15 Things to Do in Kiev, Ukraine
As I recently discovered, Kiev is a very cool place to visit. I have compiled a short list of places you can see during your stay. The majority of the sites I have listed are within walking distance of each other. The others require transportation. Kiev's metro is clean and inexpensive, and their bus system is also low-cost. There is an admission fee for some of the places on the list, but it is minimal. I hope my list gives you a look at what you will see when you visit Kiev.
1. Kiev Pechersk Lavra
This landmark monastic complex is a site that should be on your agenda. The elaborate, golden-domed monastery is enough to make you want to see the whole complex of buildings. On the grounds, there is a network of catacombs where you will see mummified monks. It is a religious experience as you go from mummy to mummy by candlelight.
Note: If you go into the cave system, treat the visit with reverence. It is a holy place.
2. Mykola Siadrystyi Microminiatures Museum
Even if you are not a fan of museums, this one will amaze you. It is located on the grounds of Pechersk Lavra and hosts astonishing miniatures. The works in this museum are not much larger than the size of a pinhead. The detail and artistry will amaze you.
3. St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
You will be astonished by the golden domes of the monastery and the Ukrainian Baroque architecture. When you enter through the gates, you will delight in the ornate decorations above every window and doorway. Your amazement will not end there; as you come farther into the church, you will see breathtaking artwork and gilding covering every wall.
4. Saint Sophia’s Cathedral
This is Kiev’s oldest church. It is famous for its opulent frescos and mosaics. The refectory is a museum and contains archaeological artifacts and models of Kiev as it looked before the Mongols invaded.
5. The Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War
This park is a beautiful attraction. You will find statues, military vehicles, the museum and the Motherland Monument to experience. The museum has been around for four decades and has the most extensive collection of Ukrainian military history in the world. The artifacts date from the Second World War, pre-war and post-wartime periods.
6. Golden Gate
In the time it was built (during the reign of Grand Prince Yaroslav), the gate served as the main entrance into the city. High ramparts surrounded it with deep ditches surrounding the town. Today, a bronze statue of Yaroslav guards the gate along with a smaller figure of a bronze cat called Pantyusha. It died in a fire nearby in 1997, and the people wanted it remembered.
7. Andriyivskyy Descent
One way down the waterfront district of Podol is to take a centuries-old, cobblestone road. This roadway is also called “souvenir street.” As you make your way down the steep hillside, you encounter street vendors and their booths on the sidewalk. Art galleries, local landmarks, quaint shops, and eateries are also on the way down to Podol.
8. St. Andrew’s Church
This 18th-century baroque church is one of the prettiest in Kiev. Its distinct green-onion domes are hard to miss as you make your way down Andriyivskyy Descent. The church is a work of art. The interior is just as spectacular as the outside, as it has gilding and icons across its walls.
9. Mariinsky Park
Paved pathways, monuments, a playground and a fountain are all part of Mariinsky Park’s allure. It is a beautiful place to unwind and walk peacefully in the fresh air among the maples and chestnut trees. Mariyinsky Palace is on the grounds of this beautiful park and represents the ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine. The palace adjoins the Verkhovna Rada, which is Ukraine’s parliament.
10. Kiev Funicular
Instead of walking up Andriyivskyy Descent, you can take a railway up to the top of the hillside. Kiev Funicular has two lines that go to Upper Town from Podol. It is a short ride, but the view on the way up and at the top of the hill is beautiful and impressive.
11. Kiev Fortress
On the top of a hill in Kiev sits a 17th-century Russian fort. The size of the fort is astounding. When you stand on the top of the rampart, you capture how massive Kiev Fortress is. From that vantage point, you can also see an impressive view of the building tops of the city. On-site, there is a museum that plays an essential role in the cultural and educational life of Kiev.
12. National History Museum
The museum covers Ukraine’s history from ancient times to the present day. The exhibits are amazing and of high quality. Perhaps the most touching exhibition is of the current hybrid war with Russia. Personal effects from soldiers on the front line are on display. The display touches your heart when you think about how war affects a soldier’s family.
13. Independence Square
Also known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square is the main square in the city center. On weekend nights, its fountains come alive with lights as the water dances to prerecorded music. It is a gathering point for people to socialize and shop in the surrounding stores.
14. M.M. Hryshko National Botanical Garden
A trip to a different county would not be complete without visiting a botanical garden. Kiev has several beautiful gardens, but Hryshko National Botanical Garden is the largest. It overlooks the Dnieper River and is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
15. The Landscape Alley Park
Outside of the city center, there is a unique park where children and adults can let their childhood imaginations run wild. You can sit on charming benches disguised as rabbits, crows or cats. There is a cat-centipede wall, angels on pillows, zebras in love, and an elephant fountain to delight your heart. It is a fun park to visit.
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© 2019 Ronald Piper