February 20, 2019

Places To Visit in Kyiv

• The Arch (or the Yoke) at the end of Kreshatik Street (Kyiv’s main downtown street) boasts one of the best views of the Left Bank and is a great place to meet, talk, and enjoy a sunset.



• The main opera and ballet house near Teatralna metro sometimes boasts world class performances. Schedules are posted monthly throughout the city. Tickets are affordable and are sold through theatre kassas located mostly in the downtown area.


Pecherska Lavra monastery complex can be made into a whole day affair. Along with being one of the most holy sites in Ukrainian Orthodoxy, it houses a museum of miniatures which contains some strange and interesting “art.” The lower and upper caves house mummified bodies (you can only see the hands, like these) now revered as holy relics by the Orthodox faithful. You can also climb the 259 steps to the top of the famous bell tower, still the tallest structure in the city, and enjoy the view.

• The Mother of the Motherland is another favorite among visitors. A towering figure made of nickel tiles, the statue overlooks the Dnipro River just down the street from Pecherska Lavra. Surrounded by WWII artefacts and Ukraine’s Afghanistan War Musuem, she also has a three-story WWII museum inside her base. It is apparently possible to go all the way to the top of the shield of this impressive statue for a breathtaking view, but rumor has it that after a young's boys fal from this height, the possibility no longer exists.

• The many city botanical gardens are easy to locate, cheap to enter, and have some wonderful flowers and trees if you go at the right time of year. Kyiv is famous for its chestnuts.

• Andriivsky Spusk (descent) is Kyiv’s arts’ centre. It’s a myriad of shops selling everything from Soviet submarine clocks to nesting dolls to original art works to Harley Davidson t-shirts. While descending, don’t forget to look up and see the eighteenth-century church that gave the street its name. It’s believed the apostle Andrew preached the gospel at the top of this hill.

• St. Sophia’s Cathedral (now a government-run museum) is not far from St. Andrews. For a small fee you can have an extensive look inside this very old and beautiful building, the crowning venue of many Kyiv Rus rulers. The church—dating from the late tenth century—is one of Kyiv’s oldest, and much of the ancient artwork and decoration can still be seen inside as well as in the nearby museum.

• Standing across from St. Sophia’s is St. Michaels. The currently active church was rebuilt in the late 1990’s; the original was destroyed by Stalin. Inside you’ll find gigantic murals that display familiar scenes from the Bible. Remember, though, that the churches are still visited by worshipers who may not appreciate you posing in front of something they hold as sacred – so, be respectful. Avoid taking photographs inside any church.

• Who could visit Eastern Europe without a trip to the circus? One of the cities main streets, Prospekt Peremohy, houses the permanent circus (seen to the right), and it is no tent show. These people are serious about their elephants, and a night with them is sure to entertain anyone. Just across the street is the newly remodeled Ukraina department store, which was once one of the largest shopping centers in the Soviet Union.

• While it might not be the most uplifting place to visit, Babi Yar (Dorohozhichy metro) is an important historical site. A striking Soviet monument (shown on the left) marks the ravine where thousands of Jews were killed during WWII. It is a grim reminder of the evil humanity is capable of.

• One Street Museum and the House of Mikhail Bulhakov are two museums located on Andriivsky Spusk as alternatives to souvenir shopping. One Street Museum made Let’s Go’s top Eastern European Museum list. Bulgakov, the most famous modern Ukrainian writer, lived in this house during his early life. Many of his things are displayed there, as well as interesting facts and stories about his life. The house itself is setting of one of his novels, The White Guard.

• Kreshatik Street, the main boulevard of downtown Kyiv offers a grand view of the magnificient and turbulent city. Independence Square located at the heart of the city on Kreshatik, houses a monument commemorating independence, an underground western mall, Globus, whose glass ceilings dome up in the square, and beautiful fountains (when they are running). On Sundays, the street is closed to all traffic and people enjoy strolling, shopping, and watching the various buskers who come out to play for donations of kopecks.

• Marinsky Palace and Park is one of the most beautiful places to walk in Kyiv. Up the hill behind Khreshatik before you get to the Arsenala metro station, this palace stands behind the Verkhova Rada, the parliment of Ukraine. Walking through the park leads to Arsenala, and twenty minutes further in this direction takes you to the WW II park in honor of the Unknown Soldier and then to the Lavra Monastery.

• Pyrohovo Folk Architecture Museum is the best day trip in Kyiv. Located on the outskirts, this open-air museum contains samples of ancient Ukrainian villages from all over the country arranged on sprawling hills, rolling with hay and windmills. This retreat offers the ideal place to stroll around for a day, enjoying fall or spring weather.

Web www.ueckyiv.org