Kiev sights, Contract square and its Trade Festivals

Kontractova (Contracts) square is one of Kiev sights and a heart of Podil – its economic, cultural and historical center. Numerous architectural sights and monuments are concentrated here.

The name of the square comes from its functional assignment. Great trade markets took place here since 13 century. From 16 century the square was a place for Christmas fairs and at the end of 18th century Contract fairs moved here from Dubno (Rivne oblast). Contract fairs were connected with Kiev Christmas fairs. Thus they took place annually- started at January and lasted for 3 weeks. These fairs served as the great conferences between traders, landlords and nobleman who came here from all over the Russia Empire and Europe for making agreements, concluding contracts and singing different legal acts. First three years the Contract Fairs took place in the building of City Hall (Ratusha) and in 1801 they moved to specially constructed Contract House.

After a great fire of 1811 all the square including Contract House was reconstructed.  So  today you can see the Contract House of 1817. During the year the premise served for ceremonial events, concerts and festive occasions. Such great persons like Taras Shevchenko, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin, Onore de Balsak, Adam Mitskevich, Viacheslav Lipinskiy and others.

And within the tree weeks of Contract Fair the building served its main purpose. The merchants presented their goods on the first floor of building and along the edges of the second floor. The middle of the 2d floor served as the hall for making deals. Traders also took spaces all around the Contract House, roomed in Hosting Court and in all neighbor private mansions. All the square was filled with the shops, tents, stands and carriages.

The Fairs successfully performed till 1861 and brought a great contribution to economical the development of Kiev city. During the years of its functioning the number of citizens increased from 19 to 70 thousand people.

Know more interesting stories about the Contract Square, Contract Fair and other Kiev sights at our excursions Ancient Kiev tour or Kiev sightseeing — all city in one day !