Kyiv (Kiev) Travel Guide
My Kyiv visit coincided with the protests against the government in Ukraine. At first, I thought of cancelling the visit but than I changed my mind. So, what happened in Ukraine? Before I begin with my article, I would like to mention it. There began a big protest against Viktor Yanukovich, the president of Ukraine, in November 2013. The reason of it was the government’s wishes to strenghten relationships with Russia, instead of entering into an agreement with the European Union. Pro-European Union Ukranians gathered in the square and started a big protest.
The rioters invaded the government buildings and the government passed a law about this issue. That law which set all the prisoners free has not been enough for lighten the mood and the riots has become gradually more violent in January 2014. There have been many injuries and casualties during the riots. As a result, pro-Russians have invaded the areas in Eastern Ukraine ve Crimea has been occupied by Russia. And I had my 10 days Ukraine trip just in the middle of these incidents.
I arrived at the Kyiv airport on Friday, 28th March at 11:00 o’clock. After passport control without any questioning, I waited for Olga to come. She was going to meet me at the airport. While waiting for her, I change 10 dollars and eat something. I changed 1 dollar for 10,60 Grivnis at the airport. My friend comes by taxi and takes me. We go to the nearest subway station in order to go to the hotel which I booked on Booking.com. Taximeters are not much used in Ukraine. Before you take a taxi, you have to tell your destination and ask for a price. We pay 75 Grivnis for taxi from airport to the subway station. Then we get on subway train and take M1 line for hotel. The subway is very cheap, only 2 Grivnis. The hotel I booked is a big apartment block. They have apartments in several floors. I pay 800 Grivnis for 2 nights. That is equal to 70 dollars approximately. After leaving my things, we go out to tour the city. Normally I always look for a place to stay or someone to show me the city from CouchSurfing, but this time I did not need anyone to show the city because my friend will do this for me. We take the subway train and go to the city center.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti ( Independence Square)
This is the main square of Kyiv and Ukraine which we have seen on television lately. The symbol of the square is the “freedom” monument which is one of the main monuments chosen by tourists in Kyiv to take pictures. The square looks like a battlefield, there are barricades everywhere. Car tires, garbage containers and sandbags are piled in the avenue connected to the square. I have even seen a catapult. The tents in the avenue still stand. The people on guard still stay in these tents. They try to have their meals and warm themselves up.
After taking a little walk in the street, we meet Sasha, Olga’s friend. Sasha gives us a ride in the city with her car and after that we go to a place to eat. We go to a self-service restaurant in which we can taste Ukrainian meals. You can buy everything you want. I want to eat Borsh but it is made of pork meat. Therefore I can not. After eating, Sasha parks her car and we go to the train station. Sasha lives somewhere near to Kiev. She goes to work by train. While waiting for her train, I tour the train station. It is really awesome. The weather is cold, the wind is strong. I want to drink something warm. Tea is 5 Grivnis and esspreso is 10 Grivnis in the stand just outside the train station. After sending Sasha off, I get on subway train and return to hotel. Tomorrow we’ll continue to tour the city.
Hryshko Botanical Park
After the breakfast, we go to Hryshko Botanical Park firstly. We barely find the park entrance. Since it is winter, there are no colorful flowers naturally. Botanical park has a very large field. There is a seperate field called exotic garden. The flyers of botanic garden were given us at the entrance. The entrance costs 40 Grivnis. They make a 5 Grivnis discount normally. They really built a natural environment inside of it. We decide to go in and buy our tickets. After one step inside, the atmosphere warms you up. The garden is very interesting. You can see whatever you expect like birds, snakes, butterflies or turtles.
Botanical Park Entrance Fee: 20 Grivnis
Working Hours: 08:30-21:00
Address: Timiryazev Boulevard, 1, Kyiv, Ukraine, 01014
After leaving the botanical park, we take a taxi and go to Andryevskiy Cathedral. We get off in the descent which leads to the church and walk on foot. The cathedral is so magnificent that you would be amazed even before you enter it. It was designed and built by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli in between 1747 and 1754. After having a nice meal in a place across the cathedral, I go for souvenirs. The souvenir shops are all along the street. If you want to buy something, you can make a bargain without hesitation. At the end of the street, there is a cafe called Lviv Handmade Chocolate which has wonderful coffees and chocolates. We got there and spend some time.
Address: Andriivskyi descent, 23, Kyiv, Ukraine, 04070
After leaving the cafe, we get back on the road. Our next stop is Mihaylovskaya Monastery which is across the Sofiyskaya Monastery in the Mihaylovskaya Square and amazes people with its golden domes and baroque architecture. This monastery was built in 1713 and some parts of it were rebuilt in 1990.
After touring the monastery, we climb to its tower. That costs us 8 Grivnis. Luckily, we coincide with the bell-ringing ceremony. Two people ring the bells in various sizes with their hands. After the monastery, it is time to tour Kyiv streets.
You may go to the puppet theatre after your monastery visit. Unfortunately, there was no theatre show that day. There is a museum just behing the theatre building. The Water Museum is open until 17.00 every day. We were late, so we could not go in but I’m told that it is pretty interesting. You may visit it if you are interested.
It is a very big and clean park for having a little rest and watch the city of Kyiv. The park which was built in 1874 has been called “Tsarsky” for a long time. After the revolution, it was given its current name originated from the nearby castle. It has a peaceful atmosphere and is an ideal place for taking pictures and taking a walk. While taking a walk, you can see the monuments dedicated to some important events occured in various times and visit the tombs of those who died in these events. After touring the park, we cross the Love Bridge. This bridge is called as this name because many people attach locks with their name carved on it to the bridge.
The weather is cold and we are a little bit hungry, so we should go to an indoor place. While thinking what to eat, we see a Sushi advert. Sushi is very popular in Kyiv or even in Ukraine. Every restaurant has a Sushi menu. And we eat our sushi in a 3 story restaurant in Arbaski Square. It is not very expensive. We pay 230 Grivnis as 2 people. It is late and time to return home. Next morning, I will travel to Uman which is 2,5 hours away from Kyiv.