Travelling to Kiev? You are lucky: Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is a wonderful city with numerous historical landmarks, picturesque parks and other interesting sights. If you arrive to this beautiful city for the first time, you may get lost in the variety of must-visit attractions. We make the task easier for you, offering sightseeing map of Kiev with the most worthy places to visit in the downtown.
Khreschatyk Street and Independence Square
Our downtown map of Kiev starts with Khreschatyk – the main street of the city. This 1.33-km long street starts at European square, passes Independence square and ends on Bessarbska square. On Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays Khreschatyk turns into pedestrian area where people can enjoy live concerts, performances, buy souvenirs etc. This is also a good place for shopping and dining. Independence square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) is the main square of the capital, famous as a central location of Ukrainian revolutions in 2004 and 2013-2014. The square is surrounded by unique buildings constructed in the middle of the previous century. The last reconstruction of the square took place in 2001. That year, new monuments, fountains and high column with a figure of a girl holding arrow-wood twig in her hand were installed on Maidan. The sculpture of girl symbolizes independence of Ukraine. Besides, big gate with sculpture of Archangel Michael was built on the place where remains of the ancient Lyadsky gate, the part of old Kiev fortifications, had been found.
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St. Volodymyr`s Hill
St. Volodymyr`s hill is a large park in the center of Kiev, embracing territory of 10.6 hectares. The hill was given its name when the large monument of St. Volodymyr, Kiev Rus christianizer, was constructed here in 1853. This beautiful place is very popular among locals as well as tourists. The park consists of the higher, middle and lower terraces (alleys), located along the East slope of the hill. From here, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic view over the Dnipro River.
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is one of the most important marks on Kiev sightseeing map. This old monastery is located in the city center on St. Volodymyr`s hill. St. Michael’s Monastery, one of the main monasteries of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is considered as one of the mostly appreciated places among the people of faith. The complex consists of the big church of Archangel Michael, the guardian of Kiev, that had been demolished in 1930 and reconstructed in 1990s; high bell-tower, constructed in 1716—1719; frater with church of John the Evangelist, that remained unchanged since its construction in 1713.
Read: Kyiv Secret Places: Part II
St. Sophia`s Cathedral
St. Sophia`s Cathedral in Kiev, built in 1037, is an old Orthodox cathedral with monastery buildings, gold-plated dome, necropolis and museum. Frescos and mosaics of St. Sophia`s Cathedral were created in the middle of the XI century by Byzantine masters from Constantinople, who had been specially invited by prince Yaroslav the Wise. Mosaics of the main dome, the main altar and columns in front of the altar are the real art masterpieces. The icon of Virgin Mary, known under the name “Unbreakable Wall”, is the center of the impressive composition.
Golden Gate in Kiev is one of the few remained monuments of defense architecture from the period of board of Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054). In 2007, the last reconstruction of Golden Gate took place. In the course of reconstruction, restoration of remaining gates part was done; external look of the landmark was improved by replacement of wooden cladding. In the spacious hall of renovated Golden Gate, guests can visit museum with exposition dedicated to the history and architecture of the sight. Parts of the original gate wall are the central showpiece of the exposition. It is possible to go up to the observation platform to see beautiful Kiev panorama.
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Botanical Garden named after A.V. Fomin
Botanical garden named after academician Alexander Fomin is one of the oldest in Kiev and in the whole Ukraine. The garden was founded in 1839 on wastelands, deep ravines and hills near Kiev University. The territory of the garden embraces 22.5 hectares. Nowadays, the collection of the botanical garden can boast around 10 000 kinds of plants from all over the world. The garden is divided into two parts: park with beautiful benches and fountains, one of the favorite places of Kiev dwellers to spend leisure time; and scientific part, which is closed for visiting. Kiev botanical garden is attractive in all seasons: visitors can see blooming snowdrops and crocuses in February, tender magnolias in April, gorgeous rosebays in May, pretty flag-leafs in June and charming golden-daisies in September.
St. Volodymyr`s Cathedral
St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral is a unique church constructed at the end of the XIX century. The cathedral was named after the christianizer of Rus – the great prince Volodymyr Svyatoslavovych. The inner walls of the cathedral were painted by the famous artists of the Russian Empire – Vasnetsov, Nesterov, Kotarbynsky, Svedomsky and Vrubel. Nowadays, St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral is one of the main cathedrals of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kievan Patriarchate. The cathedral, located in the center of the city, is surely somewhere at the top of the best Kiev sights list.
Andryivsky Descent is one of the most beautiful and famous streets of Ukrainian capital. Since the old times, this street has been connecting Higher city (old Kiev) and Lower city (Podil district). This unique street is a real Mecca for those who wish to buy some souvenirs or artworks. Numerous painters, handmade artists and antiquaries sell their works and collection items right on the street or at the shops on Descent. Besides, here tourists can see such interesting sights as St. Andrew`s church, Richard Lionheart`s castle and Mikhail Bulgakov museum. Andryivsky Descent is the place where we feel the old soul of Kiev.
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St. Andrew`s Church
St. Andrew`s church is a monument of architecture, history and art of the XVIII century. The church on Andryivska mountain in the city center was built in 1747–1762 in the baroque style by project of the famous architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. If you go to the freshly-reconstructed observation platform on St. Andrew`s church, you will enjoy amazing view over Podil district.
Kiev funicular, opened in 1905, is one of the first funiculars of the ex-Russian Empire. This is a funicular system connecting historical Higher city with Podil district. The funicular has two stations: on Poshtova square and on Volodymyrska hill. If you take a ride on Kiev funicular, you will observe a picturesque view over the Dnipro River.
Peyzazhna alley in Kiev is a very popular rest area among locals and tourists. The alley, located right near the Historical museum and Andryivsky Descent, will surely awe you with many unusual modern sculptures and benches. Here you will see kids` playground with Alice in Wonderland characters, statues of Little Prince and angels, colorful figures of zebra, hares, elephant and a lovely 30-meter long mosaic cat, famous for its mysterious smile.
National Museum of History of Ukraine in the World War II
National Museum of History of Ukraine in the World War II is a large memorial complex, embracing 10 hectares on the hills of the right bank of the Dnipro River in the central Pechersk district. Here you will see an open-air exhibition of military equipment, impressive sculptural compositions, alley of heroes and the great bowl with eternal fire dedicated to fallen warriors. The huge 102-meter high monument of the Motherland with a shield and a sword is the central figure of the complex. You can visit a museum in sculpture`s bottom or go to the observation platform on its top to see Kiev from the height.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Kiev Pechersk Lavra is the famous monastery complex with sophisticated religious architecture and underground caves system in the center of Ukrainian capital. This complex, founded by monk Antony in 1051 in the times of Yaroslav the Wise, is one of the oldest monasteries on the territory of ex-Kiev Rus. The territory of Kiev Pechersk Lavra embraces two hills divided by a deep hollow going down to the Dnipro River.
We hope that you find our Kiev sightseeing guide helpful and wish you to have a great time in Ukrainian capital!
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