Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

We’re big fans of Kiev! It’s a much more interesting, attractive place than we had expected. It’s very pleasant to stroll around a city where there aren’t hordes of other tourists in big groups. It’s from a tourist’s perspective that we most appreciated the city, because there are so many interesting sights to see. You could easily spend three full days just exploring Kiev, and it’s very affordable: you can eat well here for very little. The whole trip cost an absurdly small amount. (Aji, May 2018)

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Social disparities in wealth are very pronounced. There’s a big contrast between the many elegantly dressed locals and their poor compatriots, who are even more numerous.


Krista photo


Kiev is really a fantastic place to visit for at least a weekend. A totally different attitude compared to Russia. Many people speak English, and they’re friendlier and more open.” (V.F., 2016)

There’s no shortage of onion-dome churches in Kiev, nor of vodka, opaque pricing and Ukrainian nationalism. Almost everywhere I looked, the gilded onion-domes of Orthodox churches showed the way. There are even a few medieval and modern proto-Slavic (Orthodox) cathedrals scattered across the city. The most famous of these are St Sophia’s Cathedral, St Andrew’s Church, and the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, or cave monastery. At this last destination the biggest attraction is not the churches, but rather the narrow passageways which lead into the caves – on either hand, glass cases display the mummified remains of monks who are now revered as saints. Most visitors to the cave monastery are Ukrainian locals, who kiss each glass case as a mark of spiritual reverence. Overall, I saw very few foreign tourists in the city.

After visiting the many churches, I came out onto Kiev’s main street, the Khreshchatyk, at one end of which is the Maidan (Kiev’s main square), made famous a few years ago by the protests and street battles fought there. The other end of the street is marked by the Besarabsky Market – a remnant from the Soviet period. In between are hordes of street vendors who tried to sell me all manner of knick-knacks, from Second World War artifacts to live birds, but I resisted the temptation. Instead I took a look in the enormous House of Chimeras, which arises from amid the surrounding dilapidated buildings – inside, a host of strange animal figures capture the visitor’s attention. (2018)”

In spite of its 1500-year history, Kiev doesn’t possess many ancient (or even old) remains. Most have been torn down or reduced to rubble, particularly during the first and second world wars. The subsequent Soviet period strongly influenced the city’s appearance: Today, Kiev is characterized by vast, broad avenues with potholed surfaces, apartment blocks ten or twenty (or more) stories high, and a lot of run-down buildings. There’s no really quaint, beautiful center or old town full of cafes and tour groups. I should stress, though, that there’s no trace whatsoever in the capital of the conflict in the east of the country, and there are no issues of personal safety.

The biggest attractions are the reconstructed churches. There are lots of monasteries, cathedrals and mosques in Kiev, so anyone interested in religious diversity is not going to be disappointed. (2019)”


Kiev - street art - Krista photo

Kiev - St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery - Krista photo

Practicals

Transport

Taxis waiting in front of the airports, railway stations, work with different fares, so don't necessarily get in the first car without shopping around. 

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“Getting onto a marshrutka – a kind of minibus – is an adventure in itself. Partly because the number and route of the bus is never indicated at the stop: either you know which bus you have to get on, or else you’ll remain where you are indefinite. Also because in practice you almost have to hunt them down – they usually only stop if someone’s getting off, or if someone at the stop very conspicuously waves them down.

After a few minutes of intense integration practice and a hurried inspection of the Cyrillic sign on the side of the arriving bus, it’s possible, of course, to find the right one, but for that, it’s necessary to know the street you’re heading for. Alternatively, if you’re heading for a metro station, all you have to look out for is the big’ M.

One more little note about marshrutka culture: it doesn’t matter where you board, or how crowded it is, the fare – which is paid in cash – can always be passed up the bus from passenger to passenger to the driver, and the change always comes back correctly by the same means. If the driver doesn’t have enough change on him, he’ll ask around until he finds another passenger who can change the money.

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“We’re standing on the edge of an eight-lane superhighway, opposite a huge sign for the Verhovina Hotel. Even in the smoggy air, it shines brightly. It’s about 3 PM on a Wednesday afternoon, and dubious-looking buses, trucks, marshrutkas, and trolleybuses thunder past at tremendous speed. We’ve reached this point after an hour and a half of walking (thanks to the scheduling of the Ukrainian public transport authority we had walked here from another part of the city entirely). Now, like the chicken in the classic joke, we have to get to the other side. We look left and right, but there’s no sign or trace of a zebra crossing or overpass. Nothing. Just the endless line of traffic, roaring through the gray dust. Fantastic. It doesn’t take me long to lose it – I told you, I tell myself. I told you, I told you…
At last, we go to a roadside buffet, not far from the stop. After some hesitation, I ask whether it’s relatively easy to reach the other side from here. The smiling, blonde waitress asks in the most natural way possible whether I’ve heard of underpasses before. It turns out there’s one right here at the stop.

Kiev - city bus - Krista photo

Kiev - metro (subway) - Krista photo

Kiev - tram - kr

Kiev - trolley - Krista photo

Kiev - traffic - Krista photo

Kiev - carsharing - Krista photo

Food

Most restaurants have menus with English translations.

7 to 10 percent tip is the standard.

Kiev - the offer upper left is a so-called Bourgeois sandwich - Krista photo

Kiev - Democratic restaurant - Are you free to decide how much you should pay for a meal? - Krista photo

Kiev - cafe bus - Krista photo

Kiev - Puzata Hata - a value for money restaurant chain - Krista photo

Kiev - Coffee Mania - Krista photo

Shopping

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Kiev - traffic - Krista photo

Fun

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Kiev - Joking with Soviet-era military parades in Capitalist Ukraine -z.m. photo

Kiev - sitting next to Mihail Bulgakov, author of The Master and Margarita - Krista photo

Kiev - A shirtless man forcing a lion to return stolen water - s.i. photo

Public safety

It is safe to use our mobile phone in the streets, with no risk of getting mugged. 

Kiev - police car - Krista photo

Others

1.  Some museums are closed on Mondays.

Kiev - street art - Krista photo

Kiev - ,,Stalinist baroque" - z.m. photo

Kiev - Andrew's Slope - Krista photo

Kiev -obsolete outdoor telephone booth (max. 2 minutes talk) - Ata photo

Kiev - idyll - j.h. photo

Background

Kiev - Krista photo

Destination in brief


Kiev (in other writing: Kyiv) is the capital city of Ukraine.

Population (in 2020): 2.9 million

Average net montlhy salary (in 2020): 570 USD (Ukrainian average: 355 USD)

The Arsenalna Metro Station of Kiev is the deepest metro station in the world: 105 meters (346 feet) underground.


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Climate

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Kyiv (Kiev) - St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in February - s.i. photo

History

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Kiev - Founders of Kiev monument - Krista photo

Kiev - Golden Gate - the main entrance of the city in the 11th century - Krista photo,

Kiev - Monument to Yaroslav the Wise (958-1054), grand prince of Kiev, a great reformer - Krista photo

Kiev - Ancient Kyiv in "The Kievan Rus Park" - The time traveler wants to slice a roast pig with a battle-ax. - s.i. photo

Kiev - Maidan Square - Independence Monument - Krista photo

Kiev - Freedom is our religion! - Krista photo

Nowadays

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Kiev - street scene - Krista photo

Kiev -Krista photo

Kiev - modern - Krista photo

People

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Kiev - Orthodox Christian prayers - z.m. photo

Attractions

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Kiev - St. Sophia's cathedral - Krista photo

Kiev - Pechersk Lavra Monastery - Krista photo

Kiev - St. Andrew's Church - Krista photo

Maidan Square

Kiev - Maidan Square - Krista photo

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