The history of the Bessarabska Square dates back to the 19th century. Until that time, there was a cemetery at this place, but as Khreshchatyk was developing, it was transferred, and a marketplace appeared here. Peasants from Southern Ukraine and Bessarabia brought their products there, hence the name of the Square. In 1869, the Square was named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, and a monument to the hetman was supposed to be erected on it, but due to the unkempt appearance of the area, it was decided to choose the square in front of St. Sophia Cathedral.
The Square has borne its modern name since 1881. At that time, one of the largest street markets in Kyiv was situated there. At the turn of the19th and the 20th centuries, Bessarabka was reconstructed, ‘cultured up’, and a modern, covered market building was constructed, funded by philanthropist and sugar manufacturer, Lazar Brodsky. At that time, several elite hotels were built nearby, e.g., the Palais Royal currently known as Mandarin Plaza. At present, a number of popular establishments, the Pinchuk Art Centre, and the Metrohrad underground shopping mall are situated on the Square. Since 2021, Bessarabka has become pedestrian.