Kiev is an exciting city full of beautiful and friendly people!
Kiev (more properly written as ‘Kyiv’ or ‘KNNB’ in the Cyrillic alphabet) is the seventh largest city in Europe with a population of over three million people. It is the capital and largest city in Ukraine and is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. It was already a commercial centre in the fifth century but in the ninth century, it was captured by the Varangians (Vikings) and became the capital of the Kingdom of the Rus.
Kiev – Love Kyiv
Since independence in 1991, Kiev has developed into a modern high-tech hub that attracts population growth in a country that is otherwise losing its young citizens to immigration.
St Sophia Church inspired by the Sophia Hagia in Istanbul
This architectural gem of a neighbourhood is brightly coloured with neo-classical and art deco multi-story dwellings that are surprisingly close to downtown I was thrilled with the cool neighbourhood and its stylish, Instagram-ready venues with posh cafes, coffee houses and restaurants.
After working with the team, however, I decided to spend two days exploring. On the first of these days, I learned about this beautiful city by walking its clean streets and tidy neighbourhoods.
The Church of Saint Sophia is another baroque style church situated on a beautiful square in the city.
The soul of Kiev, however, is indelibly tied to Saint Michael’s Church, the landmark of Kiev. This beautiful monument to faith is a working monastery and is a place for peaceful contemplation of the divine.
The Masterpiece ~ Church of St Andrew
The Golden Domes of the Saint Michaels Monastery
Lest you think that Kiev is only a city of churches, let me tell you that the city comes alive at night and is full of restaurants, bars and cool nightclubs. Culture is all ‘well and good’ during the day, but a martini, a good meal and a relaxing late-night venue offer a good break from the hard work of the office.
Kiev has a young and attractive population that parties well into the wee hours.
The scene of the 1986 nuclear catastrophe
After just thirty minutes of fighting the fire, they already had ‘radiation tans’ and they knew that they would die. Still, they redoubled their efforts to quench the fire that, if not stopped, would have caused an enormous environmental catastrophe. They were true heroes.
I also visited Pripyat. This city, designed for the workers at the powerplant and their families, was a model for modern life in the Soviet Union. The contaminated community had to be hastily evacuated when the scale of the disaster became clear after just 36 hours. Now, Pripyat is being reclaimed by the forest and it’s a ghost town of crumbling buildings, rusting playgrounds and decomposing infrastructure. The sight of a child’s schoolbook rotting in the weather because it is radioactive is one that will stay with me for a long time. Although it was a haunting and sombre tour, it also spoke of hope and human resilience when faced with life and death situations.
Travelling to and in Kiev is easy. The international airport is modern and convenient and there are links from almost all major airports worldwide. Visas are generally not required and there is a welcoming atmosphere. Lines are long though, so patience is required. Taxis are readily available and both Uber and Bolt ride-sharing cars are always close at hand. All of the drivers know at least a little English so communication isn’t a problem. There is a convenient tram service but the signs are in Cyrillic so a ride-sharing service might be the best bet unless you speak Ukrainian or Russian.
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Beautiful, friendly and fast growing – Kiev
Here’s a pro-tip: Most of the young Ukrainians are fluent in English and are pleased to translate for you if you need help. Just look forlorn and have ‘Google Translate’ open on your phone. A friendly young person will be along shortly to help you!
Major hotel chains are widely available in Kiev including luxury brands like The Fairmont and Intercontinental. There are also several thousand other properties that range from high-end boutiques to budget venues. Hotels are a good value in Kiev so you’ll find something that is comfortable within any price range.
The local food is fantastic and fresh. Ukraine is a major food producer in the region and local recipes are yummy. I enjoyed food from the Odessa region with its emphasis on fresh fish and fresh produce. The meat dishes are hearty and an excellent value. There are many healthy alternatives to fit any taste and dietary requirement.
I hope you find time to visit lovely Kiev. It’s a fantastic and forward-looking city!