Andrew’s Descent and Chasing Rabbits

Known as the “Montmartre of Kiev” this famous street connects the Upper Town with the commercial Podil neighborhood.  It is a steep street filled with quaint shops, cafes, museums, and spectacular views.  The neighborhood attracts artists and writers and is a very fashionable place to live in Kiev.  The area draws its name from the dramatic and very baroque St. Andrew’s Church that was built by the Russian Tsaress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1754.

The pulpit inside St. Andrew’s Church

Elizabeth built the church to be her own private place of worship when she visited Kiev so there was no parish and no bell tower to call the faithful to service.  Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she died before construction was complete and the Kiev court had no interest in maintaining it so the building was maintained by private funds but it was in a state of sad repair.  Amazingly, original plans for the church were discovered in Vienna in the early 1960s, which made it possible to restore the building in the 1970s.  It is now owned by the Ukranian Orthodox Church and kept as a museum and tourist attraction.

A view of the descent
One of the many cafes that line the street
Looking back up the descent from halfway down. The base of St. Andrew’s Church is on the left

Many famous writers lived on this street, including Mikhail Bulgakov.  The street is lined with many statues.  The one below is inspired by the popular (at least in Ukraine) play “Chasing Two Hares” by Mykhalio Starytsky.  It was made into a movie as well.  In 1883 when the play was written, it was popular to link the titles of productions to popular folk sayings and proverbs.  In this case the proverb was, “If a man chases two hares he will catch neither.”  So, predictably this is story about a man who pursued two women, one for money and one for love, and lost both.

Statue depicting two characters in the play “Chasing Two Hares.”

Travel safe.  Have fun.  Be careful how many rabbits you pursue.

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