Kreshchatik, the View from the Merchants' Club

Description

This view of Kreshchatik (or Khreshchatyk) as seen from the Merchants’ Club is from Souvenir of Kiev, an early 20th-century album showing the main sites of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine and at that time one of the most important cities of the Russian Empire. Kreshchatik developed as Kiev’s main thoroughfare in the 19th century and became the center of the city’s commercial life as Kiev underwent rapid economic growth during the industrial revolution. The street has an air of prosperity, reflected in the handsome stone buildings, the shops, banks, offices, and restaurants, the coffee shops above street level, the horse carriages in the street, and the pavements busy with people. The first electric tram system in the Russian Empire was established in Kiev in 1892, and a tram line running the length of Kreshchatik began operating in 1894. The 25 views in Souvenir of Kiev are collotypes, made using a chemically-based printing process widely employed before the invention of offset lithography.

Last updated: February 29, 2012