Having been completely destroyed during the Second World War, today’s Neoclassical reconstruction is one of Kiev’s most famous and well-trodden avenues.
Its name is believed to be derived from the Slavic word krest or khrest (cross). The street lies in a valley that is crossed by several ravines, and when looked at from above, it resembles a cross. It began to develop in the 19th-century and before long became the city’s commercial centre.
The entire street was destroyed by the retreating Red Army troops during the Second World War. It was rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s in the Neoclassical Stalinist architectural style, having been widened by 100 metres.
Today Khreschatyk is Kiev’s answer to London’s Oxford Street and America’s Fifth Avenue, lined with luxury boutiques and popular brand names. At the weekend, the road is closed off to traffic and becomes a hub of street performers, musicians and local vendors. It is a traditional setting for outdoor concerts and festivals, with major parades and celebrations held on Kiev Day (the last Sunday of May), Victory Day (9th May) and Ukrainian Independence Day (24th August).