Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and its largest city.
It’s also one of my favorite cities!
Kyiv, one of the few European hidden gems left that have yet been infiltrated by over-tourism, is one of those cities that will leave you wanting more by the end fo your trip.
To experience Kyiv and all it has to offer, I would recommend you spend at least 3 – 5 full days in the city ideally overlapping the Friday or Saturday so you can get the hang of what the city and its people are all about.
This is a place you can’t leave off of your Ukraine itinerary. This is my favorite square anywhere in Europe and its history, including a very tragic recent history, all took place here. This is where the Revolution began a little over five years ago.
Maidan is a meeting point and in recent years, it has become the epicenter for fun in Kyiv. The streets are closing down on weekends and there are events, concerts, and festivals held around the square.
Once the site of political upheaval and protestations, you’re now more likely to come across music stages or various souvenir stalls. We also discovered that the main road that dissects Independence Square was closed to traffic on Saturday and Sunday evenings, meaning you can wander freely without fear of being run over by a Lada.
The palace in Tsar’s Garden was founded by order of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna in 1744. The project was designed by architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli and under leadership of Ivan Michurin the palace was built in 1752.
Catherine II was the first royal person who stayed in the palace during her visit of Kyiv in 1787. Here she met Venezuelan politician Francisco Miranda – the future liberator from Spanish colonial system.
In the early XIXth century Tsar’s Palace burned down as a result of a series of fires. In 1870 Alexander II commissioned architect Karl Maevsky to reconstruct the palace based on old plans and paintings. After restoration the palace was renamed to Mariyinsky Palace in honor of Empress Maria Alexandrovna. At her request a large park was laid out on the southern side of the palace.
During World War I Empress Maria Feodorovna moved to Mariyinsky Palace. She spent two years there until the abdication of her son Emperor Nicholas II.
After the establishment of Independence of Ukraine in 1991 Mariyinsky Palace became the official residence of President of Ukraine. Summits, official receptions at the highest level, ceremonies of presenting credentials by ambassadors of foreign states, awards, meetings of foreign delegations are held here.
Walk Up Andriyivskyy Descent
One of the oldest streets in Kyiv is actually Andriyivskyy Descent, a steep, cobblestone street that connects Podil with the Old Town (Upper Town area). While it is most convenient to walk this street on your first day in Kyiv when you’re visiting the monasteries
One of our favourite things to do in Kiev (we ‘lucked’ out with clear blue skies and red autumnal leaves), this is wonderful walk along cobbled streets, past various street-stall sellers (mainly artists) and historic buildings. Described in some quarters as the ‘Montmartre’ of Kiev, the descent runs from Kiev’s Upper Town to the lower Podil District
Friendship of Nations Arch
A Soviet era monument symbolising the friendship between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples.
It comprises of a 50m diameter arch with statues underneath it showing the brotherhood of Ukrainians and Russians and another statue group showing the Cossack council that opted to ally with Russia. The Arch, and the bridge nearby crossing the motorway to Volodymyr Hill, give some lovely views of the riverside.
Love Lock Bridge
Somewhat of an attraction for wistful teenagers and young couples.
Write the name of your beloved with yours on a lock, snap it on and toss the key – then your love will last forever!
Though they do come through periodically and remove all the locks. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.