Day 2: Backpacking Kiev, Ukraine

The next day, I continued what I started the day prior. My itinerary was full since I had a flight to catch evening of the same day.

I walked back the same street going to the Golden City Gate and turned right towards the National Opera House. Pleased that the Opera House and Tsveto-muzykalnyy Fontan are next to each other, it’s hitting two birds in 1 stone. Both architectural beauties are enthralling knowing that these two buildings have a lot of history in them.

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After crossing few main roads, I got to the famous Red University Building. If you are strolling around the city, you wont miss it for sure since it has a thick red painting all over. The red building is a representation of  Kiev University.

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Opposite the red building  is a colorful park with a monument of the great Ukranian poet and artist Taras Shevchenk. The statue was made to commemorate the poet’s 125th anniversary.

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An outsized boulevard named after the poet, Taras Shevchenk lead me to some of the earliest 19th century buildings, one of which is the Pinchuk Art Center. The Bassarabska Square was located nearby. Within the square is a market selling local goods.

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There is a bus available in Lesi Uktainky Boulevard, the street next to the market going to Gryshko National Botanical Garden. Check out the Kiev Fortress on your way, it is a military museum that holds interesting military artifacts.

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The 1.3 km botanical garden was established in 1936 and was named after the Soviet Botanist Mykola Hryshko. The garden is famous for its lilac collection. 21 out of the 28 known lilac plants bloom in this garden. A small monastery built around 1864 is located at the middle of the garden.

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After walking around and taking photos, I continued to another Kiev’s pride, a famous city landmark, the Mother of Nation.

To go the landmark via Vydubychi Monastery is to take the back alley of the botanical garden going to the bank of Dnieper River. Before reaching the main road along the river, pass through the Vydubychi Monastery.

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From the monastery to the statue, it takes less than 30 minutes trek, however, second half of the walk involves a bit of climbing through steep stairs. The view from the top and the magnificence of the statue are definitely worth the struggle.

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The Motherland Monument or Rodina-Mat as locals call it, is a 62m tall stainless steel statue located on top of the WWII museum of Ukraine. It carries a sword on the right hand and a shield with Soviet Union emblem on the left.

In front of the statue and at the museum entrance you can take photos of the armaments used by the Soviet Army in the era of post WWII. During my visit, I did not get in the actual museum doors. However, it has some open-air exhibition area in where tanks, helicopters and etc. are in display.

Just near the museum is Memorial hall. It has an under passage with relievos from the Soviet Era. Relievos were put there to commemorate heroes of the Soviet Union. In these you can see farmers, soldiers, secret agents all from Soviet Era.

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The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is another  tourist attraction of the city. It is only few hundred meters away from the State Museum. Lavra means high-ranking male monastery for monks of the Eastern Othodox Church. It is one of the oldest and most significant monasteries in Kiev, founded in 1077 by priests who lived as cave hermits in the region.

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The complex has two parts, the upper lavra and the lower lavra. The Upper lavra is owned by the state and is home to several museums. Its admission is not free however visiting the ground is reasonably cheap.

Lower lavra is owned by the Orthodox Church and consisting of the caves. Entrances to the caves are through churches and admission is free but you need to buy taper candles for lightning purposes at the entrance. Besides site has strict dress code especially for women. Women are allowed to visit only when they cover they head and have skirt in their legs rather than trousers.

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I left the lower lavra to another visit and directly visited the upper part by purchasing a ticket from the kiosk at the entrance. The main attractions of the Lavra include the Great Bell Tower, the Dormition Cathedral which was demolished during WW2 and rebuilt in the recent years.

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The Great Bell Tower is the main structure of the complex and can be noticed from the other side of the river due to its 96.5 meter height and used to be the tallest freestanding bell tower of time it was built.

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I strongly recommend you to walk around at the Lavra complex to discover other buildings we does not cover in this article such as All-Saints Church and Ukrainian Treasures Museum. Especially in a nice weather in spring gardens can make you feel relaxed joyful.

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I finished walking among the buildings and took the main exit to the Lavraska Street via Gate Church of the Trinity passage. Can be understood from its name this church is also a gate to the outside of the tick and high walls of the Lavra.

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After few hundred meters from the gate you will see a memorial built for commemoration of Ukraine’s famine victims. During first half of the 20th century the country was hit by several famines and lost thousands of lives.

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From this point I headed straight to the riverbank with an intention of discovering Hydro park of Kiev. It is a landscape recreational park on an island in Dnieper River connected to the city via Metro Bridge. The bridge is called so because it has metro rails on it and of course a running metro line, Red Line.

To reach at the park, I walked down to the river bank level which is at least a hundred meter below the level of monument. There is no road connection from that point thus I took a path which disappeared after few hundred meters. The path was steep and was not easy to walk on but I managed to get down and found my way to the Dnipro station to take metro.

Hydro-park is only one stop from Dnipro but I was very tired to walk tat distance and cost of metro is very low. On foot after the station you can get to the Hidropark Beach in minutes. Yes this park has a golden sand beach (artificial) and you can swim in the canal if you are brave enough or don’t mind cold water. Beach has shower facilities and shops as well but they were not open wince the season was not started.

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I took of my trainers and had a walk on the beach and finished this pleasure by pulling off my trousers and dipping my feet in chilled river water.

I realized that since morning I did not eat anything and walked quite a distance and burned the last calories I took in as my breakfast. It was time for a decent size lunch. Luckily there is a floating restaurant nearby. It is called Farsh-Fish and Meat Restaurant. The view is pleasing because it is literarily on the river. Prices are reasonable and food is tasty. There are also other fast-food and kebab shops are available near the metro station. Before leave the Hidropark behind one last thing can be tried in it, bungee-jumping. If you are brave enough there is a BG station opposite the beach.

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I took the same red metro line towards the city. Red line might take you from the east of the city to the North West in minutes for less than 15 eurocent. I preferred to get off at the Arsenalna station to complete my walk and tick off some other lines in my checklist.

As soon as you get out of the station turn right and walk along the Mykhaila Нrushevs’kogo Street. First you will see a large city park with old trees and clean walking paths. Walk across the park but do not rush your way and enjoy the clean air and tranquility. Nest to the park Konstytutsii square (the Constitution Square) will welcome you and offer a nice view of the river and its east banks. Not just that, there is also a 18th century neoclassical building which is official ceremonial building of the president in Kiev. It was ordered by the Russian Empress in 1744 and completed in 1752.

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Next to the palace there is Verkhovna Rada (old parliament building). It is three stories high and crowned with a glass dome.

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Not far from the old parliament there is the current one, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, stands with pride since 1941.

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Behind the Government Building, Ulitsa Institutskaya is the street reaches out to the Meydan (Main Square of the city). I was already here yesterday but once more I sat there on the grass and watch people with a cup of coffee from the kiosk nearby. With this large circle I completed my visit and checked most of the items of my to-do-list.

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I walked back to my hostel where I left my luggage earlier. Then I headed for the central train station to catch the airport’s shuttle bus. At the back of the station in the car park I released there are minibuses goes to the airport. I did not tried them myself but it is an option too for airport transport.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Ace&Demi says:

    Wow! Look at those wonderful architecture. They’re amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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