How to spent great time in Kyiv?

Places to go

  • Chornobyl Museum – a fascinating and moving museum. Heavy on symbols of the disaster’s consequences but very light on the plant’s background or anything technical. No signage in English, but very good English audio guides are available for a fee and are highly recommended.
  • Khreshchatyk Street – the main drag of the city center. It is closed to traffic on some weekends and full of entertainers and people wandering around.
  • ‘Mother’ Motherland statue in Kyiv stands in the center of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
  • Kyiv Pechersk Lavra – one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ukraine and in the territory of the former Soviet Union. It was founded in 1077 by St Antoniy. The caves were dug out by priests who lived there as hermits. Nowadays, the caves are venerated by the faithful and tourists who visit the mummified monks, and pilgrims are still allowed access to the underground church there. Women can only just get away with pants in the winter.
  • Open-Air Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life. Covering 160 ha, the area shows how people used to live in different parts of Ukraine. Six restored rural Ukrainian villages, with old huts, wooden mills and churches from all over Ukraine have been carefully restored and function as living museums. English-speaking guides with expertise on the whole site are available and well worth-it.
  • St Sophia’s Cathedral – the oldest remaining church in Kyiv. Parts date from the 11th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and has world biggest ensembles of frescoes and mosaics dating from 11th century, including the Virgin Orans mosaic. Outside the gates, there is a statue commemorating hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, who liberated Kyiv in the 17th century.
  • Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral – a working monastery that goes back to the 12th Century. Destroyed during the Soviet era, with many of its art works hastily removed, some of which were transferred to the museums in Moscow and St Petersburg, some were moved to St Sophia Cathedral. Some mosaics housed in St Sophia subsequently fell into the hands of the Nazis but were returned to Hermitage in St Petersburg. Behind the complex is a pleasant park with views of the Dnieper and, to the left, the entrance to the funicular.
  • Babyn Yar – a ravine which was the site of massacres of Jews, Gypsies, and other civilians by the Nazis and their puppets during World War II. Approximately 60,000 civilians were executed at this site during the war (over 34,000 Jews in the first two days alone). Now a memorial to “Soviet citizens” murdered by the Germans, the park can be reached via the Dorohozhychi metro station.
  • Maidan Nezalezhnosti – the Independence Square, located on Khreshchatyk Street. This is a central meeting place in Kyiv.
  • Andriyivsky Uzviz or Andrew’s Descent. At the top of this quaint, very rough cobblestone street is St Andrew’s Church. Sidewalks are gradually being added to the Descent but take a good pair of shoes. Andrew’s Descent winds down to Kontraktova Ploshcha in Podil. The street is lined with souvenir sellers, restaurants, galleries and museums. Touristy but retains charm.
  • One Street Museum. The collection of the One Street Museum is dedicated to the history of the Andriyivskyi uzviz (Andrew’s Descent) and its famous residents.
  • Mariyinsky Palace is one of the most popular walking destinations. This very picturesque place is about 140 years old. Park is located on the hilly bank of the Dnieper River and received its name from the nearby Mariyinsky Palace which was built in Baroque style at the end of eighteenth century by the order of the Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. The project of the Palace was designed by the famous architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also developed Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Mariyinsky Palace adjoins the neo-classical building of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), and currently functions as an official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine.
  • Golden Gate of Lyov – * Zoloti Vorota is a 1982 reconstruction of the Golden Gate of Kyiv, described by Mussorgski in “Pictures of an Exhibition”. It is quite a nice spot to visit and learn about the town walls.
  • FC Dynamo Kyiv (Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex) – the Kyiv’s local football club is worth checking out if you’re into sport. The stadium is centrally located and can be reached by foot or by taking the Metro. There are some souvenir shops and vendors around the stadium and a large official Adidas souvenir shop as well.