Today Podil district is the main cultural center of Kiev that attracts residents and tourists with beautiful architecture, historical monuments and bohemian atmosphere. It has retained its original charm and has become more comfortable and attractive for life in recent years.
Podil is one of the oldest districts of Kiev. Until the mid-twentieth century, it was inhabited mostly by merchants and craftsmen, which made it the commercial and industrial center of the capital. However, by the mid-1960s, it lost its former glory, and the locals began to leave their homes.
In the early 1980s, Podil found new life with massive reconstruction of the pre-Revolutionary houses, where galleries, museums and restaurants began to open.
With the romantic aura of district’s beautiful architecture, museums, experimental theaters and bars, Podil has now become the non-trivial home to Kiev bohemians, intellectuals and students of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, who often organize public lectures, film screenings and concerts of high-quality music at their alma mater.
Podil is very diverse area being home not only for the creative youth, but also for Kiev millionaires and showbiz stars, inhabiting luxury apartments and penthouses in Vozdvizhenka, and many Orthodox Jews, concentrating in the surroundings of Rosenberg Synagogue in Shchekavitska Street.
Because of the poor state of the pre-Revolutionary buildings, many locals sell or rent their apartments for the offices of Kiev companies. That is why Podil district is bustling at any time of the day: people come here to work in the afternoon and to walk through the old streets, drink in small hipster bars, listen to street music and see alternative theater in the evening. Not so long ago, the legendary ‘Zhovten’ cinema, which always screens non-commercial films, has been rebuilt after the fire, gathering creatives and intellectuals here. In addition, during the summer season, the fun parties’ list gets updated with the opening of half-underground bars and clubs in Trukhaniv Island nearby.
The district is famous for a large number of places of various formats: from democratic youth pubs to high level restaurants. For example, Sahaydachnoho Street is a popular business area and the other side of Kontraktova Square is famous for unique cafes, bars and clubs, to which people come from all over the city to Podil.
On the new promenade along Dnipro River, which is sometimes called ‘Miami in Kiev’ as a joke, Kiev residents and guests of all ages love to walk and rest. And next to Poshtova Square, there is the famous ancient Kiev funicular, one of the city's main attractions, which is a unique means of transport in Europe.
On weekends, the main tourist street of Kiev – Andriyivsky Descent - turns into a fair with souvenir shops, paintings and hand-made products. In addition to numerous architecture sites, old churches, museums, private galleries and theaters, many showrooms of Ukrainian designers, vintage shops, boutiques and creative stores are also located in Podil area.
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In recent years, the list of attractions of Podil has begun to fill up with the works of famous international street artists. Furthermore, there are several parks that make the territory of the district very green cozy. One of them is the ‘Samosad’ (Self-made Garden) in Spasska Street, created by the local residents, with planted flowers and handmade outdoor furniture.
Podil district of Kiev can brag with a large number of historic monuments and architectural sites, so its main streets are always filled with tourists, but it is pretty quiet in the depths of the neighborhood. Explore the non-touristic side of Podil district of Kiev and enjoy the true spirit of it!