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Photos author is Alexander Lytvyn

Richard’s Castle, Andriivskyi Descent

Concerning with the sight:

Richard’s Castle, Andriivskyi Descent

Every European city, and especially the capital, must have its own castle, old and a little scary. This was also the case in Kyiv: the castle was built in the second half of the 14th century, when the city became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The castle was the residence of the Kyiv prince, and after the abolition of the principality – the Kyiv voivode. However, by the end of the 17th century the castle fell into disrepair, and only the name of the Castle Hill remained.

In modern Kyiv, the Castle of Richard the Lionheart towers in Andriivskyi Descent. However, it is not a proper castle and has nothing to do with the English king of the 12th century. It is a five-story apartment building constructed by contractor Dmytro Orlov in 1902-1904. The building is stylized to resemble the English Gothic, it is decorated with spires, crenellations, and a spectacular tall tower stands right above the descent. The resemblance to the castle is due to the way the house is situated within the relief of the Uzdykhalnytsia Hill. Until 1911, Dmytro Orlov lived in the house with his family, and then the owners of the building were changing. According to an urban legend, at night, the inhabitants heard terrible howls caused by eggshells left in the chimney; this way the builders took revenge on the stingy customer. There is also a story about a fire that broke out during construction and made a depressing impression on Kyivites. Such a building could not do without the gloomy glory and the flair of mystery.

The name Richard’s Castle appeared only in Viktor Nekrasov’s essay The Turbins’ House in 1967. The only Richard involved with the ‘castle’ is, probably, Richard Yurevich, who lived in the house since 1922. Viktor Nekrasov was friends with him and jokingly called him Richard the Lionheart.

Like the entire descent, Richard’s Castle is associated with artists. At one time, Hryhorii Diadchenko, Fotii Krasytskyi, Ivan Makushenko, and sculptor Fedir Balavenskyi lived here. At the end of the century, Andriivskyi Descent finally became the home turf for artists after reconstruction to the ‘1500th anniversary of Kyiv’ (1982). The descent is even called the Kyiv Montmartre. Vernissages took place here since 1984, and later the whole descent turned into a large open-air exhibition: a separate Alley of Artists formed next to St. Andrew’s Church. In 2019, it was reconstructed and put in order, and now it is a great place to walk and admire the panoramas of Kyiv.

Concerning with the sight: