48 hours in Kiev – Weekend Edition
Kiev In Less Than 48 Words
Kiev is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine. Nestled by the Dnieper River, it is an important industrial and scientific center in Eastern Europe, with its high-tech industries and institutions. Kiev is also one of Europe’s oldest cities, and thus is home to various historical sites.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Photo by yurik_k)
First 24 Hours
You can fly to the Ukrainian capital via the Boryspil International Airport, which is located 29 kilometers east of the city center. From there, you can catch a “Polit” bus that arrives at the airport terminal every 20 to 30 minutes. The journey lasts between 50 minutes to an hour and a half depending on traffic, and will cost you UAH20. Alternatively, you can opt to take a taxi to the heart of the city, although this may cost you up to UAH200.
Kiev is the largest city in Ukraine, but it is surprisingly easy to navigate. It is bisected by the Dnieper River, with the western half housing most of the tourist attractions in the city. You can get around on foot or by using its efficient metro line system. Kiev does not have a central tourist office, so you will have to purchase your maps and guidebooks at the various bookstalls and kiosks scattered throughout the city.
CHECK IN: Get your bearings back at Kiev’s hotels
You can arrange your stay in Kiev at one of its excellent hotels. One of the best in the city is Oselya (Kamenyariv 11, Kiev 03138, +380 503807756, website). It has a nice location near Kiev’s historical center and the central railway station, and it offers modern rooms, delicious breakfast, and an excellent staff.
Oselya (Photo from Google images)
You can also try out the Opera Hotel (53 B Khmelnitskoho Street, Kiev 01054, (044) 581 70 70, website), which is a five-star hotel with nice views, classy rooms, and an excellent bar and restaurant. A fine alternative is the Hyatt Regency Kiev (5, A. Tarasova Street, Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine 01001, +380 44 581 1234, website). It is a standard five-star hotel that offers a bar, restaurant, and complete amenities.
POSHTOVA PLOSCHA: Let’s take a ride
One of the more popular tourist attractions in Kiev is the Poshtova Ploscha, which is located in the heart of the city. Also known as the Poshtova Square, it is considered among the most historic squares in the city, and is home to various historic monuments and structures. Some of the landmarks to be found there are the Podil Post Office (which contains a small art museum) and the Rizdvo Church.
Poshtova Square (Photo from Google images)
However, the highlight is perhaps the nearby Kiev River Port, the city’s main river port. There, you can take a 90-minute boat ride along the Dnieper River and enjoy nice views of islands, caves, and the river banks.
MONASTERY OF THE CAVES: Visit a World Heritage Site
You can have a UNESCO World Heritage Site experience by visiting the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (21 Yanvarskogo Vostaniya st., Kijev, website). Also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, it is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery that dates back to 1015, and serves as an important center of the religion in Eastern Europe. The complex is made up of various architectural monuments such as underground cave systems, fortification walls, cathedrals, and bell towers.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of Kiev Perchersk Lavra is the Great Lavra Bell Tower which, at a height of 96.5 meters, is one of the tallest freestanding bell towers in the country. It has a distinct Classical style of architecture, and was designed by the architect Johann Gottfried Schäde. Other attractions include the Gate Church of the Trinity, Church of the Saviour at Berestove, and the Kiev Pechersk Lavra caverns.
The complex had also served as the burial site of numerous saints, royalty, and historical figures. It is home to a museum as well, where you can see various artifacts such as chalices, crucifixes, textiles, embroidery, needlework, precious metals, higher clergy portraits, and catacombs. The site is open during Mondays to Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm.
BABI YAR: Remember the Jews
Babi Yar (Photo by Maurice J. Freedman)
You can pay your respects to the victims of World War II at Babi Yar, which is a ravine located just outside Kiev. It is regarded as the site of the largest massacre of Jews in the Soviet Union – some 33,771Jews were believed to have been killed there in a single operation. Today, it is a park where you can relax and remember the victims. You can also see a memorial dedicated to the city’s Jewish community.
CHERNOBYL MUSEUM: Learn more about the infamous Chernobyl disaster
You can learn more about the infamous Chernobyl disaster of 1986 at the Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum (1 Kharyvyj Pereulok Street Kiev, +380 (44) 4175427). It is a popular tourist attraction, and is dedicated to chronicling the events before and after one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. Inside, you’ll find various exhibits such as memorabilia, scale models, artifacts, and visual media. It is advisable to visit it using a guided tour, which includes a film showing where you can see how Chernobyl and the surrounding towns look today.
Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum (Photo from Google images)
DINNER TIME: Discover Kiev’s restaurants
You are guaranteed a delicious dinner at the restaurants available all over the city. One of the best in the city is Spotykach (16 Volodymyrska, Kiev, 586-4095). It offers an authentic Eastern European cuisine, and must-tries include borscht, blood sausage, Chicken Kiev, and zucchini pancakes. A nice alternative is Repriza (Sahaydachnogo vul. 10/5 Kiev 01030), which serves delicious pastries and desserts that are worth the splurge.
Have a taste of Italy in Kiev at the Pizzeria Napule (9 Mechnikova str., Kiev, 38 044 495 9263, website). It serves delicious Italian delicacies such as pizza and pasta. You can also try out Kuvshin (Fedorova street, 10, Kiev, Ukraine 2066060, 0(44) 592-63-63), which offers Ukrainian, Georgian, and Oriental delicacies.
Next 24 Hours
You can discover Kiev’s other tourist attractions during your next 24 hours in the city. One of them is the Museum of Western and Oriental Art (15 Tereshchenkivska St. Kiev, website). Also known as the Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Museum of Art, it is known to possess the largest collection of foreign art in the country. Inside, you’ll find various paintings, decorative arts, sculptures, and etchings from Egypt, China, Italy, Persia, Japan, Western Europe, and other places.
ST. SOPHIA’S CATHEDRAL: Let’s go to church
You can also visit the Saint Sophia’s Cathedral (24 Vladimirskaya st. Kijev, Ukraine), which is considered as one of the city’s best-known landmarks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose construction started in 1037, and is noted for its Byzantine style of architecture. You can see its five naves, apses, and 13 cupolas, as well as its two-tier galleries. The site is open during Mondays to Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm.
NATIONAL ART MUSEUM: Appreciate art
Art lovers will definitely enjoy a visit to the National Art Museum of Ukraine (6 Grushevskogo St. Kiev, Ukraine, 278-13-57, 278-74-54, website). It is a museum dedicated solely to Ukrainian art, and is housed in a building (which is an architectural marvel in itself) that dates back to 1898. Inside, you’ll find over 20,000 pieces of art, including those by such artists as Vasiliy Yermilov, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Bogomazov, David Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster, and Vadim Meller.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HISTORY: Have a historical experience
Another noteworthy attraction for tourists in Kiev is the Ukrainian National Museum of History (Volodymirska, 2, Kiev, 0(44)278 4864, website). It is among the city’s most-visited museums, and is dedicated to chronicling Ukraine’s history. Established in 1904, it features a collection of ethnographic, archaeological, and numismatic artifacts.
NIGHTLIFE: Enjoy Kiev’s vibrant nightlife scene
Live performances at Disco Radio Hall (Photo by sama_ja)
At night you may proceed to Kiev’s bars and clubs to have a taste of the city’s exciting nightlife. One of the most popular is the Art Club 44 (44B Khreshchatyk, Kiev). It is a bar known for its live music ranging from jazz and reggae to rock and experimental. You can also try out the Disco Radio Hall (Slip #6, Naberezhno – Khreshchatytska, Kiev), which is a floating nightclub with a karaoke bar and a Japanese restaurant.
A nice alternative is O’Brien’s Irish Pub (17A Mykhailivska, Kiev). It is the first Irish pub to open in Kiev, and is known for its imported beer (including the famous Guinness), traditional pub grub, and pool tables.
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