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On the steep cobbled slope, stalls display Ukrainian souvenirs to curious visitors. In the distance, a river glistens. On a terrace overlooking picturesque 19thC buildings, tourists tuck into tasty steaks and sup cold beer.

As a big fan of Kyiv I was pleased to see the much-discussed renovation of Andriyivskyy Uzviz, the winding street in the heart of the old city, more or less completed on the eve of Euro 2012 – which kicks off in Warsaw tonight.

With its antique buildings, galleries, stalls, museums (including a Bulgakov Museum) and numerous cafes and bars, the street has the potential to be a world-class tourist attraction. Steep, intriguing iron staircases running up the hills on either side lead to woods and grassy slopes with spectacular views of the city.

Like any treasure, the Uzviz needs looking after. So it will be interesting to see whether the city authorities are able do anything to prevent vehicles from parking on the pavements (for US readers: sidewalks) on each side of the street.

I feel sympathy for drivers in Kyiv, who have limited parking options.  Unfortunately, most pavements are designed for people to walk on, rather than cars to park on. This is nowhere truer than on the Uzviz, where the road surface is made of massive stone blocks while the pavements are surfaced with thin, mustard-coloured pedestrian tiles.

This matters because the damage which a person or vehicle does to a surface is, as a rule of thumb, the function of the fourth power of the weight placed on it. You can do the maths yourself based on the difference between the weight of a person and a 4×4. The point is that if vehicles park on pavements which are not designed to take large axle weights, the pavements are rapidly destroyed. The results are plain to see.

A stroll down Andriyivskyy Uzviz on 7 June showed the pavements so far still in good shape – but a few cars up on the kerb.

Let us hope the newly-refurbished charm of the street can be retained and improved so that England fans and others can enjoy it for years to come.

Tags: Andriyivskyy Uzviz, Bulgakov, Euro2012, kyiv, tourists, ukraine

Leigh Turner

Ukrayinska Dumka


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