Kiev or Kyiv is the Capital of The Ukraine and is also its largest city of about 2.5 million people. The City is known for its “Green” program and environment and this is quite visible throughout! There are numerous parks and gardens and wonderful vistas to explore with scenic byways and views of the Dnieper River. The above photo is one of the main squares of historic Kiev with Mikhailivska (St. Michael) Cathedral; just one of its many ornately decorated churches and monasteries.
Just some particulars about travel to and from Kiev: I flew from Moscow in just more than one hour on Aeroflot; I found the onboard service quite efficient and comfortable. The small airport in Kiev is very friendly and welcoming: USA citizens do not require a Visa for entry! The City is quite easy to navigate and most hotels have private chauffeured driven cars at reasonable rates. Taxis are plentiful and very inexpensive; I would just recommend that you arrange this through your Hotel or Restaurant. Deluxe Hotels include the very new and quite beautiful Intercontinental with a fabulous location overlooking several historic monuments, The Hyatt Regency which is quite modern and trendy and boasts some of the largest accommodations in the City; The Hyatt also has a prime location overlooking both St. Michael’s as well as St. Sophia’s Cathedral and Main Square. The other deluxe option is where I am staying: The Opera Hotel; a small deluxe boutique hotel which is a member of Leading Hotels of The World. It is quite charming with lovely accommodations, a very smart bar and restaurant which caters to the fashion and upscale citizens of Kiev. The location is just about 15-20 minutes walk to the Main Historic Square.
Morning walk in front of Mikhailivska Square and Cathedral. The ornately domed are pear shaped signifying their unique Ukranian design differ from the onion like shape of the Russian Orthodox.
Directly opposite the same square is the quite beautiful St. Sophia church and bell tower. Dating back to the 11th century; the church has an enclosed walled courtyard garden with several historic buildings including access to the famous Bell Tower.
Quite unique is this very interesting Wartime Memorial Museum with real tanks and canons and real rubble from wartime destruction and bombings including live commentary and broadcasts. This is out of the center of the city and is about 10-15 minute taxi ride or I suggest a private car hire. The Wartime museum is also adjacent to a lovely scenic park overlooking the Dnieper River with an impressive Titanium Statue of The Motherland. This is also adjacent to the famous Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra Cave Monastery therefore you can combine both historic monuments and parks in one outing. There is a very famous local charming Ukranian restaurant just across the street for lunch or dinner!!
The local handicrafts and souvenirs are quite colorful with lovely handpainted flowers and sayings! Of course it reminds me of the time I actually took a Ukranian Egg Decorating Course years ago at a High School in White Plains, NY. I remember very well the intricate design one had to prepare in wax on the egg and then begin the coloring process; our challenge at the time the goose egg!! You will find a multitude of vendors along the street adjacent to St. Andrew’s Church just off the main square in the historic district of Kiev!!
I hope you enjoy the photos and commentary! I encourage everyone to visit Kiev and The Ukraine; its a land of peace and friendly, happy people!!