City Attraction: Besarabsky Market in Kyiv

City Attraction: Besarabsky Market in Kyiv

Besarabsky market, which is also called “Besarabka” by Kyiv dwellers, is one of the largest and oldest markets of Ukrainian capital. Nowadays, it is a roofed space, located in the very heart of Kyiv on the west part of famous Khreschatyk street. Besarabsky market is known for the high prices as well as for the highest quality of products. Let us consider some interesting facts about the history of Besarabka.

This beautiful building with a high ceiling is used for selling premium quality vegetables, fruits, meat, flowers, elite coffee and tea for more than a hundred years. The famous politicians, diplomats and artists are regular customers of Besarabska, which explains market`s VIP prices. There are two legends about the origin of the market`s name. According to the first version, Besarabsky market took its name from Besarabian merchants, who were doing business in this area before the construction of market building. The second legend says that the name “Besarabsky” came from the words “basarabs” or “bastarads”, which mean poor homeless people, who were coming to Kyiv from the South. Those people were looking for a better life, and when they did not succeed in that, they just started to hang around at the location of modern Besarabsky market.
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The building of Besarabsky market was constructed in 1912. The whole construction process was financed by Lazar Brodsky, a Jewish businessman and a sugar factory owner. Lazar Brodsky lived in Kyiv and was a millionaire. He was a benefactor during his life and even after his death in 1904. His testament clearly stated that he left 500 000 rubles for the construction of a roofed market in Kyiv. Besarabska square was a perfect place for such a building, particularly because dirty street trading in the end of beautiful rich Khreschatyk street spoiled the city look.
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Besarabsky market was built according to the project of Polish architect Henryk Gay, who had previously designed roofed market in Warsaw. The construction works began in 1910, and the official opening of the market took place on 3d July 1912. Besarabsky market is a very interesting building not only because of its functional part, but also due to its internal and external decor. Talking about architecture of Besarabsky market, we should surely mention its highly modern exterior, which corresponds to the newest European architectural tendencies of the period of its construction.
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Besarabsky market is notable for the beautiful windows of outside shops and interesting compositions in building exterior, for example, the figures of a girl with a jar, fishes, a peasant with an ox and many other. Besides that, two towers of the building served not only as esthetical, but also as functional elements. One of the towers served as a water storage, and the second one contained a compressor. The functionality of the market was very developed for the beginning of XX century. Besarabsky market was the first roofed market in Kyiv, equipped with powerful underground refrigeration plant, which was a real technological innovation in that time. This plant was demounted only a few years ago.
Nowadays, Besarabsky market is the main premium market of Kyiv. It is the first market in Ukrainian capital, which began to work 24/7.
Visit Besarabsky market to know more about Kyiv history.
Address: 2, Besarabska square
Photo source: All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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