highly decorated facades of several buildings, which line the street. The street runs to a square in which the building of Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theatre is standing that was built in 1898. In front of the theatre there is a small park with sculpture to famous Ukrainian comedian M.Yakovchenko who had been working in the theatre for many years. We will turn to the left and walk along Olginskaya Street heading for our first destination – Institutskaya (Institute) Street. The whole walk takes no more than 10-15 minutes.
Attractions of Institutskaya Street
There you will see a beautiful building of the former "Privileged Boarding School for Daughters of the Aristocracy" erected in 1838. It was constructed in the late classical style according to the design of V.Beretti. Now it is the International Centre of Culture and Art.
Institutskaya Street hosts one of the Kiev best Byzantine style buildings – that of the National Bank of Ukraine erected in 1905. This imposing building has rich decorated exterior preserved unchanged to our days. The façade is adorned with marble columns, elegant ornamental designs, while the decorative turrets at the building corners are supported by the sculptures of giant gryphons.
What to see in Bankovaya Street
From Institutskaya Street we will go to the nearby Bankovaya Street. Its stand out attraction is the so-called "Dom s Khimerami" (House with Chimaeras), which was built by V.Gorodetsky in 1901-1903. It stands in a few minute walk from the National Bank. This house became the main tourist attraction since its appearance. It represents an extraordinary Art Nouveau construction of unusual shape highly decorated with various mystical and real creatures such as eagles, frogs, mermaids, etc. The figures of exotic or mythical animals are sitting on the roof, crawling on the walls or hanging over the entrances.
Kiev is full of stunning monuments
There is another interesting attraction in this street – the so-called "Pryanichny Domik" (Gingerbread House), a nice four-storeyed Gothic style building. The façade of this fabulous building is highly decorated. Its main feature was the sliding bamboo ceiling. It was made by its owner in order to keep up Judaic tradition to live in the open air during the Feast of Booths. Nowadays it belongs to the Writers’ Union. There is an expensive the “Sad” (Garden) restaurant in the house yard famous for gourmet foods of European cuisine.
Lyuteranskaya Street and its attractions
A short walk will lead to Lyuteranskaya (Lutheran) Street in which one of the most amazing villas in the capital is located. The house was built in 1907 in Art Nouveau style and is known as "Dom Plachushchey Vdovy" (The House of Weeping Widow). On its façade you may notice a stylized face of a woman with the leaves of horse-chestnut above it. When it rains it seems that the tears are running down her stone cheeks. This house is considered as one of the best examples of Art Nouveau style in Ukrainian capital.
The street also features the St. Catherine’s Church erected in 1857. It is the only Lutheran temple in Kiev that was built in simplified Gothic style, which was famous for its excellent internal acoustics. The Church is functioning now and open from 8:00 to 21:00.
Things to see in Shelkovichnaya Street
Another short walk leads to Shelkovichnaya (American mulberry) Street, where you will admire the pretty two-storeyed "Shokoladny Domik" (Chocolate House). This strange but "sweet" name is connected with intense brown color of building’s façade, which due to its numerous sculptural decorations resembles the stick of an exquisite chocolate. It is highly recommended to visit this house from 11:00 to 17:00 every day, except for Monday and Thursday as it boast an amazing interior. There are several very different in their interior halls: “Japanese Cabinet”, “Mauritanian Hall”, "Gothic Dining Room", etc. Now it is the branch of the Kiev Museum of Russian Art. Adjoining the “Chocolate House” is a wonderful house built in 1901 and resembling a Gothic palace. It is much better to admire its beautiful façade from the opposite side of the street.
The Dnieper River of Kiev
There are many other interesting attractions and places in this area and in Pechersk on the whole. You will appreciate strolling about Lipskaya Street, which is lined with several deserving attention houses and buildings. There is an expensive "Lipsky Osobnyak" restaurant in this street, which is recommended to visit if you want to taste the best cooked traditional Ukrainian "borshch". The restaurant is also famous for cooking dishes according to the recipes of the 18-19 century.