Beautiful Places of Kiev

About life in Ukraine on January 19th, 2011 Comments Off

There are a lot of routes in Kiev. A professional guide can show you places in Podil or Pechersk, which you will not find by yourself even with help of a map. The next route allows you to explore the historical city center. It combines cultural part (the churches), and tourism (souvenirs on Andrew’s Hill) and gastronomic part (the possibility to have interesting and inexpensive lunch).

golden gate

We start with the Golden Gate – a monument of defense architecture from Yaroslav the Wise times.

Gates were built in 1040. At those times it was considered the main entrance to the city of Kiev. Nowadays it’s just a monument and symbolizes the same.

The next point of our journey will be one of the most beautiful squares of Kiev – Sophia.

Sophia Square existed here before Yaroslav the Wise. There is a legend that exactly here Yaroslavl destroyed their worst enemies – Pechenegi on the approaches to the city. Later on the area has become a place for Veche (meeting of People) due to its successful positi

on. City problems have been discussed here, the fairs have been arranged. This place met such officials and delegations as Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Peter Graves, Angela Merkel and Bill Clinton. Nowadays, an area is often used for any organized activities. In 2010, the French Cultural Center has presented his program here, and in 2009 the New York Fashion Week took place here. In 2007 the Kiev’s largest outdoor skating rink was poured at the square- 40h20 m. And it is unclear how many decades and centuries the biggest Christmas festivals and fairs have been held in this place.

sophia square

And probably not less important thing is great views from this point of the Sophia Cathedral, the Statue of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, St. Michael’s Monastery. The Sophia Cathedral is situated at Sophia Square. Previously, it was a usual field. But as we already mentioned in the years 1036-1037 Yaroslav the Wise broke here enemies and built Cathedral, which for many years became the residence of the metropolitans of Kiev, and one of the main strongholds of the faith in Rus. In 1596 the Cathedral goes to the Ukrainian Grekokatolic church, but only after 35 years it was taken under Metropolitan of Kiev Petro Mohyla’s wing. 110 years of work on updating the look of the temple made it a real gem of architecture. In the middle of 20 th century this cathedral and all the buildings belonging to this complex have been identified in a separate entity – the State Architectural and His

torical Reserve “Sophia Museum”. By the way the St. Sophia Museum was the first sight of Ukraine, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Under the rules of the organization the objects of religious worship may not be included in heritage – so now Sofia is a museum. Church service is not maintained.

michaylo monastery

The next point is St. Michael Cathedral.St. Michael’s Cathedral and the square near it are slightly “younger” then Sofia – they were built in the beginning of 12 th century. The Archangel Michael was selected as a patron not occasionally – he is considered to be a heaven patron of Kiev. From those times the Cathedral got its name Zlatoverhiy – there is a story that it was the first cathedral with golden domes in Rus. This is one of the richest churches in Ukraine and part of the possessions were not donated but purchased for their own money.

Near St. Michael’s Monastery the short Desyatinnaya Street starts. Walking down it you can reach St. Andrew’s Church – one of the most famous Orthodox churches in Kiev.

andrew churchThe Church was built in the middle of the XVIII century by order of Russian Empress Elizabeth and named in honor of the Apostle Andrew. The temple was built in Baroque style, designed by famous Italian architect Bartolommeo Rastrelli. Although the church has the status of museum the church services are held daily in it.
Near the temple Andrew’s Descent begins, one of the most visited streets of Kiev. It was laid in the days of Kiev Rus in order to tie the upper city and Podol. Those days the street was so narrow that only pedestrians and single riders could pass it. Only at the beginning of XVIII century, the descent began to expand, and it became already possible for loaded carts and carriages to move there. After the erection of St. Andrew’s Church this street became known as St. Andrew’s Descent. Almost every house which is located on it is a monument of architecture; many buildings have been built in the XIX century. The sculptors and painters, composers and writers lived here; the architectural ensemble of buildings still retains a bohemian atmosphere of those times. The whole free space of pavement is occupied by vendors selling original gifts, paintings, feather scarves, jewelry, “vyshyvankas”, as well as by artists who paint portraits and caricatures. Comfortable cafes invite visitors to taste the dishes of Ukrainian and European cuisine.

castle of richard the lionheart

One of the most unusual buildings is Castle of Richard the Lionheart.Ukrainian artists I. Makushenko, G.P Dyadchenko, F. Krasitsky, F. Balavensky lived in the apartments of the building at various times. Bulgakov’s House is situated at Andrew’s descent as well. It’s a house where he lived and worked as a writer before moving to Moscow. There is the bronze monument to Bulgakov near the house. In 1989 the museum of Bulgakov was opened here. Rising to the second floor, you can see the personal belongings of the writer and other exhibits. If to order the excursion you will hear the fascinating story of the writer’s life in Kiev, a city where he was born. On the even side of the descent the Museum of one street took place, the exposition of which introduces the history, famous residents of the St. Andrew’s descent to visitors. Simply go to the museum and you will move into the past in a hundred years ago. An unusual atmosphere is recreated here; antique furniture and household items, old postcards and yellowed photographs, manuscripts and autographs are exposed here.

Andrew’s Descent ends at Kontraktova Square in Podol, which is located near the river station. A lot of famous people visited these places, among them there were Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, Ukrainian thinker Taras Shevchenko, the French writer Honore de Balzac. One of the most interesting objects of Kontraktova Square is a fountain of “Samson”. The sculpture depicts a biblical hero Samson, revealing the lion’s mouth. From the lion’s mouth a thin stream of water is rushing into the stone reservoir. The fountain is surrounded by a pergola. There are other sculptures in this area – a monument to Gregory Skovoroda and a monument to Hetman Sagaidachny who was the Head of Zaporozhe army and is depicted seated on a horse with a mace in his hands – the symbol of Hetman.
kiev mohyla academyAt the corner of Gregory Skovoroda Street the oldest building erected on Kontraktova Square is located. It is the Kiev-Mohyla Academy, the oldest institution of higher education in Ukraine. It appeared in Kiev in 1615 as a brotherhood school, and in 1632 got the status of Kiev-Bratsk College. Only children of wealthy burghers and the Cossack have been taught here/. Nowadays Kiev-Mohyla Academy is one of the best higher educational institutions known in the world, students of which are proud to study here.
Here we examined just several interesting and worth of attention places in Kiev. There are much more museums, monuments, parks, galleries which students who come to study in Ukraine are able to visit, to watch them, to get impressions to deepen their knowledge.
Enjoy it!

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