Trams had been the primary way of public transportations in Kyiv for a long time. First equestrian trams (konka), and then electric ones roamed the streets. However, the peculiarities of the Kyiv relief led to the appearance of a wonder of technology, which has now become an integral attribute of Kyiv – the Funicular.
The very idea to build such a lift on the steep slope of Kyiv hill belonged to railway engineer Artur Abrahamson from Odesa, and the corresponding project was developed by engineer Mykola Piatnytskyi and architect Oleksandr Baryshnikov. Piatnytskyi was the initiator of the construction of the first funicular in Ukraine: in Odesa (1902). Equipment and cars for the Kyiv Funicular were made in Switzerland, where the best experience in the construction of cable cars could be found. Both cars accommodated seventy people and moved up and down at a speed of two meters per second. The Mykhailivskyi Electric Cable Car, as the Kyiv Funicular was then officially called, was inaugurated in May, 1905. It connected the upper terrace of Volodymyr’s Hill and Borychiv Descent in Podil. A special tram line was laid from the lower station to the Kontraktova Square, and together they formed a single route that operated until the 1930s.
During the entire existence of the Kyiv Funicular, there was only one collision of cars on it: during repairs in 1928. People were not injured, but the cars were smashed to pieces. Then the funicular was overhauled and the route was extended by almost 40 meters – to the current Sahaidachnyi Street. When the Funicular was opened after reconstruction in 1929, it was already on a modern route.
Since then, the Kyiv Funicular has been reconstructed several times, the rolling stock has been updated, and the stations have been rebuilt. The current architectural solution of both pavilions was implemented during the reconstruction in 1984.
The Funicular remains one of the favorite attractions of Kyiv: probably, because it allows you to appreciate the landscape of Kyiv and feel the romantic taste of olden days.