Ukrainians and Russians tend to value all kinds of cultural events very high. But this is not restricted to serious classical or traditional themes. The range spans from opera, ballet, rock and folklore concerts to experimental drama, professional puppet theatre, improvisation, comedy and more.
I also noticed that Ukrainians and Russians are very well read in serious literature and even take interest in original versions of foreign literature if they only slightly know the language.
With this tip I focus on theatrical and musical arts only. This is not a closed list but will be complemented whenever I find a new clue and can give a brief description.
Fondest memory: (text removed)
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...
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.
For your orientation on the Kiev metro lines it is advantagous to make yourself familiar with the general setup and naming conventions of east European subway systems. Details can be found under
"Confusion on the Metro" in the transportation tips category.
Obviously good street maps about Kiev are hard to get, even if you search the internet you might spend hours to find something useful.
I was lucky to find a precise and readable interactive map (Latin or Cyrillic letters) that really goes down to naming of the streets and house numbers.
And here is the link: Kiev Online Map
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.
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.
If you get to the Cave Monastery located in Hrushevsky Street on the elevated bank of the Dnipro, you can have a nice view of the new city districts located at the opposite bank.
This district on the left bank is called "Darnitsa" and it consists of dozens of multi-storeyed apartment houses.
You can also see several bridges standing there in the area of the new cathedral of the Cave Monastery.
*** 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.
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.
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.
Enjoying the wonderful views of the River Dnipro from the observation platform of Friendship Park located next to European Square.
You can see the Friendship Arch dedicated in 1983 as a symbol of the Ukrainian-Russian friendship.
There is an amphitheater next to the arch where you can see concerts on holidays.
Fondest memory: Walking downtown and admiring the beautiful architecture, statues and avenues.
This is the way to the Friendship Arch in winter.
I would say it's a popular spot of the capital.
There is an amphitheater and an observation platform there.
Besides, you can sit at a bistro and have a snack and a cup of tea there.
The Friendship Arch located in Kreshchatiy Park up from Eauropean Square. It was opened in 1982 and is the symbol of union between Ukraine and Russia that was signed by Bogdan Khmelnickiy and Russian ambassador in 1654 during event called Pereyaslavskaya Rada.
Sculptor Skoblikov, architacters Ivanov, Mirgorodskiy and Sidorov.
It is fun during spring and summer here, because there are performances on weekends and holidays on open stage.
Fondest memory: On 25 of May it is the day of frontier guards. This date is old one from Soviet Union and now it is different for Ukrainian defenders of boarders. But people (as a rule men who served in SU Army) still gather on this area and celebrate their holiday. 4 years ago I took a part in organization this celebration and it was really fun (from author - I am not a military woman in present and never was). There was true military “field-kitchen” (“traveling kitchen”) and we ate porridge and drank tea imagine ourselves being in the field on military trainings. Frankly speaking we were very hungry that day and porridge seemed to us very delicious :-).
The Ukrainian flag is composed of two equal horizontal of azure and golden yellow colors. It represents ripe wheat growing under the blue sky.
To enter Ukraine, a visa is needed for all non-Ukrainian citizens except the CIS citizens and persons with diplomatic or spezial passports of the countries that have appropriate agreements with Ukraine.
The best and cheapest way to obtain a visa is through the Ukrainian consulate or embassy in your country prior the departure.
Entering or leaving Ukraine you may proceed either through the Green or Red custom corridor. Save all documents you receive and fill out going through customs - you will need this to leave the country.
Red corridor - for people carring goods or cash that must be declared.
Any prohibited items
More than $1,000 and 85 hryvnyas in cash
Personal jewelry which value exeeds $ 240
More than one liter of alcoholic beverages
More than 200 gram of tobacco products
Green corridor - for people who don?t have any goods to declare.