Kiev, The Heart Of Soviet History

Kiev, one of europe's oldest cities, is the capital of Ukraine and the largest city in the country, located on the banks of the Dnieper River. Although Kiev is still recovering from the communist era, the majesty and majesty of much of its streets and buildings remain as impressive as ever. Kiev's main street, Harishatik, is a sprawling boulevard, lined with grand buildings and leading to the city's grand main square. Over the weekend, the street is blocked to vehicles and it becomes a cheerful and colorful pedestrian mall where fairs and concerts take place. Kiev is lined with dozens of churches scattered throughout the city. Of course you won't want to visit them all (even if you are devout Christians or avid architecture buffs). 

Other attractions in the city are the Chernobyl Museum, which records the nuclear disaster that took place in Ukraine, the Church of St. Sofia - the Ancient Church of Beyor in Kiev, the Pacherska Lavera Monastery - one of the oldest and most important monasteries in all the territories of the former Soviet Union, carved into the rock and Babi Yar- the killing site where tens of thousands of Jews were executed by the Nazis during the Second World War in Europe.

Kiev-Pachersk Lavent 

Kiev Pechersk Lavra is one of the city's most interesting attractions and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you reach it, you can see churches and a monastery, climb to the top of the bell tower and visit a number of national museums. The highlight of the visit is a tour of the ancient monastery caves, which were excavated in the 11th century for seclusion purposes. Guests can visit some of the caves, which serve as prayer rooms and burial chambers for priests who have been secluded there. This is a very sacred place, so be aware that you have to dress modestly, and women must wear skirts and a headscarf. Entrance to caves and churches is free, but visiting the tower and museums is chargeable.

  • Address: Lavrska street, 9
  • Opening hours: Summer: 8:00-19:00, Winter: 9:00-18:00
  • Entrance fee: for the complex and caves: 15 birch; For all exhibitions and buildings: 50/25 Birch for student and child/adult; For each exhibition separately: about 20/10 birch per child/adult.

  • Cathedral of St. Sophia

Sofia Kyivska Cathedral is the main cathedral in Kiev and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, the white building with green domes, and the bell tower at the entrance are one of the most iconic sights of the city.

  • Address: Volodymyrska St, 24
  • Opening hours: daily 10:00-18:00, except Wednesday: 10:00-17:00 and Thursday closed.
  • Entrance fee: for the cathedral: 3 birch, for the tower 10/6 birch for child/adult.

קתדרלת סנט סופיה. צילום: אביטל ישראלSt. Sophia Cathedral. Photo: Avital Israel
Great St. Michael's Abbey

Mykhaylivs'kyi Zolotoverkhyi Monastyr Monastery, with its blue-white façade and golden domes, is just down the street from St. Sophia. If you reach the 12th-century Baroque-style complex, you can visit the active church, wander through the manicure gardens and climb up the bell tower, from which you can look out over the entire area.

  • Address: Mykhailivska ploscha
  • Opening hours: 8:00-19:00, daily prayers at 8:00 and 17:00 and Sundays at 10:00

  • St Andrew's Church and Andreyevsky Slope

The Church of Andriyvs'ka Tserkva, located at the top of a staircase, is another church that is recommended to visit in Kiev. The Royal Church is newer than the previous ones (its construction was completed in 1762), but it was also built in a Baroque style, with the best impressive buildings in the city, and its green domes visible from afar. The building is currently undergoing renovation, so you may not be able to enter it, but it's worth going up the stairs to see the beautiful view of the city that stretches from the bottom and the river.

After visiting, continue to the Andriyivsky Uzviz slope, which is the charming road that goes down from the monastery and winds down towards the lower city. This is a beautiful old street, lined with boutique shops, art galleries, small museums, cafes, restaurants, pubs and special souvenir shops.

  • Address: Andriivs'kyi uzviz 23
  • Opening hours: daily 10:00-18:00

כנסיית סנט אנדרו. צילום: אביטל ישראלSt. Andrew's Church. Photo: Avital Israel
St. Vladimir's Cathedral

St. Volodymyr's Cathedral, located in the center of the city, is one of the holiest buildings for the Orthodox community in Kiev. Unlike the cathedrals and churches mentioned so far, the large building was built in a Byzantine style, and this is especially evident in the color (bright yellow), the seven arches that make up the ceiling and roof and, of course, the colorful frescoes that decorate the large space inside. The cathedral was built in the 19th century, to mark the 900th anniversary of Christianity's arrival in Ukraine, and it is one of the best places to observe Ukrainian Orthodox prayer in the city.

  • Address: 20 Taras Shevchenko Blvrd
  • Opening hours: 6:00-19:30, daily prayers at 8:00 and 17:00, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:00, 10:00 and 17:00

Mariinsky Park and Marinsky Palace

Mariyins'kyi Park is one of the favorite parks for locals as well as tourists. 

Marinsky Park takes its name from the Mariyins'kyi Palats palace. The large building was originally built in honor of the Russian Empress Elisabetta Petrovna, but its construction was not completed until 1752, after her death. Over the years, the building has been used for various purposes, from a guest house for members of the Imperial family, through an agricultural school and a museum, to the fact that today it is the place where official state ceremonies are held. But this is not the original structure: it burned down in the early 19th century and has been restored several times since. Even today it is under renovation, so you can only see it from the outside.

Babi Yar

While this is not an "attraction", anyone interested in Jewish history must visit the Babyn Yar forest, which is on the outskirts of Kiev. The pastoral-looking park was actually built on the killing ravine where the Nazis massacred tens of thousands of locals, including tens of thousands of Jews, during World War II. You can visit the large menorah-shaped monument, commemorating the Holocaust of the Jews of Ukraine or one of the monuments that commemorate the murder of the Kievs during the Nazi regime.

האנדרטה לזכר שואת האוקראינים בבאבי יאר. צילום: איתמר ברקThe Monument to the Holocaust of Ukrainians in Babi Yar. Cinematography: Itamar Barak
Mother-in-land statue

During your trip to the city, you will often get a glimpse of a statue of a woman, perm perm on a hill overlooking the entire area. This is the Rodina-Mat statue, which is 62 meters high (by comparison: the Statue of Liberty in New York is only 46 meters high) and together with the base it reaches 91 meters. The statue shows a woman holding a sword in one hand and a shield in the other – essentially protecting the city of Kiev.

The statue is part of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War which refers to the war between Germany and the Soviet Union. 

  • Kiev's Golden Gates

The Golden Gates of Kiev (Zoloti vorota) were the main gateway to ancient and besiege Kiev during the time of the Kievan Rus Federation in the 11th century. Although the building was dismantled over the years, it was restored by the Soviets at the end of the 20th century, although there is a debate about its appearance (since it is not sure what the original gates looked like). This is an interesting historical relic, so it's worth visiting if you come to the Volodymyr Street and Yaroslaviv Val street area.

Kershchatik Street and Independence Square

Khreshchatyk Street is one of the main in Kiev, so it is a must stop for anyone visiting the city. The street, which stretches from Europe Square to Bessarabska Square, offers a variety of shopping, entertainment and dining options, as it has plenty of shops of various types, cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs and more. Therefore, it is recommended to go to it in the morning and also in the evening, but mainly on weekends, since then it is closed to traffic and there are various markets, street shows and outdoor events.

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