From its start at European Square to its terminus at Bessarabs’ka Square, Kyiv’s most beloved street is not even two kilometres long. Despite what has been called the most impressive unbroken string of Stalinist architecture anywhere, Khreschatyk’s wide chestnut lined sidewalks are ideal for a relaxing stroll. The trees provide both welcome shade from the blistering summer sun and shelter from the region’s signature spring downpours. On weekends and holidays, the street becomes a pedestrian only thoroughfare where locals, travellers and street performers mingle and frolic. It’s hard to imagine that this was once a deep valley surrounded by dense forest. The valley was named Khreschata (crossed) in reference to the many ravines that converged in the area. In ancient times, Kyivan Rus princes hunted wild game here (the only hunting done on Khreschatyk these days is for souvenirs, fashion and fashionable Ukrainian women). Some of the city’s best shopping can be found both above and below ground. Trendy malls have been dug beneath Bessarabs’ka and Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Perhaps in an act of poetic justice the whole street will collapse under this retail strain and revert back to a lush valley.