Friday, February 26, 2010

Kiev is undoubtedly the city of churches

Kiev is located in beautiful Ukraine. The city scape can be a bit confusing but when you really explore the streets and take a look at a history book, it all makes sense. The city's buildings are made up of part modern skyscrapers and office buildings, part Soviet nationalist design, part Ukraine nationalist style, a bit of Russian influence and a few others and you have Kiev. There is nothing surprising about the montage of Soviet monuments and modern glass and steel buildings anymore, Kiev is embraced as one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine because of it.

Apart for the city's architecture and its natural beauty, one can really see that Kiev is undoubtedly a city of churches. Tall and glimmering in the summer light, these cathedrals are magnificent. You can grab cheap flights to Kiev all the time from London. and Wizz Air Austrian Airlines are the two airline that fly this route the most. Kiev is a perfect spot to spend a few days, a long weekend, especially in the summer when you can take full advantage of Hydropark, taking walks along the Dnipro River or strolling the city's streets like Khreshchatyk.

The first place you should check out is without a doubt St. Sophia's Cathedral. It is the main monument of the city and is well worth a visit. It is open for visitors daily from 9:00 to 19:00. Inside you can find incredible mosaics and frescos, some of which date back to 1017 when the cathedral was first built. There is also a really nice bell tower in the front of the church. If you need a place to stay in Kiev, I recommend looking for a cheap hotel in this area. There are many walking streets around and if you're lucky you can find a room with a view of St. Sophia's many spindles.

Next head to Andreevsky Spusk (Andrew Street), the city's most famous and oldest street. Walk along it and visit the many shops and galleries. Don't be surprised if this neighbourhood reminds you of Paris' Montmartre! At the end of the street is St. Andrew's Cathedral, a perfect example of Baroque architecture.


If you are heading up to the top of the hill, make time to stop at Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavr, a huge monastery dated back to 13th century. It is a very sacred place and is a popular destination for Orthodox Christians that are making pilgrimages. Parts of the property were destroyed during the Second World War but the monastery remained unscathed from the bombings.


The city of Kiev has really been shaped by its history, picking up influences from the different eras since it was inhabited. This montage of influence makes Kiev a perfect city to visit for those travellers who love architecture, love culture and love history. There are countless opportunities to find preserved cathedrals and their frescos that managed to not be destroyed during the war, something more rare in Western cities that were heavily bombed at that time.