Maidan Nezalezhnosti (literally: Independence Square) is the central square in Kyiv and the most beautiful one. The square was known under different names but it became widely known as simply the Maidan. Maidan Nezalezhnosti located on the northern end of Khreshchatyk Street is the central meeting place in Kyiv; parades, festivals, political events and other arrangements regularly take place in this square. In 2004 was the focal point of UBK campaign and Orange Revolution.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti was completely rebuilt in 2002. The square contains six fountains (featuring legendary founders of Kyiv: Kyi, Schek, Khoryv and Lybid, Cossack hero Mamay and Archangel St. Michael, Patron Saint of the city), an artificial waterfall, the famous Independence Column where stands the statue of Mother Ukraine, among other attractions. There is a very large underground shopping complex that lies beneath the square.
Khreshchatyk is the main street of Kyiv; measuring around 1.5 km long and 75 to 100 meters wide. It is the administrative and business center of the city, it is also a historical place and a busy shopping street.
It is closed to traffic on weekends and holidays making it an all-pedestrian street; so visitors can enjoy a nice walk along the street admiring its beautiful architecture, watching musicians and street performers or shopping something unique and special, whatever you want to buy; you will probably find it here.
The street contains also many restaurants, banks, hotels, boutiques, and governmental buildings. At the south-west end of Khreshchatyk, there is the famous Besarabsky Market, also frequently called Besarabka, here you can find any kind of fruit or vegetable all year round.
The entire street was destroyed during World War II by the Soviet Army and rebuilt during the Soviet Ukraine with the imposing Stalinist-style Architecture, though Khreshchatyk Street has been renovated extensively during the last years giving the street a unique attractive much admired by locals and visitors alike.
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, it is the oldest Orthodox monastery in Ukraine founded in the 11th century by Saint Anthony, a Greek Orthodox Monk. Nowadays it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of devout Christians and tourists who visit the mummified monks and the subterranean church. The caves are a very sacred place and you have to dress correctly to get in. The caves were dug out by priests who started living here as hermits with just a small hole allowing food and water to be passed in, once dead, they were left and buried there.
Apart from the caves visitors can climb up the Great Lavra Belltower (96 meters) for a beautiful view, visit the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary, the Debosquette Wall (a stone fortification wall), and several museums. There are also many beautiful churches and cathedrals such as the Refectory Church, the Church of All Saints, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove, the Gate Church of the Trinity, the Church of the Conception of St. Anne, the Uspenski (Assumption) Cathedral, and the Troyitska Nadbramna (Holy Trinity) Church.
Address: 25 Sichnevogo Povstannya Street, Kiev, Ukraine, 01015
Telephone: (0)44 255 1237
Saint Sophia Cathedral
St. Sophia Cathedral is a masterpiece of Kievan Rus' architecture, it is characterized by the 13 domes that dominate the skyline, The cathedral facades were embellished with decorative niches, ornaments, and paintings; inside you will find amazing mosaics and frescoes dating to the eleventh century including the world-famous Virgin Orans icon, one of the greatest sacred symbols in Ukraine. Saint Sophia Bell tower is a four-storied structure with a height of 76 meters.
Outside the gates there is a statue commemorating Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who led the Ukrainian independent movement in the 17th century. The Cathedral preserves a sarcophagus with the remains of his founder Yaroslav I the Wise. St. Sophia Cathedral was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
Address: 24 Vladimirskaya Street, Kiev (closed Thursdays)
Andriyivskyy Uzviz or Andrew's Descent is one of the most famous streets in Kyiv, in ancient days it was the shortest way from the aristocratic Upper Town to the tradesmen's Lower Town, Podil. Nowadays this meandering street is a favorite place for arranging concerts, fairs, art festivals and city holidays. There are several Art Galleries, shops, theatres, and gift stores making this street a great place to shop for Ukrainian cultural goods. Here you can find Soviet paraphernalia and Matryoshka dolls. Many artists live here, on weekends you can see actors, sculptors, painters, musicians and poets showing their art.
The baroque St Andrews Church, the Taras Shevchenko Statue, the Castle Of Richard Lionheart, the house of the famous writer Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) which is now the Bulgakov Museum and the Museum of One Street (one of the loveliest museums in Kyiv) are some attractions located in Andriyivskyy Uzviz.
Golden Gate is a historic architecture monument situated within the ancient city walls of Kiev dating back from the times of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054). It was constructed in 1017-1024 and served as a main entrance to Kyiv and as a protective barrier from invaders, it measured 6.4 meters, the golden part is often referred to the golden dome of the Annunciation Church which was built over it and was dedicated to the Mother of God. In 1240 it was partially destroyed by Batu Khan's Kipchak Khanate (Golden Horde).
The place was restored to its present condition in 1983, and now serves as the Golden Gate Historical Museum which contains exhibits relating the history of ancient Kyiv. Golden Gate is located in downtown Kyiv, just two blocks from the National Opera House and near of the Zoloti Vorota metro station.
Address: 40a, Vladimirskaya Street.
St. Vladimir's Cathedral
St. Vladimir's Cathedral or St Volodymyr's Cathedral is one of the most beautiful temples in Kyiv and the mother cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The cathedral is world famous for its paintings and mosaics; visitors can see works of outstanding artists such as Mikhail Vrubel, Mikhail Nesterov, Pavel Svedomsky, and Viktor Vasnetsov whom precious works such as The Baptizing of Kievers, Virgin with the Child, and The Baptizing of Vladimir can be seen inside the cathedral.
It was built in the 19th century, to commemorate the 900th anniversary of christening of Kievan Rus by Saint Prince Vladimir. Russian Emperor Nicolas I approved the project and ordered to collect donations from all over the Russian Empire. Kiev Pechersk Lavra donated one million bricks of its own factory for the cathedral construction. Original design was elaborated by the architects I. Schtrom, P. Sparro, R. Bemhardt, K. Mayevsky, V. Nikolayev, the project was completed by architect A. Beretti. It took 34 years (1862-96) to complete the construction of this beautiful cathedral.
The facade is decorated with mosaics; the interior walls are covered with exquisite ornamental details. The double bronze door of the cathedral is a unique masterpiece; it contains relief figures of Princess Olga and Prince Vladimir.
Address: 20 Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, Kiev
The Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum tells you the history of the world’s worst nuclear accident that occurred in 1986 just 100km away from Kyiv. Radiation levels in Kyiv do not exceed the permissible rate.
The museum, located in the old mercantile quarter of Podil, houses an extensive collection of memorabilia such as photos of deformed animals and humans, life-sized costumes with gas masks, identity cards of many victims, tributes to the victims and scale model of the reactor. Although main parts of some exhibits have been translated into English, it is recommended to hire an English speaking guide.
Address: 1, Khoryvyj Pereulok Street. Between Khoryva Street and Spaska Street