5 000 square metres of history
For the past four years, a team of enthusiasts led by Mikhail Sagaydak – the director of the Centre of Archeology of Kyiv of the NASU (National Academy of Science of Ukraine) has been carrying out excavations under Poshtova Ploshcha. Here, the remains of city buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries and artifacts of the 11th century have been uncovered. Archaeologists surmise this area was a part of the ancient Borychiv Descent – a historic lineage in the historical and merchant quarter of Kyiv in the Podil neighbourhood.
Its legendary name, Borychiv Descent, is derived from either the name of a wealthy Kyivan who lived there at the turn of the 19th century, or from the word borych/biruch (Ukrainian: борич/бірюч), which means a herald or customs officer serving the Kyiv Prince in the Middle Ages. Some scholars believe that today’s Borychiv Descent corresponds to that mentioned in the 12th century poem, The Tale of Igor’s Campaign (Slovo o polku Ihorevim), while others state that the ancient Borychev Descent is actually today’s Andriyivskyi Descent. Even in the Tale of Bygone Years by Nestor, a road with the name Borychiv Descent is mentioned. In former times people walked along Borychiv to the river Pochayna, into which pagan idols were dumped, a river where people were also baptised.
Thus far, the excavated area under Pochtova Ploshcha covers 5 000 square metres. Among the interesting finds are the remains of dwellings, a glass workshop, a port, household items, and even six of the prince’s lead seals. Currently, excavations are frozen due to lack of funding. And whether there will be an authentic underground museum on this site, or if the planned mall will be built here, as the investor originally wanted – remains a mystery.