Enjoying the Best of Downtown Kiev

Central Kiev is a truly special place and a great holiday destination. Read on to find some of the gems you can enjoy in the Ukrainian capital.

Kiev is undoubtedly all these things and throughout its 1,500 year history it has been many more. These days a further tag can be included in the description of Kiev. The Ukrainian capital is one of Europe’s most fascinating tourist destinations.

If you are tempted by a trip to Kiev read on to discover some of the fascinating sights that await you in the magical city.

Old Kiev

No matter how much you read about Kiev, nothing quite prepares you for the staggering beauty of Kiev. The architecture throughout the oldest, central part of the city is an intoxicating mix of styles from lavish turn-of-the-20th-century constructions to impressive buildings whose styles echo the cult of Soviet monumentalism.

Criss-crossing this sea of red tiled roofs, golden domes and regal public buildings are broad and airy, tree-lined streets and boulevards and through the middle of the area flows the expansive Dnipro river. Amongst this central area you’ll find some of the city’s most enjoyable attractions, as well as some of the finest accommodation.

The Kyiv Podil Hotel is right in the heart of this attractive district, providing a great base for exploring some of the fascinating locations in the area. We’ve picked out five of the best of these locations for you to see on your trip:

  • Kviy-Pecherska Lavra: This UNESCO-listed monastery is an important centre of Eastern Orthodoxy and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The selection of ornately designed church buildings and beautiful golden domes that top the buildings of the area are only half the story.

Underground you’ll find a fantastical network of churches and catacombs that house glass coffins holding the perfectly preserved bodies of monks who died some 900 years ago. After spending some time there you’ll understand why the monastery is the city’s most visited attraction.

  • Mystetskyi Arsenal: You don’t have to go far from the monastery to discover another of Kiev’s incredible attractions. The massive Mystetskyi Arsenal art museum is just across the road from the ancient site. This huge converted weapons store holds a breath taking collection within its walls and is always looking to grow.

The latest expansion is still on-going and, if all goes to plan, then in 2014 the art museum will be the largest in Europe. The collection here celebrates the best in Ukrainian and Eastern European art from throughout the ages, from the medieval all the way through to contemporary times.

  • Khreshchatyk Street: The most famous, and busiest of Kiev’s boulevards, Khreschatyk Street was completely destroyed during the Second World War and was totally rebuilt in the post-conflict years. The results are impressive and now the street forms a fittingly vibrant centre to Kiev.

You’ll find no shortage of bars and restaurants along the busy street and it boasts an exciting social scene that you must spend at least some time enjoying before you leave Kiev. The street is often closed off during public events, and fills up with crowds and street entertainers enjoying the open air.

  • Chernobyl Museum: The events at Chernobyl had a profound effect on the entire world and the terrible tragedy that befell the city is remembered at this moving museum.

The weight of the disaster that culminated in the meltdown of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl is shown through the many events at the museum. Although the exhibition signs and information are not delivered in English, audio-guides with excellent descriptions are available.

  • Maidan Nezalezhnosti: This square has been the sight of some very modern history and became famous throughout the world as the location that supporters of the Orange Revolution gathered in 2004 to show their support of Yuschenko. Freedom Square, as it is also known, still retains an exciting buzz.

The square is a central meeting place in Kiev and is a popular place for locals and tourists to relax and spend some time socializing. Maidan Nezalezhnosti is also an eminently central location so a great place to get your bearings, or take a break before deciding where to go next.


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