Kyiv is a city with a centuries old history; it’s a big, noisy and dynamically developing metropolis. The capital of Ukraine has long become a local Hollywood; many people aspire to come here in search of a better life, career and love. Life here is more expensive than in other cities of Ukraine, but it does not stop the brave and ambitious. Here they become showbiz stars, high-ranking officials and well-known politicians.
What about me, I met Kyiv first time when I was 16 years old. Then I fell in love with this city on the hills, with a large number of beautiful temples, original architecture, green parks and chestnut avenues, with the widest street in Ukraine – Khreshchatyk, exciting Dnieper, numerous galleries and theaters.
Then it was a cozy, green city, every corner of which kept its history or legend. Today, Kyiv is a noisy anthill, where traffic jams have become commonplace, where every piece of land is built up with prestigious high-rise buildings or shopping and entertainment complexes, where you are brought to the metro and endured, and the ancient temples have become paid museums. Personally, I do not regret that I did not link my life with this city. But there is a lot of worth to see here.
If you have a little time to walk around Kyiv, for example, you are on a business trip or you have a long transfer to one of the airports in the Ukrainian capital, I would recommend you to take a stroll through the historical center. What is worth seeing here?
Khreshchatyk Street is the widest street in Ukraine. At the weekend it is closed to traffic and it becomes a pedestrian.
Here is the Independence Square, which has experienced more than one revolution since Ukraine’s independence, as well as the underground shopping mall Globus, numerous boutiques and restaurants, street coffee and fast food. If you want to have a tasty and inexpensive meal, I recommend you a fast food restaurant “Two geese”. In the evenings it is unusually beautiful on Khreshchatyk, here you can see street actors, dancers and artists.
This is the official residence of the President of Ukraine; here he receives foreign delegations, conducts negotiations, etc. The palace is really beautiful, although quite modest. Nearby there is the building of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (parliament), the Mariinsky Park and the Cabinet of Ministers (government).
And so that politicians and officials who are keen on football are completely comfortable – just a few steps from the park there is the capital’s Dynamo stadium.
It is close to the European Square, which is at one of the ends of Khreshchatyk: you just have to go up the Grushevskogo street from the International Exhibition and Conference Center called Ukrainian House.
On the way you will see the beautiful building of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. Unfortunately, during my trip it was closed for restoration.
St. Michael’s Cathedral and St. Sophia Cathedral
If you go up from the Ukrainian house in the opposite direction, then you will soon find yourself on Vladimirskaya Gorka, where you can see a monument to Vladimir the Great, who christened Kievan Rus,
and very close – St. Michael’s Golden-domed Cathedral. This name of the cathedral was chosen not accidental: its golden domes are seen from everywhere, and the painting of the temple and its walls is striking with its beauty.
Passing through the square in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral, you will see a monument to one of the hetmans of the Cossack Ukraine, Bogdan Khmelnitsky,
and behind it – a monument of architecture of the XI century – St. Sofia Cathedral. It has long been a museum, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and today, to admire the ancient mosaics and frescoes, you have to pay 100 UAH. (approximately 3.5 euros) for the entrance.
This is perhaps one of the most famous and atmospheric places in Kyiv. The street has practically retained its historical authenticity and is a rather steep descent paved with paving stones, on the sides of which there are beautiful buildings, galleries, modern theaters and numerous souvenir shops.
Today Andrew’s Descent is a street-museum where many famous scientists and cultural workers lived and worked. But the pearl of the descent is the famous St. Andrew’s Church, which, unfortunately, is under restoration now and you can only admire it outside.
At the bottom of the Andrew’s Descent there is Podol, no less ancient and famous district of the city. Here you can also have a tasty and budgetary dinner in the restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine “Puzata hata”.
If you are not tired of wandering around the center of Kyiv and you still have spare time, or you have booked a hotel room, then you can visit the Mecca of Orthodox pilgrims – the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, known for the complex system of caves in which the monks once prayed.
It is located near the deepest metro station – Arsenalnaya. By the way, one-way fare in the Kyiv metro costs 8 UAH. (approximately 25 euro cents).
Another must have point of excursion in Kyiv is the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, in whose territory there is a pompous monument to the Motherland. At the top of the 62-meter statue there is an observation deck, from where a gorgeous view of the city and the Dnieper River opens. The cost of this review is 200 UAH. (about 6 euros).
Kyiv is a true European city, which has a lot to be proud of and to tell the world about itself. It is definitely worth to visit this city, but not everyone can live here. Ukrainian Hollywood seems to test all nonresidents for strength and only the most flexible and hardy persons are able to reach the stars of the metropolitan sky…