Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Andrew's Descent

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, one of the places I most wanted to visit was the Bulgakov Museum in Andrew's Descent (or Andriyivskyy Descent).  Andrew's Descent is thus named because this area slopes down from Saint Andrew's Church.  This part of the city is known as the "Montmartre of Kiev."

I will repeat myself in writing that Mikhail Bulgakov was an author who is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which is one of my favorite books.  It's also considered one of the best novels of the 20th Century.  Bulgakov was born in Kiev on May 15, 1891.  The house where he was born is now the museum. 

When they call Andrew's Descent a descent, they aren't kidding, as it's a steep walk, which would've been easier if the sidewalks weren't so icy.  Still, I was not to be deterred.  And my effort was rewarded with the chance to sit on a bench and hold a conversation with Bulgakov's statue.

Benjamin's response was, "We walked all that way for this?"

Sorry, Mikhail.  Maybe one day he'll understand.

While we were walking back, we came across a film crew shooting a program for Ukrainian television.

The "comrades" between takes.

Here are some photos of Andrew's Descent:
One of the things Andrew's Descent is noted for is it's market which sells everything from nesting dolls to knock-off Soviet military paraphernalia to magnets, t-shirts, and original works of art. Since we are tight on funds, we were just browsers.  The group of Japanese tourists that arrived more than made up for our lack of spending. 
Something else this area had that I can't say I've seen anywhere else in my travels is a wall with a nose and mustache.  Not sure why this wall has one, but it does, so here it is:
Perhaps it's a reference to the short story "The Nose" by another famous Ukrainian author, and another of my favorites, Nikolai Gogol. 
This is a very literary city.  The French author Honore de Balzac, who also had ties to the city through a love affair with a Kiev woman, wrote "Petersburg is a young city, Moscow is an ancient city, but Kyiv is the eternal city.  It is a northern Rome."

Despite it being a negative 9 degrees celsius for the high, we are going tonight to a big Christmas celebration in Independence Square! 
More to post later!

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