Podol is one of the oldest parts of Kyiv. The first mention of Podol (or as it was called “Podolia”) can be found in the ancient chronicles, for example, in the legendary Nestor-chronicle “The Tale of Bygone Years”.
Tha ancient Kyiv Podol was situated along the river Pochajna shoreline and its another side was surrounded by mountains: Starokiivska, Schekavitsya, Horevitsya and Zamkova. Due to such disposition Podol was also called “the Lower City” as it layed at the foot of the mountain Starokyivska, on which “the Upper City”, Kyivan princes and boyars place of residence, was located. It is worth saying that such a part of the city as Podolia was traditional for the ancient cities and performed the function of the center of handicrafts and trade.
THE HISTORY OF PODOL
Podol has a long and rich history. Although the first mention of it dates back to 945 year, the scholars have proved that the Kyiv-Podol was inhabited in the 8th century AD and the first settlements appeared in the late Paleolithic period. And the discovery of the first settlers archeologicalsite in Cyril Street by Vikentiy Hvoika, an archaeologist, confirms this fact.. In 1973 a city block with pavements of 9-11 century was discovered not far from Zamkova gora. During the construction of underground, several blockhouses of approximately 10th century have been found.
This is not the only evidence of Podol’s centuries-long history. The names of its main streets – Borisoglibska, Bratska, Voloshska, Igorevska, Horyva and Schekavitska also indicate the antiquity . As well as reconstructed churches – Cyril Church, the Church of Elijah, the Prigoscha Mother of God Church and others which are mentioned in Nestor’s Chronicles.
Since ancient times till nowadays, Podol’s districts historical names have preserved: Gonchary, Kozhemyaky, Degtyary and Torzhische (Kontraktova square). These titles have been given in accordance with trade and artisan settlements of that time. Podol belonged to the places through which the most famous trade route “from the Vikings to the Greeks” passed. Like any other town, Podol was encirculed with a wooden wall with fortifications as well as with the moats and ramparts, which were located in the modern Verhniy and Nyzhniy Val streets.
In 1124 a fire almost wiped Podoloff the face of the earth , but people quickly restored wooden houses and the churches.
In the middle of 13th century Podol became a major part of Kyiv, after the devastation inflicted by Batu Khan horde, which had attacked the Upper City. Thus, in the 15th century Podol got the Magdeburg right of self-government, which was given to the largest European cities. During the next 300 years Podol has grown and become a center of handicrafts and trade. At the beginning of XVІІ century the priest Job Boretsky opened the first parish church and in 1620 he became Metropolitan of Kyiv and the rector of the Kyiv Brother School.
During the 17th century the active building works have been conducted at Podol. And that was how such significant projects as: Magistrate (City Hall), Kyiv Academy and Kyiv Brotherhood appeared. At the same time the decoration of the facades of old churches was carried..
Catherine II commissioned a redesign of Podol, but residents did not want to leave their houses. But in 1811 the biggest and most horrific fire spread from Andriivsky uzviz to Glybochitsa. It burned more than 300 houses, nearly 20 churches and 3 convent. After the fire new streets in classical have been built in Podol. Unfortunately, that spoiled the special flavor of Podol. All streets came together in Kontractova Square. We still go along these streets.
Today Podol is included in the State Historical-Architectural Reserve “TheAncient Kyiv” . There are 226 monuments, 431 building with an ancient architecture and 99 houses of memorial significance on its territory.
For more detailed information please read the article “Podol’s churches and temples”.