Maydan Nezalezhnosti or Independence Square is a heart of Kiev, geographically and symbolically. The Orange Revolution events of 2004 have rendered international notoriety to it. Events of 2013 are also unfolding here. Being the main square of Ukraine, it is a place of the country events manifestation, be it either a celebration or a protest.
The square has appeared on this spot in the middle of the 19th century and was named Khreschatyskaya Square after the street of the same name. It was a market square and a ground for folk entertainment. Before then the square was a part of Pechersk fortification dwellings, including the Pechersk Gates. A monument for these gates stands on the square nowadays. Supposedly, in the 11th century there were other gates either on the current square location or in the vicinity. Built in Yaroslav the Wise time, these were the Lyadsky Gates, which Batu Khan Horde has burst through into the city in 1240.
Besides the gates, we should mention a residence of the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in this area in 1859. Around this time the first fountain has appeared on the square but it was poorly mounted, residents of Kiev did not like it and used it as a drinking bowl for horses.
The square started gaining more importance during the Russian Empire, there have appeared administrative buildings and it has been renamed for Dumskaya Square or Parliamentary Square. After several fountain constructions, which appeared to be unlucky as their predecessor, there have been mounted a fountain that functioned more than 70 years.
In commemoration of Piotr Stolypin, who was assassinated in Kiev in 1911, the monument was put in front of the City Duma and stood till 1918.
The square has changed many names during the Soviet time. After the WWII, when the ruined square bore the name of Mikhail Kalinin, a huge construction started on the main Khreschatyk Street. In the aftermath there were erected most of the buildings forming the current architectural look of the square. In 1971 it was already the October Revolution Square when the old fountain was replaced by a new one – the Fountain of Friendship of People, with 1000 streams. It has survived till the newest reconstruction in 2001 when the square has already been named Maydan Nezalezhnosti. The new name to the square was given upon accession to independence in 1991. The reconstruction of 2001 brought the modern and recognizable appearance to the square. Monument for Lenin was liquidated. Many fountains and new monuments appeared, among which are those to the Independence, the legendary founders of Kiev, Cossack Mamay and Kiev patron St.Michael the Archangel. Various architectural details continue emerging on the main square of the country till nowadays, and it is worthily considered to be the most beautiful highlight of the modern capital. The square is a popular place among Kiev residents and visitors.