Kyiv is well known as a city with a vast cultural heritage that spans more than 1,500 years. Set on the banks of the picturesque Dnipro River, the Ukrainian capital is often called “a city inside a park” owing to the fact that more than half of the city is covered with parks, wooded areas and lakes.
Combining ancient landmarks of the Kievan Rus period with a sparkle of modern city life, Kyiv promises something for all visitors. Whether the choice is to explore great monuments of the past or schedule a big shopping day, be prepared for the weekend of a lifetime!
Day 1. With Respect to Traditions
Start the day with a walk along the city’s main thoroughfare, Khreshchatyk, then have a cup of coffee in one of the stylish cafes located in the cosy Passazh shopping area. Drop in at a couple of elegant Saville Row-style boutiques and visit some of the city’s most architecturally stunning residential areas along Horodetskoho. From there return to Khreshchatyk, past Independence Square and head up wide Hrushevskoho Street past the Parliament and Mariyinsky Park. Continue along past Arsenalna metro station – the deepest in the world – before passing the eternal flame and obelisk at Park Slavy and arriving at the ancient Pecherska Lavra Monastery, with its mysterious old caves, spectacular golden-topped cupolas and black-clad monks at every turn.
After a day full of spiritual impressions, enjoy lunch in one of the growing number of restaurants found near the Lavra or Park Slavy.
Day 2. Relaxing Day
For those who prefer to combine unique souvenir shopping with sightseeing, dedicate one day to Kyiv’s religious landmarks. Start with St. Sophia’s Cathedral, with its mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 11th century, then continue past St. Michael’s Cathedral to the top of the fabulous Andriyivsky Uzviz. This winding open-air art gallery, curiosity shop and souvenir kiosk all in one follows the street along its entire cobblestone length. Feel free to take photos at every turn here, including of Rastrelli’s magnificent St. Andrew’s Church, done in the Ukrainian baroque style, and bargain hard to get good deals on local artwork. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to tuck into some delicious Ukrainian (or French!) food in one of the many such restaurants that line the street.
Combine shopping in the Arena City shopping centre with a visit to the PinchukArtCentre contemporary art museum located in the same building. Its impressive installations are free to the public and open Tuesday to Sunday from 12-9pm.
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