Ukraine Best Cities to Visit on Vacation
The best cities in Ukraine to visit are Kiev – the capital of Ukraine, Lviv and Odessa. Both Ukrainians and foreign guests like to visit these cities and choose them for tourism. All these cities are very far from the zone of conflict in the east, so there is no danger in visiting Kiev, Lviv and Odessa.
Kiev – the best city to travel
Kiev is one of the largest cities of Europe; it is administrative, economic, scientific, cultural and educational center of Ukraine. More than 2.5 million inhabitants live in Kiev. Modern Kiev is dynamically developing; it is constantly restored and renovated, so every year it attracts more and more tourists.
According to legend, Kiev was founded by Kiy in the 6th-7th centuries AD. Geographical position of the city facilitated its development: this is where the most important trade routes “from the Varangians to the Greeks”, to Constantinople, to Asia, to the Don and to Novgorod came through. Over the centuries, Kiev has repeatedly passed into the hands of various states and peoples, until in 1934 it became the capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic.
Kiev has a great cultural capital – there are more than 30 museums, about 2000 unique monuments of architecture, 33 theaters and a huge number of permanent art exhibitions. The main sights of the city, which became its landmarks, are the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, St. Sophia Cathedral, Golden Gate, St. Andrew’s Church, Khreshchatyk and Independence Square.
Kiev is one of the greenest cities in the world. There are more than 60 parks, lindens and chestnuts bloom in its streets. You can have a great time enjoying nature in the parks of Kiev. The main parks of the city are the Botanical Garden, Hydropark, Glory Park, Trukhanov Island, Vladimirskaya Gorka with a stunning view of the left bank of the Dnieper. Also there is a zoo in Kiev with 2,000 animals from all over the world.
Not far from Kiev one finds the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life “Pirogovo“. It is located in the open air and covers an area of about 150 hectares. Here you can see houses, churches, mills, wells, and various peasant utensils; all this gives an idea of the life of the Ukrainian people in the 16th – 19th centuries. Most of the buildings were moved here from different parts of Ukraine.
Lviv – magical city
Lviv is a magical city, a country of frozen myths and legends, a land of artisans and kings, of wrought-iron gates and carved lions, a city of ancient history.
The history of ancient Lviv is rich and interesting, countless chronicles, travelers’ memories and scientific works describe it in details… The first mention of the city dates back to the year 1258 – the date of the founding of the city by the Galician-Volyn king (prince) Daniil Galitsky, who named the city in honor of his heir Leo (Lev).
The city began its rapid development presumably a century after Lviv became a part of the Polish Kingdom. During the XV-XVI century multinational communities are being formed in Lviv – Ukrainian, Armenian, Polish, German and Jewish; for many centuries activities of these communities were predetermining for Lviv.
New sacred buildings, fortifications and structures are being built at that period of time.
When city was a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire (1772-1918 gg.), it became the center of the Kingdom of Lodomeria and Galicia.
Having taken advantage of the collapse of the Habsburg reign, on November 1, 1918, Ukrainians announced the creation of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic. However, for a short time… Soon after the Polish-Ukrainian confrontation, Lviv once again turns out to be part of the Polish Voivodeship.
September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany declared war on Poland. According to the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty, the Soviet Union declared war on Poland. September 22, the Soviet Union troops entered Lviv. Immediately after that, the terror of the Soviet armed forces against the peaceful population of the city began.
In 1944, when the city became Soviet, most of the Polish population was deported from Lviv, and many thousands of Ukrainians were forcibly deported to Siberia. These actions resulted in long struggle of the Ukrainian nationalist underground in Western Ukraine until the late 50’s of XX century.
After the end of the Second World War, the city of Leo is restored and begins its rapid development, this time as a part of the Union of Soviet Republics.
Today Lviv is one of the largest regional centers of Ukraine (with a population of over 900,000), the most important cultural, scientific, economic and political center of the western territories of the state. Today Lviv is a home to more than 2200 historical, cultural and architectural monuments; the central part of the city is proclaimed an architectural and historical reserve and is in UNESCO World Heritage List.
A fantastic panorama of the city, its architecture and unique European traditions, elite art, hot color of national traditions of many nations and sincere hospitality – all these outline modern Lviv.
An interesting sight that you will surely meet in Lviv is the majestic Temple of St. Elizabeth at the corner of Kropiwnicki Square. The temple is built in the Neo-Gothic style and is very similar to the French Gothic architecture.
Passing further down the Gorodotska street, which goes directly to the center of Lviv, behind the construction of the circus, on top of the hill (St. George’s Hill) you will see the large domes of one of the most beautiful cathedrals of the city of Lviv – St. George’s Cathedral, built in the Rococo style. In 1999, it was included in the world heritage catalog of UNESCO as architectural monument.
Almost in the center of Lviv at the beginning of the Gorodotska street, you will see the pride of Lviv architecture – Lviv Opera House, which is one of the best theaters not only of our country, but also of Europe. There is several routes to walk from the Lviv Opera House to the Rynok Square (the Lviv Town Hall is located there).
Make sure to carefully inspect each building on the Rynok Square: after all it is the center of the Lviv architectural and historical reserve.
Walking along the Armenska street, explore the Armenian Cathedral:
Later, having walked to the Museum Square, you will see the majestic Dominican Cathedral. A little further you will find the architectural ensemble of the Assumption Church; it includes the chapel of the Three Saints and the tower-bell tower of Kornyakt. Our excursion passes further along Podvalna street. This is the only place where the fortifications of Lviv XVI-XVII centuries are still preserved: these are the powder tower, Royal and City arsenals. The museum of weapons was organized in the City Arsenal. Enjoying the sights of Lviv, we almost came to the bed of the High Castle.
Finally, it is worth going through the Shevchenko Avenue; it is very popular, both among residents and among tourists and visitors of the city of Lviv. On weekends and holidays you can take a sightseeing train to see a short city tour; landing is carried out on the Rynok Square.
Odessa – the best resort
In 1794, the construction of a new port and city begins; the settlement receives the Greek name Odessa. On May 27, 1794, by rescript of Catherine II, a new port city was established on the site of Khadzhibey. On September 2 of the same year, the first port facilities were laid; de Ribas supervised the construction. Thus, the date of September 2, 1794 is considered the birthday of the city of Odessa.
The city was built according to the plan made by an engineer and colonel of the Russian army Franz Devolan. By 1803, 9 thousand people lived there.
Since its foundation, Odessa has become a “window to Europe”, the main supplier of Ukrainian grain to Europe and Asia. Duke de Richelieu, Novorossiysk Governor (1803-1814) and mayor of Odessa, has made it his residence. This gave impetus to the rapid development of the city. For the period from 1795 to 1814, the population of the city increased 15 times and reached almost 20 thousand people. By the end of the XVIII century, by population (403 thousand) Odessa became the fourth city of the Russian Empire – after St. Petersburg, Moscow and Warsaw.
It was Vorontsov who largely determined the special social image of Odessa, showing concern for “heterodox”, primarily for the Jews. In her book “Old Odessa. Her friends and foes”, Dorothea Atlas writes: “In order to revive the trade in the region, the prince took the Jews under his protection. He drew attention to the raising of the intellectual and moral level of the Odessa Jews. Jewish public schools for children of both sexes, the main synagogue, prayer houses and a hospital were opened”. Trying to raise the importance of the Jewish population in the eyes of Russian society, the governor arranged a visit of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to the synagogue, and later, at his suggestion, Emperor Nicholas with the heir to the throne “examined in detail” Jewish schools and a hospital. As a result, Vorontsov’s plans were a success, and the Austrian Jewish intelligentsia and large merchants with respectable capital began to move to Odessa. They acquired real estate, opened trading houses. Jewish companies have made millions of income in the city.
The events of October 1917 in Petrograd and the civil war led Odessa to ruin. The power in the city repeatedly passed from one side of the conflict to the other (the Central Rada, the Bolsheviks, the Germans, the Directory, the Volunteer Army, the Bolsheviks) – until the final capture of Odessa by the Red Army on February 7, 1920 and the establishment of Soviet power in the city.
After the liberation of Odessa, by 1948, industrial and port facilities were rebuilt, and housing was being restored. In the first turn, the enterprises of machine building and metalworking were revived. New large enterprises have entered into operation – factory of milling machines named after Kirov, of radial drilling machines, experimental mechanical factory, “Pressmash”, “Poligrafmash”, car assembly factory, cable plant, “Avtogenmash” and other enterprises. By the end of 1950, all industries were operating at full capacity.
Today, the Odessa commercial sea port is the largest in the country. It is of international category and has positive turnover; it is multifunctional trading port. On its territory there is a free economic zone where the subjects of economic activity have a preferential taxation regime. The port’s capacity is 20 million tons of cargo per year; the total length of the coastline is 8 km. The port annually processes over 14 million tons of dry cargo and 24 million tons of oil products. Transport lines connect the city with more than 600 ports from hundreds of countries around the world. Ferry crossings connect the Odessa port directly with Turkey and Greece.
Currently, indisputable leaders in relevant industries are such enterprises as “LUKOIL – Odessa Oil Refinery”, Odessa Port Plant, Stalkanat, Odeskabel and many others. Many enterprises that were of strategic importance in the former Soviet Union have lost their positions, others are simply idle. The fate of the plant “Krayan” (former factory of the January Uprising) is sad. The fate of Black Sea Shipping Company is even sadder for Odessa residents: at the beginning of 1990s the company lost its importance and was ruined.
In terms of foreign investment Odessa is one of the most promising cities in the country. In Odessa there are more than 460 joint ventures with foreign capital. And this figure is growing steadily.
The Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater occupies a prominent place in the life of the city. Great world renowned singers performed at its stage: Shalyapin, Caruso, Sobinov. There are many theaters, philharmonic society and film studio known for its films in the city.
And of course Odessa is a magnet for all tourists in summer, as this is where they find the best beaches, nightclubs and magnificent architecture.
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