Kiev is through being the capital probably one of the most famous cities in Ukraine and also one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe is undisputable Ukrainian biggest cultural, economical and political centre.
As being also the biggest Ukrainian city, the population is reaching nearly 3 million people putting Kiev on the 8th position on the list of biggest cities in Europe.
This proud city is packed with tourist attractions such as theaters, museums, modern architecture as as sites connected to ancient history – all easily reachable thanks to the well developed infrastructure and modern system of public transportation.
Kiev went through it’s biggest prosperity period during late 19th century now being the richest regions in the country and also home to plenty of high-technology industries and high education organisations.
The Monastery of the Caves or the Saint Sophia Cathedral belongs among the biggest highlights of Kiev and are both also listed as the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The truly gorgeous view of the whole city can be enjoyed from the top of the immense Motherland Statue by the Museum of the Great Patriotic War located right by the Dnieper River bank.
Tourist shall also definitely pay a visit to the Independence Square with two monuments of historic protectors, the Golden Gate of Kiev or the statue of Mikhail Mikeshin which is one of the most recognized monument of the whole city.
Some of the most famous landmarks in Kiev
Saint Sophia Cathedral: This complex consists of St. Sophia Cathedral and its monastic buildings in one section and the monastic buildings of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra accompanied with the Church of the Savior at Berestovo in the other. Both of these sections are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Saint Sophia Cathedral was built around 1040 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise and was named after the cathedral in Constantinople. It served as an intellectual, cultural and spiritual center, but is also magnificent in aesthetic beauty and design.
Saint Andrew’s Church – Kiev
This splendid church was built in 1754 and beautifully designed by the famous Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
Catherine the Great was the one who demanded for this church’s construction during her visit to Kyiv in the 1740s.
Located in the Podil neighborhood, this church is distinguished by its large dome surrounded by five smaller cupolas.
This is a wonderful site and offers a spectacular surrounding view.
The cobblestone street right next to Saint Andrew’s is full of vendors, little artisan shops and relaxing cafes.
Mikhail Bulgakov Museum: If you are standing outside Saint Andrew’s, head down the cobblestone street and the museum will be about half-way down on your right.
The building isn’t very eye-catching, but there is a statue of Bulgakov sitting on a bench just to the left of the museum.
For anyone wanting to learn more about a great Ukrainian writer or anyone who has read some of Bulgakov’s works, this tour experience will open your eyes into a world of creativity.
The tour (tours are offered in English) is mainly based on Bulgakov’s novel The White Guard and takes you through the apartment of the Turbin family. A very fun and creative experience!
The Church of the Savior at Berestovo: This church is located just north of the Monastery of the Caves in the Berestove area and is part of the Lavra Complex and World Heritage Site.
The current structure is said to date back to the early 12th century and the Berestove area served as a residence for Vladimir the Great, who died here in 1015. This church also went through several renovation periods following sieges on the city, but thankfully, it can be visited today in good condition.
National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II:This museum can be found overlooking the Dnieper in the southern outskirts of the Pechersk district.
This is also one of Ukraine’s largest museums, replete with over 300 exhibits dedicated to the German-Soviet War during WWII. The walk up to the museum is decorated with many other monuments and memorials and is a very popular area for friends and family to congregate for pictures or a leisurely stroll.
The Motherland Monument Kiev :This gigantic statue stands 62 meters (203 feet) tall and is commonly referred to as Rodina Mat.
The famous architect Yevgeniy Vuchetic (he also designed the Motherland Calls in Volgograd and the monument of the Soviet soldier carrying an infant in East Berlin) designed this gigantic monument with construction beginning in 1979. Since it is a World War II monument, it has escaped the threat of being removed as a Soviet symbol.
St Volodymyr’s Cathedral: Located in the heart of Kyiv, construction for St. Volodymyr’s is said to
have begun in 1859 and finished around 1896 to commemorate the 900th anniversary for the baptism of Kyiv-Rus The cathedral is distinguished by its Byzantine design, unique mosaics and paintings from many famous artists. Truly a must see site in Kyiv!
The National Art Museum – Kiev
Located right across the street from the Dynamo Kyiv football stadium is the National Art Museum. Built in 1898 and designed by the architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, this museum holds over 20,000 pieces of art and is famous for incubating the works of many contemporary Ukrainian artists, as well as artists dating back hundreds of years ago.
The museum has garnered an international reputation and is definitely worth a visit (closed on Monday and Tuesday).
Trukhaniv Island: Located on the Dnieper River on the other side of the Podil neighborhood, Trukhaniv Island is home to Kyiv’s most popular beach. You can reach the island by crossing the Park Pedestrian Bridge or for the more adventurous travelers can travel across by zip line (reduced price with student card). The island is also famous for numerous water sports such as rowing, kayaking and canoeing, as well as for fishing.
The Church of the Tithes: Also known as the Church of Our Lady, this was the first stone church built in Kyiv between 986 and 996 by Vladimir the Great. The church was first demolished in 1240 by the Mongol armies of Batu Khan and went through several phases of rebuilding. The church was last demolished by Soviet authorities in 1935 and has recently been the topic of debate surrounding another rebuilding phase.
The M. M. Gryshko National Botanical Garden: Spanning 120 hectares, this garden consists of 13,000 different types of flowers, plants and trees from Ukraine and other places throughout the world. The garden is named after the famed Soviet botanist Mykola Gryshko.
The Vydubychi Monastery and the Trinity Monastery are on the same grounds of the garden, making three of Kyiv’s gems extremely convenient for visitation, exuding an extra peaceful atmosphere.
Pyrohiv: Also known as Pirogov in Russian, this old village located in the south of Kyiv has been turned into one of Europe’s largest open-air museums.
It is now called the Museum of Ukrainian Folk Architecture and Culture, offering picturesque landscapes and a look back into Ukrainian culture hundreds of years ago.
The Golden Gates of Kiev:This is a very important architectural and historical site, Golden-Gate built around the same time as Saint Sophia’s by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Similarly to St. Sophia’s, it was named after the famous gates in Constantinople and served as a strategic entrance point to the city. The ruins of these historic gates were excavated by the archeologist Kindrat Lokhvytsky in 1832 and reinforced with a new framework. Some portions of the original structures remain.
Vydubychi Monastery Kiev : This is the one of the oldest functioning congregations (if not the oldest) and most sacred sites in Ukraine.
Perched on a hill overlooking the Dnieper, the monastery was built between 1070 and 1077 by the son of Yaroslav the Wise, Vsevelod. Vydubychi is distinguished by its surrounding peaceful greenery and gold, baroque cupolas.
The State Aviation Museum Kiev : This is the newest and largest museum of its kind in Ukraine, showcasing close to 70 different aircrafts dating back to Soviet times, as well as interactive displays. Located next to Zhulyany Airport and closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum: This museum is dedicated to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. The museum is replete with information and a myriad of artifacts describing and showcasing this horrific event, some of the causes leading up to it and many of the after-effects.
Audio guides are available and this is a great alternative if you don’t have time to visit the Chernobyl site, which must be booked days in advance and can cost of to $150.00 USD.
Located at 1 Khoryva Lane in the Podil Neighborhood, closed on Sundays and the last Monday of each month (usually).
The Kyiv Funicular: This is a unique cable car experience, connecting the Podil neighborhood with the Upper-town. There is a rail station at both ends of the funicular where a ticket can be bought for 1-2 UAH.
The trip is just a few minutes, but it does offer great views and can save lots of energy from climbing the steep hills (especially in the summer). Sit at the lower end for the best views.
The A.V. Fomin Botanical Garden – Kiev
This is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Ukraine containing over 8,000 plant species and spanning 22 hectares.
The garden is divided into two sections, one as a public park and one for scientific research. The scientific part of the garden offers group, which enables you to see some of the more exotic plants. The A.V. Fomin Botanical Gardens is located at 1 Symona Petlyury St.
The Brodsky Choral Synagogue : This is the largest synagogue in Kyiv, built in the late 19th century. The building is aesthetically very impressive, resembling a classical basilica of Romanesque influence. Located at 13 Shota Rustaveli Street, hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Residence of former President : The Mezhyhirya Residence is the former palatial estate of Viktor Yanukovych, who lived there from 2002 to 2014. The former president abandoned the estate during the Maidan protests.
This residence is referred to as the ‘Museum of Corruption,’ because it was financed by embezzling millions from the state and contains a yacht pier, zoo, hunting grounds, equestrian club, tennis courts and luxurious lakes and gardens.
There is also an exotic car museum on the grounds, which displays some of the former president’s automobiles. This site is located about 30 km north of Kyiv, so it makes for an intriguing day trip. Entrance fees to different parts of the residence should not exceed ten euro.
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra – This astonishing site is a UNESCO World Heritage site and contains many historic monuments and churches, two of which are the astonishing Cave Monastery dating all the way back to 1051 and the Great Lavra Belltower, which is a prominent landmark of Kyiv’s skyline.
Other churches include the Dormition Cathedral, the Refectory Church, the Church of All Saints and the Church of the Savior at Berestove.
The Debosquette Wall (old fortifications), St. Nicholas Monastery and the Theological Academy and Seminary are also located within the grounds.
This should be one of your main stops during your visit to Kyiv, because there is so much rich and vibrant history and culture located at this important historical site, gives yourself some time to feel the history of entire Ukraine, depending on whether you want to take tours or just stroll through and take some memorable photos around the monastery site..