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Kreschatyk - Main Street of Kyiv

In ancient times in the place of today Kyiv's central thoroughfare there was a wooded valley where Kyivan princes liked to hunt. The valley's name was Khreshchata (Crossed) because of the many ravines that crossed it. Hence, when it began to be built up in the 30s - 40s of the 19th century, the street which was formed here acquired the name of Khreshchatyk.
In the 70s - 80s of the last century Khreshchatyk became the town's main street. It was lined with the best income-producing apartment houses, hotels, important banks, offices, agencies, cinemas, stores, post-office, the City Duma, Nobles' Assembly, stock exchange, theatre. The greater part of the last-century buildings was heavily damaged during World War II. The street's look is now determined by the architectural ensemble of the 50s of this century.
The main street of the Ukrainian capital is not long, about 1200 m, but it is, as it was, a business, commercial and cultural centre of the city. The street is strikingly attractive. Everyone, being in Kyiv for the first time, longs to see Khreshchatyk itself, where roads running to the city's historical parts intersect as before. A breath of the nice olden times dear to our hearts seems to be all around.

The building of the former Merchants' Assembly in European Square (Yevropeiska Ploshcha), built in the Renaissance style, has one of the finest concert halls with excellent acoustics. It is erected in 1882 to the design of architect V. Nikolayev. Since 1923 it has housed the National Philharmonic Society. Opposite the building, at the Volodymyr Hill foot, the Ukrainian House, the major cultural centre in Kyiv, was erected in the early 80s of the 20th century.

Kyiv's main square is Independence Square (Ploshcha Nezalezhnosti) that acquired its present appearance after reconstruction in 1981. The 5000-spurt fountain became its dominant. In 1996 a monument to Archangel Michael (sculptor Yu. Marchenko) was unveiled nearby the Central Post Office. Since ancient times Archangel Michael was considered Kyiv's patron saint, and the portrayal of this divine warrior was an official coat of arms of the city from the 18th century to 1919. The monument is set up in the geographic centre of Kyiv. Its pedestal is covered with inscriptions showing distances to the largest cities and capitals of other countries of the world.

Some marvelous specimens of architecture of the beginning of the 20th century survived in Khreshchatyk. The block between B. Khmelnytsky Street and T. Shevchenko Boulevard is the late 19th - early 20th-century town-building monument of great value. In terms of the present-day approach it boasts small comfortable buildings depicting variety of architectural styles at the turn of the 20th century.

The post-war building-up of the street was performed according to the common project and notable for the magnificence of architectural decor. The multi-storeyed apartment and administrative buildings are faced with light ceramics, red and grey granite. One of them (No. 36) houses the Kyiv City State Administration and City's Council of People's Deputies. In 1995 a bronze coat of arms of Kyiv, depicting Archangel Michael, was set up above the building entrance. Numerous ministries and departments, diverse stores, restaurants and cafes are located hi Khreshchatyk.
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