Kiev or Kyiv, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe is a capital city of Ukraine. River Dnipro bisects Kiev into Historical Kiev (Upper Neighbourhood) and Modern Kiev ( Podil – Lower Neighbourhood). Kiev is the best example of reinvention and transition, as it was destroyed several times in the past. Kiev has a glorious history with the great confluence of Western & Russian cultures. Kiev’s history dates back to 1500 years, which can be depicted through several cathedrals, churches, and monuments. Let’s go and check for Best Things to Do in Kiev City Tour, Ukraine.
Best Things To Do in Kiev City Tour, Ukraine
1) Kiev Pechersk Lavra – Situated on the grassy hilltop beside Dnipro river, this is UNESCO listed, 11th-century monastery. Ornately decorated religious building with golden domes has been a prominent center of Eastern Orthodox Church of Eastern Europe. Beneath this structure, there lie an underground catacomb of narrow passages and caves through which you can see and worship the preserved bodies of monks and saints. This is the holiest pilgrimage in Ukraine.
2) Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, Kiev – It is one of the most magnificent architectural landmarks and top visited sights of Kiev/Kyiv. It is oldest Orthodox Cathedral of Kiev, constructed in 1037 with 13 golden and green colored domes. It has beautiful interiors with Byzantine frescoes, mosaics and gilded ornamental everywhere on the roof as well as walls. This complex survived many disasters of political unrest and fires. It is also a UNESCO listed site. The bell tower of this cathedral offers a great view of the whole city. But you have to climb upstairs through narrow passage for getting a beautiful aerial view of the city. This cathedral is closed on Thursdays.
3) Khreshchatyk – Khreshchatyk is Kiev’s main street/road which stretches along 1.2 km. It is pedestrian’s delight and is the main artery of Kiev. This street was completely destroyed during World War II and now has been restored completely according to Stalinist style. This is the most lively place of Kiev even during late nights also. There are many Soviet styled buildings, hotels, cafes, quirky bars, street food options, street performers, adult clubs along this road. On weekends, 4 laned roads are closed for traffic and pedestrians gather on road for fun and frolic. I booked my stay here and have walked several times on this road. Tip – Try to book your stay along this road or nearby area.
4.) Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) – It is the central square or heart of Kiev. Lies across Khreshchatyk, it the widest and beautiful space in Kiev. This place is surrounded by buildings from the 19th century. The slender cylindrical monument in the center point of this place celebrates Ukraine’s break-up with the Soviet Union in 1991. This place hosts the city’s major national events like parades and public celebrations.
5.) Andriyivskyy Descent – This is a Historic street which connects Kiev’s Upper Town to Lower Town known as Podil. This street is known Montmartre of Kiev which is a major tourist attraction of Kiev. You will find artists, craftspersons, handicraft vendors on both of this sloppy street selling all artistic and authentic stuff. This descent is surrounded by the artist’s homes, galleries, cafes and bars with spectacular views of colorful houses. At the lowest part, you reach Podil where buildings are not very rich but very colorful and quirky types. Early evening or late afternoon walk is recommended along this area.
6.) Golden Gate, Kiev – It was constructed during Kiev Rus period in the 11th century which is also listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a defense structure and was a great entrance to Kiev. It was completely destroyed in the Middle Ages and rebuilt in 1982 by Soviet authorities. This Gate is an imitation of the Golden Gate of Constantinople.
7.) St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery – This is the first monastery in Ukraine whose dome was gilded and therefore it is also named as Golden-Domed Monastery. Built-in Middle Ages, it was also destroyed several times, especially during World War II. In 1999, it was fully restored and rebuilt and opened for public. Free entrance to this Monastery.
8.) Rodina-Mat-Mother (Motherland Monument) – This 102m high sculpture is located on the right bank of Dnipro River.
This sculpture comprises of a woman holding the sword in one hand and shield in another hand.
9.) St. Andrew’s Church, Kiev – This Baroque styled church is one of the most beautiful churches in Kiev. It is built on artificial hills at the very location at Andriyivskyy Descent, which overlooks oldest areas of Kiev. It was hit by lightning twice.
10.) Pyrohiv Folk Architecture Museum – This place is on the outskirts of Kiev towards the south of Kiev. It can reach through taxi or Rent a car. This Outdoor museum comprises of Ukrainian Folk Architecture and countryside life. These are samples of wooden architectures of Ukraine and rural life of 16th – 19th century.
11.) St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral – This cathedral built in a Neo-Byzantine style with bright yellow exteriors and interiors were painted by famous artists Mikhail Vrubel. It is built in honor of Prince Vladimir of Kiev, who introduced Christianity to Kiev Rus in 988 A.D. It is located in a most central part of the city.
12.) National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II – This open-air memorial Museum was built to commemorate the German-Soviet war. You can also see war tanks, air jets there.
13.) Mariinsky Park – This widespread 130 years old park is located in front of the Parliament of Ukraine.
14.) People’s Friendship Arch –
This monument of Kiev was made to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of USSR. During evenings, this arch illuminates in Rainbow colors.
15.) Mariyinsky Palace – This is an official residence of the President of Ukraine in Kiev. It is located adjoining to Neo-classical styled Parliament building of Ukraine.
16.) Mezhyhirya Residence – Also know as President’s Palace and is located on the outskirts of Kiev. This large green estate where Mr. Viktor liven when he was Prime-Minister and then President of Ukraine. This ornate house now turned into a museum is surrounded by beautiful park, lakes, Golf Estate, Sports facilities, Fountains, Car collection Museum and Private Zoo. It is spread around 350 Acres on the banks of River Dnipro. You can rent a Golf Cart / Scooters on Entrance to go along the whole property.
17.) Ukraine State Aviation Museum – This Aviation museum has impressive collections of Aircraft and displays a wide variety of Societ technology.
18.) National Opera House – It was constructed in 1867 and was burnt down in 1896 but has been rebuilt afterward. By the 1920’s this Opera was one of the most prestigious cultural stages in Russia. This Opera House survived both World Wars. If you are attending any show in this theatre then check in with the classy dress as you will be refused to enter in jeans, shorts or sneakers.
19.) Olympic Sports Complex – It is a premier sports venue in Ukraine and is the second largest in Eastern Europe. Seating capacity of this complex is 70,000 people and have been known for hosting major football matches.
20.) Arsenalna Metro Station – It is the deepest Metro Station in the world. You have to go down 105.5 m (346 ft) to catch your metro rides. You would pass through very deep and narrow Escalator Tunnel and it takes around 5 minutes to reach down. The people having Vertigo or Height Problem can avoid this or they should not look down.
I covered these Best Things To Do in Kiev City Tour, Ukraine, during 3 Days, 4 Nights. There are many Unusual and Quirky Things to do in Kiev which I will cover in my next article.
TIPS AND USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT KIEV –
- I recommend booking your stay near Maidan Square or on Khreschatyk Street.
- Kiev offers various cuisines and you will not find any problem regards eating out. Kiev even has a beautiful street food culture. Vegetarians can find many options in Italian, Georgian, Indian and Grilled Section of Ukrainian Cuisines.
- Kiev is well known for vibrant Nightlife. Nightlife lovers will enjoy this places. Mostly all Nightlife areas are located on Khreschatyk Street.
- For transportation in Kiev, you can use Uber, Metro and walk. Walking along Historic town is best. Uber is also quite efficient here.
- The currency of Ukraine is Ukrainian Hryvnia, also known as UAH.
- Spring and Summers (April to September) are the best times to visit Kiev.
- Enjoy greenery in Kiev, as Kiev is the Greenest Capital of Europe.
- Kiev is safe and only you have to take general precautions.
- Kiev is not very expensive. Shopping in Kiev is good and affordable.
- There are 2 International Airports in Kiev.
- From Kiev, you can also plan your trip to Lviv and Odessa (besides the Black Sea) which are well-known cities of Ukraine. I will talk about what to do in Lviv and Odessa in my other post.
- Check closing days of monuments, museums, and cathedral before planning your visit.
- People do not understand ENGLISH much so there can be Language problem but you can rid of by using Google Translator. Always keep your Google Translator ready. Google Translator or any Translator App on your mobile is a must in Kyiv.
- There are different Visa formalities for Ukraine. Check on their website for more information. Indians now can visit Ukraine through Visa on Arrivals with small half an hour formality of stamping at Airport of Kiev. Check this official website for Visa information.
- Check Ukraine Official Tourism Website for more information.
So, till then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………
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