One of the oldest cities in the world, Kiev is fast becoming a compelling destination for tourists from across the globe. The reason is not far to seek. Imposing old churches domes, wonderful architecture, green parks on the banks of the mighty Dnieper River, glittering skyscrapers, cosy restaurants and romantic cafes go a long way in making Kiev a favorite with the tourists. Following are some of Kiev’s most compelling experiences that should force you to make a trip to this city.
The monument to the founders of Kyiv
Legend has it that Kyiv, which has a history of more than a thousand years, was founded by three brothers Kyi, Schek and Horiv. Located in a beautiful park on the banks of the Dnieper river, the monument consists of a boat with the statues of three brothers and their sister Lybid.
Independence Square (MAIDAN)
Once known as October Revolution Square, Independence Square or Maidan as it is popularly known, is the focal point of culture and politics in Ukraine. Lined with opulent villas the square it is the venue for all the city’s major parades and public celebrations. It was the scene of civil unrest in 2014 against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych who later fled to Russia.
Khreschatyk, Kiev’s main promenade, is named after a small river, which now runs underground, enclosed in an underneath pipe. The street is at its exuberant best during weekends and public holidays when the street is closed to traffic and becomes a beehive of activity. As you stroll through the street you will spot several cafes and kiosks where you can find delectable recipes.
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral, more popularly known as St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate. Topped by domes of gold, the monastery has sky-blue and white baroque walls that are feast for the eyes.Named after Kyiv's patron saint, St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery is one of the oldest religious buildings. Originally built in the twelfth century it was demolished in 1937 during the Soviet rule and rebuilt in the 1990s after Ukraine attained independence.
Kyiv Funicular (Cable Railway)
A ride in the Kyiv funicular railway is great fun for the whole family. Running through a steep hillside, the quaint funicular gives you the opportunity to have the glimpse of the breathtaking sights of the hillsides surrounding Kyiv and also view the Dnieper River.
A stroll along the Obolon Quay, with the sailing ships in the background, will be an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Located on the intersection of Heroev Stalingrada and Severnaya streets, the Quay is a wonderful place for sunbathing, swimming and active sports.
Kiev’s youngest attraction is Mezhyhiria which once served as the luxury residence of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych who was ousted from power in the Euromaidan Revolution of 2014 and now lives in exile in Russia. Located on the banks of the Dnieper river, Mezhyhiria, standing as a monument to his regime's corruption, has now been transformed into a National Park.Surrounded by 140 hectares of grounds, the estate is synonymous with grandeur and complete with sauna, zoo, horse stables, a golf course, tennis courts and a museum of expensive cars. Strolling through Mezhyhirya's grounds will fill you with awe. You will be forced to contemplate whether it is fitting for a president of a state where the grinding poverty afflicts majority of the population.
A colossal titanium statue of a female warrior carrying a 16-metre sword and 12 tonnes of shield, Mother Motherland was built in the 1970s and celebrates the victory of USSR over Germany. You can climb up the top of the statue to enjoy the stunning views of the city. The monument now forms part of the Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II.
The Great Patriotic War Museum
One of the largest museums in Ukraine, the Great Patriotic War Museum is home to more than 300,000 items. Built to honour Kyiv's defenders during the World War II, the museum is the repository of thousands of exhibits telling the story of World War II in which 8 million Ukrainians lost their lives.
Today we will proceed to the impressive Oceanarium where you will have the real thrill of the underwater world. Apart from the fish, you can find there shrimp, jellyfish and sea stars. As Kiev’s premier visitor destination, the Oceanarium is undoubtedly the one not-to-be-missed attraction on your visit to the city. Raison d'être of Oceanarium is the most venomous fish in the world.
A 25 minutes’ drive from the center of Kyiv along Obukhivskiy highway will take you to the scenic Hodosiivka village where you will find Manufactura, the first outlet shopping center in Ukraine. Designed in the old North European city style, the outlet has over 100 boutiques selling world famous brands such as La Coste, Chantal, Lagerfeld, Guess and Coccinele. Apart from the many fine restaurants you can find the Manufactura Art Centre displaying art exhibits.
Kiev is also cheap. There are several superb restaurants for food lovers to explore for a fraction of what they would have to pay in the West.