I visited Kiev this year on my way to Chernobyl. I admit that I didn’t expect to see “fireworks” on the spot. I don’t know, maybe it was a matter of my attitude, but for sure I didn’t fall in love like in Lviv. Even though it’s really worth seeing this city due to an interesting mix of past and modern times. In total, I counted thirteen reasons why the capital of Ukraine deserves tourists’ attention.
Mother Motherland Statue
It’s a huge monument, more than 100 meters high, standing on one of the Kiev hills. It’s one of the largest structures of this type in the world. It is even taller than the Statue of Liberty. Mother Motherland holds a sword in one hand and in the other, a shield with the coat of arms of the USSR.
Nearby hill offers an amazing panorama of Kiev.
Park and Mariinsky Palace
Mariinsky Palace is an example of another interesting point on Kiev’s map, due to its characteristic blue colour.
An ideal place for an afternoon walk is the Glass Bridge, which offers an amazing panorama of the centre of Kiev and a characteristic pedestrian bridge across the Dnieper.
Right next to the bridge is the Arch of Friendship of Nations, a relic of the past which is a symbol of Russian-Ukrainian friendship. The arch looks quite modern and is an interesting tourist spot. However, as a consequence of decommunization laws, the government is planning its demolition.
Orthodox church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker on the water
One of the most interesting religious buildings in Kiev is the Church of Nicholas the Wonderworker. The building itself may not arise great fascination, but its location on the water is certainly unique. It is also an interesting viewpoint on the Dnieper embankment.
Definitely, this place is worth visiting before a trip to Chernobyl. The theme of this museum is the Latin slogan: “est dolendi modus, non est timendi,” which can be translated: “there is a limit of sadness, anxiety has no limits.” Outside the museum, you can see the vehicles used in the rescue operation. The exhibition halls are connected with long stairs where you can see road signs of the affected towns.
The exhibition presents the tragedy of people living in these areas during the disaster. It presents the rescue operation and the effects of the reactor accident. It’s a kind of a mausoleum dedicated to the victims of Chernobyl.
This place is an absolute must to see everyday life in Kiev. You can buy groceries here, as well as try local dishes. In addition to the grocery section, there’s also a clothes and workshop part, all in one place. The market hall is very easy to recognize, the appearance of the building does not raise any doubts in what period it was built ?
Abandoned Billionaire Ghetto
The Billionaire Ghetto is a term for the Vozdvizhenka District. The name Vozdvyzhenka comes from the local church of Chrestovozdvyzhenska, known as the baptism site of the famous Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov. Colorful tenement houses and elegant surroundings indicate that it’s a luxurious neighbourhood. However, the strangest thing is that these candy buildings look completely deserted. In 2003, it was decided to build an exclusive district in this place, but the crisis in 2008-2009 resulted in a lack of interest in new, very expensive apartments. Currently, the colourful, art nouveau buildings of Vozdvizhenka are an ideal place solely for photo sessions.
Four times better than in Brussels
Brussels is known for a peeing boy, while Kiev is known for as many as four boys. What’s more, they together create a colorful fountain. The figurines are located in the Peizazhna Alley Park, where you can see many other unconventional sculptures.
“City of Golden Domes”
The golden domes and the characteristic blue facade of the monastery are visible from under the monument to Bohdan Chmielnicki. Anyway, it’s no wonder why Kiev is called “the city of golden domes”. The monastery was destroyed in the 1930s, and it was rebuilt only after Ukraine regained its independence.
Orthodox church of St. Andrew
Looking at the Kiev churches, it cannot be denied that the favourite colour of its inhabitants is blue. According to the legend, St. Andrew indicated that this place was to be dedicated to build a magnificent temple. It actually happened. The church is located in the oldest part of Kiev, in the very centre of the city, near the famous Independence Square.
The place known from numerous TV broadcasts is Independence Square with the characteristic Monument of Independence. It is also a favourite Kiev residents’ meeting place. It was the place of the so-called Orange revolution – protests against the rigging of elections by V. Yanukovych. For the second time in 2013, inhabitants of Kiev took the street again, during the so-called Euromaidan. They were pretesting against Yanukovych’s failure to sign an association agreement with the European Union. About 100 people lost their lives as a result of the clashes.
While walking along the streets of Kiev you can meet many tiny bronze figures. They’re called Shukai, which means simply search, and as you can easily guess that you have to look thoroughly to spot them. On this site you can learn more about their history.
Street art at the end
I have to admit that Kiev surprised me with its very local street art scene. On the spot, I expected to see a gray, socialist reality, while the capital of Ukraine turned out to be surprisingly colourful. Of course, there are still plenty of places from a bygone era here, but at the same time you can notice that the inhabitants are trying to diversify this space. Effect? As for me, great ?