A tourist, as you know, is a spoiled creature. It's not enough to just to accommodate in a nice hotel and find good places to eat. Tourists want to find some new amazing showplaces to spend money with pleasure and tell others to visit them. Over last ten years, the capital of Ukraine has been demonstrating significant progress in increasing its tourist appeal and developing the economy of impressions. Kyiv attracts people from all over the world not only by hosting and organizing large-scale championships, contests, festivals and other events of international significance. What is no less important, Kyiv becomes interesting for an "ordinary" mass tourist from abroad and other regions of Ukraine. Historical monuments, embankments, recreational areas, animated fountains, murals, installations and landscapes... Kyiv can boast of continuously increasing number of places of interest to suit every taste and budget.
Kyiv is very rich in tourist attractions. The city can be proud not only of its thousand-year historical heritage (it will just suffice to mention the original mosaic image of Our Lady Oranta dated back XI century in the Saint Sophia’s Cathedral), the chic recreational areas in the waters of the Dnieper, which can be reached from the city center, or numerous art objects of modern urban culture – murals, sculptures, fountains, etc.
To make a tourist’s life easier, we suggest two convenient walking routes along the city center that cover historical sites and allow enjoying the little-known, but no less interesting history of the modern city (see the routes "Day One", "Day Two").
Day One. City of princes
1. Saint Volodymyr’s Cathedral.
Look over outside and go inside.
2. National Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Look over outside and take photos. The monument to composer Mykola Lysenko is to the right of the front entrance.
3. Golden Gates of Kyiv.
The ancient Golden Gates are located in the center of a public garden. There is also the monument to Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kyiv Rus, and two sculptures of cats. One sculpture is bronze and is located at the corner of Lysenko Street and Zolotovorotska Street, the second sculpture is made from plastic forks and hangs on a tree, near an open cafe almost on the Volodymyrska Street.
4. Hedgehog in the fog
There is a wooden sculpture of an oriental beauty carved in a dry tree in the narrow Zolotovorotska Street. At the end of the street, there is a small square in the center of which stands a monument to Ukrainian border guards (a cossack sitting on horseback). A statue of a famous character of the Soviet cartoon, the hedgehog in the fog, is located behind and a little to the left of the cossack.
5. Saint Sophia’s Cathedral
Come out to the Sophia Square. The monument to Bohdan Khmelnytsky is in the center of the square. Go to the Saint Sophia’s Cathedral, pay at the gate. Walk on the territory of the cathedral, take pictures, relax.
6. Ballet girl
The statue of a wooden ballet girl stands at the nearest crossroad. Nearby you can see a mural on the wall of a residential house and a sculpture of a horse, made of household utensils.
Turn right to the Stritenska Street. Walk straight on the right side up to the Lvivska Square.
7. Landscape Alley
Do not reach the square, look for a passage to the Landscape Alley (the landmark is the OLSEN store). There are a lot of nice monuments along the alley, such as benches, sculptures and so on. Go along the avenue go to the end. Then you will see the premises of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine.
8. National Museum of the History of Ukraine.
There is a pagan pillar, a three-hundred-year-old linden tree and the foundation of the Church of the Tithes on the museum’s territory. Then come to the Volodymyrska Street again. Now you can go down to the Podil historical district along the Andriyivskyy Descent (there you will see the monument to Pronia Prokopivna and Holokhvastov from the movie "Grasp all, lose all" and the St. Andrew's Church) or go along the Desiatynna Street to the Mykhaylivska Square (one block).
9. St. Michael's Cathedral
On the Mykhaylivska Square you will see the monument to Princess Olga. There is the monument to the victims of the Holodomor to the left of the entrance to the Cathedral.
The monumental building is the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. You can go to the funicular along the road between the ministry and the cathedral. You can go down by the funicular to the Poshtova Square or stay on the viewing point.
10. Viewing point
There you can see many stone sculptures and enjoy a beautiful view of the Dnieper.
11. Andriyivskyy Descent
There is no need to describe this famous attraction. Here one can buy souvenirs to suit every taste and budget. There is also the house of writer Mikhail Bulgakov, the tiny park of sculptures, the Castle of Richard the Lionheart and many art galleries. At the very bottom there is the museum of the Andriyivskyy Descent called "The One Street Museum."
12. Kontraktova Square and Poshtova Square
Leaving the Andriyivskyy Descent, you can either go to the left to the Kontraktova Square (Kiev-Mohyla Academy, Hostynnyi Dvir arcade) or go to the right to the Sahaydachny Street with several monuments and sculptures and then go to the reconstructed Poshtova Square with fountains and access to the embankment and the River Port. Here you can ride a pleasure boat.
Day Two. In the very heart of the capital
The route starts from the Khreshchatyk metro station
1. Monument to Panikovsky, the character of the The Golden Calf novel by Ilf and Petrov
About 50-100 meters up on the Prorizna Street, which runs perpendicular to the Khreshchatyk Street, there is a sculpture of a blind old man with a cane in his hand. Come up to him, get a mirror and try to look at the sole of the man’s boot with the help of the mirror. You will see many interesting things. Return to the Khreshchatyk Street and go to the Independence Square.
2. Independence Square
Of course, you should come round the Independence Square. Then go to the Yevropeiska (European) Square by the underground passage and come closer to the Friendship of Peoples Arch. On the left there is the Ukrainian House (former Lenin Museum) and the Philharmonic House (a beautiful old building).
3. Friendship of Peoples Arch
There is a good view of the Dnieper and the left bank. Enjoy the view, take photos, then turn to the right and go upstairs into the park.
4. Puppet Theatre
There is an interesting Water Museum on the top. The Puppet Theater, a building with turrets, is located a little bit lower. There are wonderful sculptures of Pinocchio and other characters of fairy tales. Go further along past the Water Museum towards the Bridge of Lovers.
5. Bridge of Lovers
It is a high and narrow pedestrian bridge over the road – the so-called Park Alley. The lovers hang locks and lockets with hearts on its banisters. Cross the bridge, see the Dynamo football club stadium and the Green Theater. You can walk in the park and go to the Mariinsky Palace and the premises of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
6. Viewing point
There is a large alley before the Mariinsky Palace and the premises of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The alley ends with a viewing point. Admire the views of the left bank, walk about 50 meters towards the Verkhovna Rada and turn left into the Mariinsky Park.
7. Mariinsky Park and government quarter
There are beautiful paths, many sculptures, including the statue of the Kyiv chestnut, in the park. There are also memorials dedicated to the events of the Revolution of Dignity. Walk through the park and go to the Hrushevsky Street. Go to the left side of one block and get to the Arsenalna Square, then to the Glory Square, with an unusual circular building of the Salute Hotel.
9. Salute Hotel
Actually, you do not need the hotel itself. Walk past him and hold on to your left, going along the children's creativity house up to the footbridge. Before the bridge you will see a beautiful monument to Kyiv. Then cross the bridge and go down to the monument to Soviet actor Leonid Bykov. The monument is very touching and the panoramic view from the steep is incredible. Then go upstairs, to the stele, next to which there is the eternal fire monument. This is the Eternal Glory Park.
11. Eternal Glory Park
The park is rather small. There is a memorial to the victims of the Holodomor. Walk slowly through the park, looking at beautiful views and landscapes. After leaving the park, you get to the Lavrska Street. Walk 100 meters straight, turn left and get to the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery.
12. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery
You can read a lot about it, but it's better just to walk along the territory of this ancient monastery. If you want to visit numerous museums and caves, then you should dedicate one more excursion day to that. When you leave the Lavra, continue moving further along the Lavrska Street towards the Memorial of the World War II and the Monument of Motherland, along your way you will find the monument to Nestor the Chronicler. The memorial is located in the landscape park, which often hosts thematic exhibitions and festivals. It has a beautiful view of the left bank of the Dnieper.
14. Memorial of the World War II
There are a lot of showplaces on the Memorial’s territory, apart from the museum. For example, there are two brightly colored "loving tanks". You can also visit several sites with military equipment, see a lot of sculptures, compositions and again admire the beautiful views of Kyiv.
Oksana Polishchuk, Kyiv
P. S. If you manage to see all the abovementioned places of interest in two days, you deserve a monument to a tourist erected somewhere in Kyiv...