Situated on the Dnieper River, Kyiv (Kiev) is a gem of ancient Ukrainian culture with 950 Cathedrals and Churches and monuments that dot the city. As the hub of science, industry and culture there is nothing that can’t be found while enjoying what Kyiv has to offer including museums, great restaurants, shops and landmarks.
The ornate Baroque Mariyinsky Palace is the official ceremonial home for the President of the Ukraine. Inside, visitors can find artworks by Ukrainian masters as well as cultural and historic treasures. Built in 1744 in the Baroque style by architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Palace lies next door to the equally impressive Verkhovna Rada (Parliament Building).
Kiev-Pechersk Lavra also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves is an 11th Century Monastery complex founded by two monks, St. Anthony and St. Theodosius. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a labyrinth of eerie catacombs where mummified monks have been laid to rest under glass. The complex stretches over 69 acres in the Pechersk district of the city and is dotted with golden topped Churches.
Built on a hill another of Kyiv’s major landmarks is the Baroque St. Andrew's Church. Situated in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Podil, it was built during the time of Catherine the Great. While the Church is no longer religious in nature, it does house an important collection of paintings and sculptures and admired for its white and blue exterior with emerald domes with gold detail.
The 11th Century UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint Sophia's Cathedral is one of the oldest and most awe inspiring of Kyiv's impressive Churches with striking murals, elaborate mosaics and gilt frescoes that adorn its interior. If you climb to the top of the Bell Tower you will be able to enjoy 360 degree views over all of Kyiv.
Another UNESCO Listed gem is the Golden Gate, once the imposing gateway to the city that was modelled after the Golden Gate of Constantinople. The structure was dismantled in the Middle Ages and the gates that are left today pay homage to the main gate that once stood here.
St. Volodymyr's Cathedral is one of Kyiv’s most important Churches and definitely one of the most impressive. Built in honour of Prince Vladimir of Kyiv 988 C.E. this neo-Byzantine building with its distinctive yellow colour and seven domes of blue and gold has a breathtakingly beautiful interior with gilded murals and paintings. The grounds are equally as attractive and sit on a tree lined street near Shevchenko University.
Kyiv has a lot of history, which is on show throughout the city. The Motherland Monument located in Victory Park is a stainless steel tower that depicts a woman holding a sword and celebrating the Russian victory over Nazi Germany. Sitting on the riverbank it is now part of the National Museum of History of the Ukraine. At the base of the statue you will also find the Museum of the Great Patriotic War where visitors have flocked to observe and view World War II memorabilia. One of the most visited museums in the Ukraine is the National Art Museum. Established in 1897 it is the oldest museum in the city.
Other sites to visit include the M. M. Gryshko National Botanical Garden in Kyiv, this beautiful nature reserve is filled with copious amounts of local flora and fauna, as well as plants from all over the world. Independence Square is the central square of the city where there are many shops and restaurants and also where festivals, concerts and parades are held. There are six fountains as well as a waterfall and a large column representing Ukrainian Independence.
The Mezhyhirya is the former Presidential Palace and is situated on the banks of the picturesque Dnieper River. You will be overwhelmed by the extravagance that is on show. The building is a reminder of the overindulgence and institutional greed and corruption of the past.
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery with its sky blue exterior and golden domes is a functioning Monastery in Kyiv. It is located on the bank of the Dnieper River opposite the Saint Sophia Cathedral. Standing to the right as you leave the Church grounds is a sobering reminder of Stalin’s inhumane policies with a monument to the victims of Holodomor (starvation). Keeping watch over the square are the reconstructed statues of Princess Olga, Apostle Andrew, St. Cyrill and St. Mephodius.