Where is Kiev and what are some lesser-known sights of Kyiv?
Where is Kiev? Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine, located in the central-northern part of the country. In 2016, over 1,200,000 foreign tourists visited Kyiv. Totally, more than 5 000 000 people visited Ukraine last year. And this figure is intensively growing. At the end of 2017, the growth of tourist influx will be about 20%. The majority of visitors are residents of Israel, Turkey, USA, Great Britain, Germany, USA and Canada.
Kyiv is developing as one of low-cost destinations in Europe, and as an absolutely must-visit place for holidays. There is a lot of entertainment venues, bars, clubs, various events, conferences, exhibitions.
The main historical sights are the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, St. Sophia Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Church, the main street Khreshchatyk, and the 102 meters high Motherland Monument. On the outskirts of the city, there is popular Pirogovo Museum and the Museum of Corruption in Mezhyhirya, opened after the escape of the corrupt president in 2014. The main reason to leave Kyiv and drive 100 km to the north is the excursion to Chernobyl; this catastrophe does not leave anyone indifferent. Everyone wants to see a deserted abandoned city and the fourth reactor that exploded and caused the world’s largest nuclear catastrophe.
However, if you are not interested in typical sights and museums, or if you have already seen and know everything in Kyiv, then it is time to start discovering something new.
For example, visit the Kyiv Fortress.
Kyiv Fortress, also known as Novo-Pechersk Fortress consists of many architectural objects of Kyiv. These are high stone towers and ground works, some of which are the objects of the Kyiv Fortress Museum.
For a long time, Kyiv Fortress included a complex of various buildings of the capital, which was formed for more than fifteen centuries. Thus, the parts of the Kyiv fortress were the territory of the National Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the Arsenal Plant and many other defensive objects of Kyiv.
One of the most interesting monuments of the Kyiv Fortress Architectural Complex is the Kosi Kaponir Museum, which became a part of the complex in 1991. Kosi Kaponir was built in 1844 and is a semi-underground building. For a long time, there was a political prison where participants were held in many unrest and uprisings.
The Complex also has fore bridge fortification, which is also called the head of the bridge. Its construction in Kyiv Fortress is connected with numerous hostilities of the Russian Empire that directly threatened the city of Kyiv. The fortification had to protect the city over the Dnieper.
The House with Chimeras
The House with Chimeras is another architectural landmark hidden from the eye of not only tourists, but also Kyivans. Walking on the Instytutska street, where terrible events of the 2013-2014 revolution took place (you will see many memorials dedicated to the victims there), turn over to Bankova Street. Unfortunately, the access is limited and there is a guard standing, but if you kindly ask his permission to come closer to look at the House with Chimeras, he will let you go (depending on the guard, but it is worth trying).
Access to the Chimera House is limited, as the building is opposite the Presidential Administration.
To build his own mansion, a well-known Kyiv architect of Polish origin chose an extremely uncomfortable place – a slope of the hill. It is for this reason that on the side of Bankova Street, the house has three floors, and from the courtyard, there are six floors. Gorodetsky made the project with the help of Anton Straus, talented engineer, who was a partner of Gorodetsky for the creation of other large buildings – kenasa on Yaroslavov Val Street, Saint Nicolas Church on the Velyka Vasilkovska Street and the National Museum on Hrushevsky Street.
Gorodetsky, like most of the intelligent and educated people, was very practical and modest – in the building, he and his family occupied one floor, the fourth, the other apartments were available for rent. The house became a landmark of Gorodetsky and the best advertisement of concrete, those days new and expensive material, which the architect very much liked. Animals, fish and hunting attributes can be found all over the building’s facade and everywhere in its interior; such decoration reflects the main passion of Vladislav Gorodetsky – hunting, in particular, safari.
Gorodetsky lost his house in 1912 when, due to numerous debts, he had to put up his house for the Kyiv Credit Society. The house was redeemed, resold, and its owner changed several times before the revolution of 1917.
After the October Revolution, the building was nationalized and became a shared accommodation, also known as communal flat. By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the building fell into decay, but the state did not allocate money for reconstruction. After the war, the actors of Theater named after Franko lived there.
By 1998, the deplorable condition of the building led to the fact that the House with chimeras split into two parts. The need for reconstruction has finally become obvious, but they only started the reconstruction of the house in 2003. They decided not to correct that part of the house that bent towards Bankova Street by 30 cm – this would mean rebuilding the house, so the house remains tilted, although its foundation was strengthened. This explains the new and consciously crooked window frames on the part of Bankova Street. During the restoration, the interior was restored, the Alpine hill, fountains and a lake in front of the house were resuscitated.
Sculptor Elio Sala, who created all the decorations of the facade, left his signature under the composition of struggle of lioness and eagle (located on the side of Bankova Street, near the central entrance to the house). It says “E. Sala. 1902”.
Legend says that Gorodetsky built a house in memory of his daughter, who drowned herself out of unhappy love. However, the only daughter of Gorodetsky Elena lived a full life, and died later than her father.
Having enjoyed the walk on Pechersk (this is the name of the area where the above described attractions are located), head for Podol – the most ancient district in Kyiv.
Climb to the viewing platform of the St. Andrew’s Church, from here you can enjoy the best view of Podol area, buy a souvenir on the Andreevskiy Descent, visit the Landscape Avenue, which is teeming with modern art, here you will even see street art. End your day in some good bar. It is not that easy to find it but you can try.
The Pink Freud Bar
The Pink Freud Bar is truly incredible venue. Even two venues. First, you need to pass the arch, decorated with graffiti with images of Freud in various hypostases. Then you will enter a separate yard, which surrounds the office premises. It is this neighborhood that determines the working schedule of the place (opening at 18:00). The central place here is reserved to the bar so that the actions of bartenders could be seen from anywhere. Nearby there is a fountain, the murmur of its water creates a special atmosphere. Under your feet, you’ll see the cobbles of the old Podol; above your head, at the level of the third floor, the overlap protects Pink Freud visitors from the rain and cold. In the inner hall, there is the second bar and kitchen. This room is different in mood from the previous one. Here there is a more secluded atmosphere. The walls are decorated with paintings depicting Freud.
Pink Freud has a detailed bar menu. Anticipating the guests’ questions, it was divided into four main sections: sweet, sour, strong and refreshing cocktails. The vector indicates the intensity of the drink. In addition, near each item in the menu you will see picture of a glass the a drink is served in. The card contains about 70 classic drinks. Thus, the decision making process for the guest was simplified as much as possible.
Book Bar Crawl (Nightlife Tour) in Kiev, click on this link.
There is not much meals offered in the restaurant, and that is not surprising. It is only an accompaniment to drinks. Nevertheless, you will not have to starve here. Guests will be offered snacks, sandwiches, soups and even hot meals.
Thus, after visiting these locations that are non-standard for ordinary tourists, you will feel the life of the city in slightly different way. We wish you successful routes. To order Ready Tours by Guide me UA, please visit this PAGE.
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