Visiting Independence Square and enjoying the site of the Independence Column and the newly renovated square.
The locals have already nicknamed it Greenhouse for its glass-domed underground shopping malls.
There is an "underground city" full of different cafes, stores and shops to any taste.
The underground city is called "Globe" trade and entertainment center and besides cafes and a McDonald contains lots of stores and shops.
This undeground city was built in a record term of about two years and attracts a lot of visitors.
Fondest memory: Visiting the park located next to the President's palace called Maria's Palace (Mariensky Palace in Russian).
Lots of people including the locals have a vague idea about the origin of the palace’s name.
This building was designed by the great Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli in baroque was built in 1755 as the Czar’s palace for Empress Elizabeth I.
It consists of three buildings: the central one with two floors and two side buildings on each side.
The palace facade is long enough, especially from the side of the palace park.
It is 119 meters long and its height is 16 meters.
The palace is distinguished by its lavish decor.
It suffered from the fire and was restored in 1870 on the eve of the arrival of Emperor Alexander II and his wife Empress Maria.
The palace was called in her honor then. It was the czar’s Kiev residence.
Such is the origin of the name hence the translation: Maria’s Palace.
For a long time it was not clear for me in whose honor the palace was called.
Live and learn!
Favorite thing: I have put links to Google Map in my tips to make it easier to find the objects mentioned, when possible to get the right position. The links are marked in italics. Unfortunately Google Map isn't very precise and too often points to other buildings than the wanted one.
Are you thinking of hiring a Living Human Statue or Mime Artist for your event?
A Human Statue can welcome guests at formal occasions, they are ideal for placing in reception areas to create a stylish atmosphere. In an artistic tableau they remain motionless as human sculpture or surprise their audience with movement.
Well apparently some living statue in Kiev forgot to take their official living statue stand. Thus I tried out for a new profession. Apparently my Egyptian pyramid was not so convincing and my only compensation was some guffaws. Mayby it was the baggy shorts??? I dunno?
Fondest memory: Main square in Kiev.
In Kiev, with tourism in its infancy, there is a very helpful tourist information centre, which is ideally situated in the main Khreschetyk street, the tiny office is to the right of the metro station "Khreschestyk", but Marina & her staff do an excellent job by supplying maps & brochures & much more. They also give tips to visitors, organise twice daily "free" walking tours of Kiev, and more specialised tours including Jewish & Communist themed tours.
Fondest memory: The friendly & helpful local people, the lovely buildings in Kiev & the interesting history, as well as lovely food & beer.
We tried in vain to obtain some Ukrainian Hryvnia currency in the UK prior to our visit to Kiev in April 2012. None of the travel agents or bureau de changes that we visited stocked it on site or had it available to order. Some online information suggested that we might be able to obtain some via HSBC bank, but at an unfavourable exchange rate.
We needn't have worried as it was easy enough to obtain Hryvnia upon arrival in Kiev. I withdrew my first currency from an ATM at Zhulyany airport and topped up as needed from ATMs in the city centre. There were plenty of them. Emma obtained her first Hryvnia from an exchange desk at Zhulyany airport and later changed some more British Pounds into Hryvnia at a branch of Piraeus Bank on Kontraktova Ploscha in Podil. There are many banks and exchange offices throughout the city, so changing money is fairly convenient wherever you are.
The process for changing money in banks and exchange offices proved to be a little long winded. It required passport details to be provided and various paperwork, receipts and certificates to be produced and signed. A single transaction took close to 10 minutes. Withdrawing cash from ATMs was much easier.
The Ukrainian Hryvnia is pegged at 8 Hryvnia to 1 US Dollar. We obtained our Hryvnia at an exchange rate of 12.63 Hryvnia per 1 GBP at Zhulyany airport. Airport exchange rates are sometimes unfavourable, but this wasn't the case here. There were slight fluctuations between different exchange offices and banks in the city centre, but the variance was small (12.60 to 12.65 Hryvnia per GBP).
The Ukrainian Hryvnia comes in the following denominations:
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 kopiyok and 1 hryvnia.
Notes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 hryvnia.
It is always a good idea to keep some low value notes and coins on you. Shops and restaurants will sometimes struggle to change high value denominations. If you intend to use the Metro, be mindful of the fact that the token machines accept 2 and 10 Hryvnia notes.
A new attraction was dedicated in Friendship Park in January 2011.
It is called Stella Magnetic 2 in 1.
It’s a unique 32-meter high attraction developed in Vinnitsa, Ukraine.
It consists of a chain merry-go-round with 24 seats and a “free fall tower” with 26 seats.
The rotation speed is 10 turns a minute. You can enjoy a wonderful panorama of the main street and the entire Left Bank, Lower Kiev and St.Volodymyr’s Hill from its top point.
It is open from 3 p.m. The price is about $5 for a seven-minute ride.
They say the attraction gives you so much adrenalin that you will not need any alcohol or fight any more.
Fondest memory: enjoying the views from Friendship Arch park.
As for me there is a lot to see and to do in Kiev.
Most favorite attractions among foreign tourists are of course:
* Cave Monastery (Lavra)
* Independence square and Kreschatik (the shortest central street of the capital in Europe)
* St. Sophia’s Cathedral and St.Michael's Cathedral which are located in fron of each other
* Golden Gate Kiev
* House with Khimeras (which really worth to see it because of interesting architectural style.
More detailed reviews and photos of these and other attractions : TOP Kiev Attractions list
Fondest memory: Kiev has its special atmotphere which fascinated me when I came to Kiev first time.
We arrived to Kiev the August 18th, some days before the Independence Day of Ukraine. This event commemorates the approvation of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine by the ukrainian parliament the 24th August 1991. The act was approved in an special meeting afterwards the conservative Communist leaders of the Soviet Union tried to restore central Communist party control over the USSR. In Kiev there's a great celebration, and some days before the 24th you can see a lot of flags in the streets, practices of the military parade, planes overflying the city and a lot of people with their cameras taking photos.
Where: Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square).
Archangel St.Michael, the patron saint of Kiev, is represented on the city's coat-of-arms as the oldest city symbol.
So you can safely congratulate the Kievites on St.Michael's Day!
No wonder Kiev and Edinburgh are twin-cities.
Archangel St.Michael is the patron saint of Scotland, too.
You can see Archangel St.Michael's Gate with the statue of the Archangel in Independence Square.
Fondest memory: Exploring the sites of the ten diverse city districts using the underground.
The city consists of ten administrative districts.
Here are their names:
- Podil District (Lower City District);
- Obolon District
- Shevchenko District
- Soloma (Straw) District
- Desna District
- Svyatoshyn District
- Pechera (Cave) District
- Darnitsa District
- Holossiy District .
Caves District, Obolon District and Shevchenko District have often been pronounced the best city districts as to the organization of public services and amenities.
This square looks very modern and attractive to me.
It it hosts lots of concerts and rallies on weekends.
The white building is the the Ukrainian House National Cultural Center
- the republican exhibition, cultural and business center.
There is the flag of the European Union at the entrance.
It was solemnly hoisted there along with the Ukrainian one about ten years ago.
The square is a kind of meeting point of the city visitors.
Fondest memory: A stroll or a drive along Mykhailo Hrushevsky Street.
You can see the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers located next to Dnipro Hotel at 12 Hrushevsky Street.
This impressive semicircular edifice was built in 1936-1938 by architects I.A.Fomin and P.Abrossimov.
Its central part consists of ten floors and its side parts consist of eight and seven floors each.
Splendid Corinth columns evenly divide the building into several parts.
The construction team worked in the best traditions of the Soviet VIP architecture and used the best construction materials: Tulchin labradorite and polished granite for the building.
*** Tasting Kiev beer.
The picture was taken at a bar of "Slavutich' brewery, a very popular beer sort that makes you forget your problems, for a while at least.
*** Attending a concert of modern pop/rock music.
There are lots of big boards in the city and advertisements near Ukraina music hall where you can choose a concert or a show. This ad invites you to a concert of a famous Russian pop star Valery Leontyev who used to live in Luhansk, too.
Have a good time walking about Independence Square!
The Square is, so to say, devided by Khreshchatyk Street into two halves.
This is the view of the second half where the 62-meters-high Independence Column is located.
Behind the column you can see a glass wall of the underground trade center called Globe.
You can also climb the glass wall using stairs and have another view of the square from above.
Fondest memory: Exploring Globe trade and entertainment center.
Driving and walking along this busy embankment that is always full of traffic and people.
You can just drive along the embankment enjoying the huge speed or walk visiting the nearby cafes and restaurants such as "Poseidon" or "River Palace" if you are tired or thirsty.
The views are spectacular, especially when the weather is fine.
There is an area called Venice Bay.
It is located on the left bank of the Dnipro opposite the Cave Monastery, three kilometers down the River Terminal. The bay is located on the territory of Hydropark. It is one kilometer long. It is located perpendicular to the river.
Before 1917 the area was called Venice.
Visiting these two squares is also considered a must for visitors of Kiev.
You can see this impressive monument in front of the state reserve called "Sophia's Cathedral" ("Lord's Wisdom Cathedral").
This is the monument to Bohdan Khmelnitsky, the Ukrainian Cossacks' leader in then middle of the 17th century. His Cossacks army was the first European force to defeat the mighty and snobbish Polish army in 1648.
The great Polish Kingdom could not recover from that defeat for dozens of years, although the Polish army continued fighting the Cossacks' army.
Standing at the foot of this monument dedicated in 1888 you can take a look of St.Michael Square and then walk towards it.
Archangel St.Michael is the patron saint of the Ukrainian capital.
He is represented on the city's coat-of-arms.
Visiting the Cave Monastery you will see this new cathedral that was restored on the territory of the monastery at the place of the former Annunciation Cathedral blown up by the authorities in 1941.
The cathedral looks quite modern now and impressed me as a great work of art and human labor.
You can see some spaces of a brick wall below to illustrate the old brick-laying traditions...