KYIV (Київ)

Finally, our friend Peter has arrived and joined our tour in Kyiv – the capital city with an ancient and proud history. The city stands on the Dnieper River just below its confluence with the Desna. As the center of Kyivan Rus, the first eastern Slavic state, 1,000 years ago, it acquired the title “Mother of Rus Cities.” It was severely damaged during World War II, but by the mid-1950s it had been restored. City founded in the fifth or sixth century as a trading post was destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1240, it was a provincial capital of marginal importance until the city prospered during the Russian industrial revolution in the late nineteenth century. It took us three days to discover all the sights, first among these was the cathedral of St. Sophia from the 11th century – one of the finest and most beautiful examples of early Rus-Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture. Within and immediately adjacent to the area of the former Old Town are many of the city’s museums, theatres, and public buildings as well as the principal shops. The axis of the center is the street known as Khreshchatyk, which runs along the bottom of a small valley the sides of which have in part been landscaped with terraced gardens interspersed with tall, modern office and apartment buildings. Perhaps the most notable public square along Khreshchatyk is Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”). It served as the center of the Maidan protest movement that led to Ukrainian Pres. Notable is also the cathedral of St. Volodymyr, St. Michaels church, former trading and Jewish quarter Podil, Pecherskyy district with Mariinsky Palace, and finally the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), founded in the mid-11th century, one of the most famous and important monasteries in the history of the region. Kyiv has a vibrant nightlife scene with bars and clubs spread across the city. Our favorite bar was Sklad with the enthusiastic barman (200 – 300 UAH / cocktail) and excellent club Coyote Ugly (entrance 200 UAH, Cuba Libre 110 UAH). And if you like to travel back in time, then visit Radio Club (entrance 200 UAH, Cuba Libre 120 UAH).

Parking location – Kyiv: 50.442682N 30.552116E