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Sagaydachnogo Street – the street without a single tree

In 1955 this street was identified for the first time in its present boundaries; it became a separate one and was named in honor of A.O. Zhdanov – the Soviet party and statesman.

Today Sagaydachnogo Street connects Poshtova Square with Kontraktova. Starting from the XVIII century it was sequentially called Mostova, Velyka Mostova, Oleksandrivska, Revolyutsii, Kirova, Zhdanova, and, finally, Sagaydachnogo. It would be interesting to know that it also included present-day Grushevskogo Street and Volodymyrskyi Uzviz. The street acquired straightness and empire style of buildings according to the plan of an architect Heste after the fire in 1811, and meanwhile, of course, lost its primordial lightness and beauty, but preserved the character – there were always major sales offices. The street starts with Poshtova Square, where one can see the restored Church of the Nativity. It was built in 1810-1814 years according to the project of A. Melenskyi and destroyed by Bolsheviks in 1935.The church was pulled down in spite of the fact that it was the place where was read the burial service for Taras Shevchenko, a great Ukrainian son and poet-revolutionary, from the 6th to the 8th of May in 1861. So it is more symbolic that today it is rebuilt again!

Today Sagaydachnogo Street is one of the major highways of Podol which is considered to be a tourist center of the capital of Ukraine. In 1989 it was renamed in honor of a national hero of Ukraine, hetman Petro Konashevych Sagaydachnyi, who was a proponent of Orthodoxy and Ukrainian culture. In 1620 he became famous for the victory of the Cossack troops over the Turkish-Tatar army near Khotyn … The status of the Bratska School was strengthened under his patronage. In 1622 Sagaydachnyi died and was buried in the courtyard of the Bratskyi monastery (the tomb did not remain).

Nowadays at the end of the street one can see a bronze picture of the hetman and his coat of arms, made by the sculptor A. Kusch.

The type of the street is also considered to be commercial, merchant and progressive because of the fact that in 1896 there appeared an electric tram for the first time in the Russian Empire, which connected the city center with Podol. In 1977 this historic tramline was dismantled. In 1904 there was built a funicular that connected the upper part of the city with Poshtova Square.

The street acquired its present architectural image in the course of the development in 30-40ies of the XIX century.

Modern architects supplemented this eclecticism and built a bank building in the contemporary style near the entrance to the funicular.

Kuprin

In 1894 a retired lieutenant and not so popular at that time writer Oleksandr Kuprin arrived to Kiev. Arriving to Kiev, he asked to drive him from the railway station to the cheapest furnished rooms.

It was a long way and, finally, going down a steep slope, they appeared at this place. It was morning. Having left his luggage in the room, Kuprin headed to the Dnipro and helped to unload a barge with watermelons and was paid a ruble and a half for it. That was enough for lunch and dinner.

It was the start of Kuprin’s Kiev life.

At the end of the XIX century there were situated low cost hotels " Dniprovska harbour" (building №4) and "Serbia" (building №2, now pulled down) at the beginning of the street. Olexandr Kuprin dwelled in these hotels in 1894-1896.

Merchants, craftsmen, civil servants, students, actors and disabled people often stayed in the rooms. These were the people who became the characters in Kuprin’s stories in his first book “Kiev types” and then in another one called “Miniatures”. His famous book “Pit” was based on Kiev material.

It is interesting that it was the street where Dolzhnikov’s well-known “Bookshop” with a library (called by people “chemist’s for soul”, “room for reading” and etc.) was situated and at that time it was attended by many people.

Dry Jam Factories

At the crossing of Sagaydachnogo and Adriyivska Streets buildings № 27a and 27b preserved its original forms. They belonged to a famous family of Kiev confectioners the Balabukhs. Their heirs owned a well-known factory of dry jam in Kiev till the revolution.

It started in 1787. Empress Catherine II visited Kiev and was accompanied by a Swiss confectioner Bailli. He stayed there for treatment because of his broken leg. He dwelled in Priork, where there were lots of orchards and he concluded that local fruits are unique ingredients for “dry jam”, candies and candied fruits.

So he taught Kiev residents, including the Balabukhs, his occupation of confection. Later the Emperor kitchen was supplied with famous Kiev jam. Spanish duke Monpansie exported a few poods of the Balabukhs’ confection in 1888. In 1889 merchants from Paris suggested to the Balabukhs to open a dry jam factory in France.

“Jolly Street"

At the post-war times a problem where to get alcohol in Sagaydachnogo Street was solved quickly. A corner food store, located in the building №41, was considered to be central and the best on Podol. Aquariums with living fishes that appeared later in customers’ bags, red caviar and sturgeon black caviar, salmon, chocolate soufflé, ham, Bulgarian wine in braided bottles, and also well-known “Negro de Purcari”, “ Fetyaska”, “Lidiya”… In this food store there was no foul smell and nobody heard dirty language in the cloud of alcohol smell at the department of wines and liquors. The smell of Zhytniy Market also didn’t reach this place

Buying a port wine “Tavrychnyi” for 3 rubles 27 kopecks (the era of so called “Fruit- Berry” port wine for 1 ruble 2 kopecks hadn’t come yet), young people were going along the street to Poshtova Square. One could have a nice time in the shop “Gastronomy” (building № 37), and also in a cosy café (building №14), and especially in a summer café overgrown with wild grapes (building №2).

This side street remained till present nice and native though it lost trees, the main pride of Kiev streets, after the reconstruction. But still one can always distinguish this street from streets without trees in Moscow or Kharkiv, because Kiev spirit flies here…

Based on the materials of the book "Forgotten pages of Kiev life" written by Vitaliy Bakanov


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