Kreschatik – the main street of Kiev
The main street or square of the city is always considered to be a one of its symbols. For example, Paris is often equaled with Champs Elysees, Moscow – with Red Place and so on. In consciousness of Kievans and tourists the city is inconceivable without Kreschatik and Independence Square – main street and square in Kiev.
Kreschatik unites the Bessarabian market and European Square. Being the main street of the city, it is neither the most ancient not the longest street in Kiev.
In ancient times there was a valley covered with deep forest, where a source flew. Along this stream passed a road – an ancient base of modern street. Numerous smaller steams run down to lower part of the city and crisscrossed. So the name of the street can be explained, as the word “Krecshatik” comes from “Krest” that stands for “Cross”.
In 18 century the part of the valley became the street, with small houses in one side of it. In 19 century Krecshatik takes such shape as it has today. Soon it adopted the superiority of Podol in business, industrial and commercial life of Kiev. Between the centuries of 19-20 the street was almost completely encumbered with one- or two-stored stone buildings, where bancs, shops, boutiques, offices were located. These buildings had all modern conveniences.
From the year 1892, a great part of Krecshatik was occupied by rails of first electric tramway in Russian Empire. But step by step the street became m ore and more active, so these rails were striped in years of 30th of the latest century.
During the World War II the entire street was completely destroyed, but rebuilt in 1943, just after the liberation of Kiev, in style of post-war Stalinist architecture. The street turns to a wide arterial road. Five streets like five sunrays united the main Independence square with the Upper Town.
Modern Krecshatik locates such points of interest as City Executive Board (Mayor’s Office), National Television Committee, Ukrainian House – famous exposition hall, two subway stations, and so on. The main part of the street is reserved only for pedestrians during the weekend and public holidays. The absence of traffic forms a deep contrast with the Krecshatik of workdays.
Kievans and city guests enjoy the promenades to feel the Kiev’s atmosphere, while listening performances of street musicians or admiring works of artists. Krecshatik is the center of shopping and leisure: souvenir boutiques, stores, cafes and restaurants are numerous here. Such walk won’t be boring or too long because the length of Krecshatik is a little bit more than one kilometer.