The Great Descent

Head North from Kiev's dull gray foreign Ministry building, walk down a couple of blocks — and gasp. The 850 zigzagging meters are known as Andriyivsky Uzviz (Andrew's Descent) — and, going downhill, each cobblestoned step is a delight.

Now a pedestrian mall, some 16 centuries ago this street served as the only transport link between the aristocratic Upper City of castles and temples and the easygoing carefree Podil, or Lower City of artisans and merchants. (Both are still very much the same.) In the 16th century, whatever dropped from a cart on these bumpy winding...

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