Ukraine – Kiev
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. It is also the largest city in the country with a population of 2.8m people. As well as the capital of Ukraine, Kiev is a cultural and scientific hub for the country and many of the surrounding countries.
A tour of Ukraine usually starts in Kiev as the capital is also the main entrance point for international flights and the hub for the rapidly expanding Ukraine International Airlines. On arrival in Kiev, many tourists will make their way to downtown Kiev and check in to one of them many good quality hotels, before starting their exploration of the city.
So why would you want to visit Kiev? Well, first of all it is currently safe to do so. There are regions of Ukraine that the FCDO advise against travel to but when talking about Kiev, the situation is described as calm.
As cities go, Kiev has a lot going for it. The highlight is possibly the 11th century Saint-Sophia Cathedral, a gold and green domed religious fantasy that has now been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The cathedral was built as an early and grand celebration of the state’s official adoption of Christianity in 988.
The grandeur of Kiev’s famous Orthodox architecture can be a distraction from the hustle and bustle of the city but it is these contrasts that make Kyiv so interesting. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than when visiting Kyiv’s oldest standing church.
Tours and Holidays in Ukraine
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Why visit Kiev?
So, once you have visited St. Sophia’s Cathedral, is there anything else to do in Kiev? Well there certainly is and it will take longer than you think to get under the skin and get to know the ‘real’ Kiev. The first thing that any visitor to Kiev should to do is to take a walk along the lush, tree lined avenues and soak up the atmosphere of the city. It is said that you can walk from one side of the city to the other without ever having to leave the shade of the trees and as you wander through the various parks, this rings true.
Once you have become acquainted with Kiev’s parks and avenues, the next stop on your tour should be Pechersk Lavra, also known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves. Standing on a hill overlooking the Dnipro river, Pechersk Lavra is probably rivals St. Sophia’s Cathedral as the premier tourist attraction in Kiev. A monastic complex famed for its buried monks, spiritual atmosphere, and unique underground caves the site is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Still an active monastery, Pechersk Lavra is a true dedication to Christianity. For non-religious visitors, the underground caves and preserved historical sites provide a richly atmospheric experience.
Once you have had your fill of churches and religuos sites, and when you have legs aching from all the walking, what next is there to do in Kiev? Well, at this stage our advice would be to try horilka pertsivka. This Ukrainian vodka is distilled with chillies and is usually drunk neat.
Not for the faint hearted this is just one of a huge selection of infused vodka that you will find produced in Ukraine. On a tour of Kiev you will certainly get the chance to sample as many local varities. Be warned though, it is unusual to leave after just the one shot!
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