Kyiv is the capital city of Ukraine and features some of the most astounding examples of East European Slavic architecture, attractions, museums and monuments. The city is well covered with trees (mainly horse chestnut) and flowering plants, giving it a picturesque appeal. It is said that walking through the streets of Kyiv, one never leaves the shade of a tree. The quality of air is fine and the city clean and tidy, making walking around the streets, one of the best things to do in Kiev, in order to access the many attractions in the city.
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Some of the Top Kyiv attractions include:
1) The Golden Gate of Kyiv
This was one of the three main gates leading into the city of Kyiv, during the reign of the Kievan Rus confederacy of Slavic tribes. It was named after the Golden Gate of Constantiople built by the Byzantines. Over the years it was dismantled and the current structure was recently rebuilt during the Soviet era.
2) Maidan Nezalezhnosti
This is the central square of Kiev and is the main junction of the city, easily accessible to all other places of interest. Regular walks are held from here for tourists. The square has always been the centre of political rallies and recent protests in Ukraine. Pubs and Hotels are at walking distance from here.
3) Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Also known as the Kiev Monastery of the caves, it is an important center of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Europe. It has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Metropolitan Onuphrius, the head of the Ukraine Orthodox Church has his seat here. The religious complex has numerous churches, cathedrals, bell towers, underground cave systems and burial ground of former priests.
4) Saint Sophia Cathedral
One of the pre-eminent architectural sites of Ukraine and holding the privilege of being Ukraine’s 1st UNESCO heritage site, the cathedral of Saint Sophia is a must see for tourists. It holds paintings that date back to the early period of the Kievan Rus Confederacy and is named after the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople.
State Aviation Museum of Ukraine is in fact one of the largest history-technical and aviation museums not only in Ukraine, but also in the whole Eastern Europe. It presents unique collection of aircraft – more than 90 planes. Perfect place to spend your weekend with family.
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6) National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War
This is one of the foremost museums in Ukraine and features as a memorial to all the Ukrainian soldiers that fought and died in World War II. Along with armaments and tanks from the war period, the museum complex also contains statues of scenes depicting the war. The museum also features the huge and towering Soviet-style Motherland Monument; a figure with raised sword and shield, visible from most points of the city.
7) The Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum
This is a museum in Kiev dedicated to one of the most tragic incidents in the history of mankind, namely, the 1984 Chernobyl disaster. The museum houses key information , photographs and artifacts and representational models to educate the public about nuclear disasters based on the past experience. Guided tours in English are available at this venue.
8) Mariyinsky Palace
This magnificent baroque-style palace is the official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine. The palace has sprawling gardens and hosts official delegations from abroad.
9) Mikhail Bulgakov Museum
Also known as the Bulgakov House, it was consecrated in 1991 as a memorial to the great Kiev-born Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov. Literary enthusiasts will be familiar of the similarities of the house in imitation to the description of the writer’s own personal surroundings as mentioned in his book. The museum holds regular book readings and other events related to the writer/
10) Mezhyhirya Residence
The Mexhyhirya Residence is a beautiful house built on a sprawling estate on the banks of the Dnieper river. It was a former medieval monastery that was later converted into the official residence of Viktor Yanukovych when he served as Prime Minister and President of Ulraine prior to his abdication. The estate also houses an automobile museum displaying his personal car collection among other recreational facilities and tourist spots.
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11) St Volodomyr’s Cathedral
History and art enthusiasts will find this unique structure of interest. Vivid yellow, it was constructed in a neo-Byzantine style using donations received from across the Russian Empire in the 19th century. With stunning mosaics and carvings, the St Volodomyr’s Cathedral stands as a functional place of worship and the mother cathedral of the Ukranian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchy.
12) National Opera of Ukraine
The Ukrainian National Opera House in Kyiv is one of the oldest opera houses in the region and is named after the father of modern Ukrainian literature, Taras Shevchenko. The beautfiul edifice hosts regular shows, plays, operas and ballets.
Pyrohiv was originally a village to the south of Kiev and today hosts outdoor traditional rural Ukrainian folk architecture. The museum complex features old windmills, wooden homes, an 18th century wooden church as well as folk costumes, musical instruments and other daily items used by rural Ukrainians. The site hosts regular events displaying Ukrainian culture.
14) Saint Andrew’s Church
This church is one of the four main church attractions of Kiev. The exquisite Baroque-style church features a green onion dome and intricate interiors. It was built in honor of St. Andrew, the Apostle of Rus.
15) Kyiv Fortress
The Kiev Fortress is a large fort built by the Russians as important fortifications of the perimeters of the Russian Empire. The fortress houses a museum, canons and various other relics of historical and archaeological significance.
16) Besarabsky Market
The Besarabsky Market is the largest and central market of Kyiv. The market is a selling point for fresh farm produce from across Ukraine. It is also unique in that unlike most other fruit and vegetable markets, this is indoors; housed in a century-old structure.
17) The Park of Eternal Glory
The Park of Eternal Glory to the soldiers of World War II is a memorial site located on a steep slope of the Deniper river. It is frequented by people who wish to pay respects to the dead during the Great War. The park features a giant obelisk and other commemorative monuments. It commands a panoramic view of the entire city.
18) Kyiv Funicular
One of the most interesting Kyiv attractions is the cable railway also known as the Kyiv Funicular. The cable railway at Kiev is just one of a pair in the entire nation. The 100 year old railway is unique in that it climbs a steep slope of the Volodymyrska Hill at a 36% gradient. Although slow, it offers a picturesque experience.
19) Tunnel of Love
A popular and romantic day-tour destination (6 hours drive from Kyiv) is the Tunnel of Love. The tunnel is made entirely of dense leafy foliage through a forest and has a railway track as well. it is believed that wishes made by lovers in this tunnel come true. The best times to visit the tunnel are during spring when the leaves are dense green and autumn when they turn red-brown. The tunnel serves as an ideal spot for romantic photographs.
20) Hryshko National Botanical Garden
The M. M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden is a large garden and greenhouse complex that houses more than 13,000 varieties of flora from around the world. The garden also has 350 species of orchids. A visit to the local monasteries of Vydubichi and St. Jonas, located on the park grounds is well worth it as they contain old murals.
21) National Art Museum Ukraine
Housed in a neoclassical structure of repute is the National Art Museum of Ukraine with a brilliant collection of Ukranian artwork from the Medieval period as well as that of famous artists in the region. The museum also features contemporary abstract art and is a must go for art enthusiasts. Many of its collections have been exhibited internationally.
If you want to cover not only Kyiv, but whole Ukraine during your trip, check out this travel guide e-book!
It is a great resource for those who is going to Ukraine and would like an insider’s view on how to travel the country hassle-free.
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