Kiev

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Kiev

kyiv

It is better to start discovering Kyiv from its very center. Set out from the Khreshchatyk Metro Station, located in the same name street, which is the main and the well-known artery in the Ukrainian capital. Pausing to glance at the monumental architecture of the street, proceed to Bessarabian square, and gaze at majestic building of the same name market and the fountain located nearby. Then, if you’re a Modern Arts fan, you can visit PinchukArtCentre, where along with appraising contemporary masterpieces, you can take advantage of having a coffee-break at the conceptual café SkyArtCafe.

After that follow Gorodetskogo Street to The House with Chimeras, by far the most bizarre and mystical building in Kyiv. Then, go back to Khreshchatyk Street and go sightseeing until the main square of the city – Maidan Nezalezhnosti. After admiring its monuments and fountains, turn to Taras Shevchenko Alley where the Literary Memorial House Museum of T.G. Shevchenko is located.

Then follow Sofievska Street towards the Saint Sophia Cathedral, the unique historical monument of architecture and arts of Kievan Rus. Also, it’s worth going inside to see its striking mosaics and frescoes. Afterwards, go towards St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral, which is a stone’s throw away from Sophia of Kyiv. Visit a museum located in the Bell Tower that features exhibitions dedicated to the history of the ancient temple and enjoy the panoramic view over Kyiv from its top.

From the St. Michael Square follow Desiatynna Street towards the most beautiful and colorful street in Kyiv, the Andriyivsky Descent. Make sure pausing to glance at the elegant St. Andrew Church and the mystical Castle of Richard the Lionheart. Ascend Zamkova Mountain, which offers spectacular views over Podol and Left Bank of the Dnieper River. Also, don’t miss one of the most original and interesting Kyiv museums as Mikhail Bulgakov Museum and the unique One Street Museum.

The Andriivsky Descent terminates at Kontraktova Square, whose architecture ensemble is worth to be seen. Do not ignore magnificent buildings of the Gostiny Dvor (shopping arcades) and Contract House, along with the ancient Virgin Pyrogoshcha Church and National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy that stand nearby.

Afterwards, you can either go back to the City Center or continue walking along the ancient Podol, otherwise, go on a promenade along Naberezhna Street.

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Lviv

lvov

Lviv is the most unusual city in Ukraine, and its most colorful. It is one the country’s of most popular tourist destinations. Different eras, architectures, traditions, identities, temperaments, and histories have been woven into the common thread that is Lviv. On one hand, Lviv’s grandness inspires awe in its guests; on the other, its openness, elegance and inimitable warm atmosphere make this city one of the warmest and most hospitable in Ukraine.

The capital of the country’s west, the city owes its fascinating appearance, reminiscent of Prague, Krakow and Vienna at once, to its bright and dynamic history, which has been changing and developing for over seven and a half centuries. It is thought that Prince Daniel of Galicia founded the city in the 13th century, naming it after his son Lev. One hundred years later, Lviv was ruled by Poland, given the Magdeburg Rights, and subsequently developed very rapidly, as its diverse population grew constantly.

Architecturally, the city manages to combine its European influences with Soviet-era leftovers in a remarkable manner, giving the city a peculiar charm. Despite being a rather large city, a unique calmness prevails here. It makes for pleasant strolls through the city’s narrow cobblestone streets, filled with a medieval atmosphere.

Lviv’s historic center can be called an outdoor museum. For good reason, it was included on the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage sites – it has nearly two thousand historic, cultural and architectural monuments. The heart of the city, the Rynok Square, amazes with colorful houses, taken straight from the pages of fairytales. In its center stands the Town Hall, from which one can see breathtaking views of the city. You will get a good look at the Cathedral, in which elements of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classicist architecture are successfully blended. You will also see the Dominican Church, the famous Armenian Apostolic Church and Lviv’s crown jewel – the beautiful St. George’s Cathedral. Another fantastic panoramic view can be seen from the Lviv High Castle’s sightseeing platform.

All roads from Rynok Square will lead you to Lviv’s main street – Freedom Avenue. It begins at the admirable Opera House, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. At the avenue’s epicenter stands the memorial to Taras Shevchenko, complemented by a 12 meter-high (40 feet) stele; the statue is a symbol Ukraine’s national revival.

It is not possible to understand Lviv’s history without visiting the Lychakiv Cemetery, which is often compared to the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Buried here are important public figures, politicians, writers, and composers, from not only Ukraine, but also Poland, Austria, Armenia, and others.

And of course, it is hard to leave Lviv without trying its famous chocolate or drinking a cup of its coffee, whose odor permeates the city. By the way, coffee was made popular all over Europe by one of Lviv’s own, the merchant and warrior Georgy Kulchinsky. In the 17th century, he rescued Vienna from siege, and received 300 sacks of coffee beans as a reward. Using the spoils, he founded in the Austrian capital the first chain of coffee houses, 300 years before Starbucks!

A trip to Lviv always seems like journey through time and space. However much you visit this city, you cannot claim that you have seen all its sights and unraveled all its mysteries. With each visit, you will find new surprises in this city, fascinating and impressing you with its inimitable appearance over and over again.

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Kharkiv

kharkov

Kharkiv is the largest city in eastern Ukraine and the country’s second most populous. It is hard to guess that this city, known for commerce, science and industry, would have much to offer its visitors. But Kharkiv’s economic successes have not come at the expense of its charm and inexplicable magic, which touches the hearts of all those who come to visit the city.

Founded in 1654 by Cossack migrants, the city was built at the joining of the Lopan and Kharkiv Rivers, the latter being the city’s namesake. In the beginning, the city served a defensive purpose, protecting the Russian Empire’s southern borders from the raids of nomad tribes. But the city also put its location to good use, soon becoming an important trade and industrial center. From 1919 to 1934, it was the capital of Soviet Ukraine. At that time, the city became an important industrial center, behind only Moscow and St. Petersburg. Today, Kharkiv is the center of eastern Ukraine’s science and manufacturing.

The monumental Soviet-era architecture underscores the city’s status and adds a harsh edge to its appearance. This severity is diluted, however, by the bright colors of numerous parks and splendid cathedrals. The heart and pride of Kharkiv is the famous Freedom Square, which is the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. The crown jewel of its architectural ensemble is the constructivist Gazprom complex. It consists of several buildings, connected passages at different levels. In the center of Kharkiv also stands the State Industry building. Built in the early 20th century, it was the first high-rise building in Ukraine.

Not far from the square is one of the most beautiful sights of the city, the Shevchenko Park. Inside the park, you will find an impressive cascade of fountains and see the monument to the most famous Ukrainian – Taras Shevchenko. After that, you can get acquainted with Kharkiv’s terrific sacral architecture. Perhaps the most remarkable is the Annunciation Cathedral, which is distinguished by its uncommon striped patterns and Byzantine shape. Right behind it, you can see the city’s oldest orthodox church, the Russian Baroque-style Assumption Cathedral, built in the 18th century. Its bell tower, built to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon’s forces in the War of 1812, is the highest man-made point in the city and one of the highest bell towers in Ukraine. An organ was recently installed in the cathedral itself, and it now hosts numerous concerts.

It is certainly worth taking a walk along the city’s old quarters, especially along Sumskaya Street, where charming old houses have survived until today. Sooner or later, you will come upon the Constitution Square, where lots of interesting statues and objects are concentrated. The most remarkable of them is the huge thermometer, under which local citizens like to meet. You will also see two tanks there, a Soviet and an English one, commemorating the Civil War of 1918 – 1922.

On Sumskaya Street, in front of the Opera House, stands one of the symbols of Kharkiv, the unique fountain “Zerkalnaya Struya” (literally, “The Stream of Mirrors”). It looks like a pavilion, from under which a mirror-like stream of water comes down. In the evening, when the colored lights turn on, the fountain looks especially impressive.

During your stay in Kharkiv, you need to make a visit to the Museum of Art, one of the oldest in the city. It is known for its impressive collection, numbering over 20,000 pieces: paintings, sculptures, and contemporary items of art. No less interesting is the collection kept in another of its branches, the Parkhomivka Museum of History and Arts. There you will see the originals of such masters as Picasso, Kandinsky, Malevich, among others. Kharkiv is also famous for its unusual monuments; for example, one is to the sewing machine, another to the gas valve, and one even commemorates the combustion engine.

But seeing Kharkiv is not enough. You need to feel the inimitable energy of this modern, fast developing metropolis. It owes its lively vibe in part to the large number of youths (Kharkiv is usually called the student center of Ukraine) who live an active life spread their energy to every visitor!

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Dnepropetrovsk

dnepr

Dnipropetrovsk is spread across both banks of the great Dnieper River, and is one the most colorful and interesting cities of eastern Ukrainian. In addition to being the largest industrial and economic center, it has the status of being Ukraine’s space capital, and it is an extremely charming city, attracting visitors with its beautiful architecture, numerous parks, picturesque boardwalks, and precious historical memorials.

Modern Dnipropetrovsk easily weaves together the rhythm of a fast-paced business center with the peaceful atmosphere of countless parks, in which local residents like to spend their time. But the most popular place to walk and rest is the beautiful Lenin Boardwalk, which happens to be the longest in Europe. It leads to most one of the most interesting of the city’s landmarks, the legendary Monastyrsky Island. It is well established that in the 9th century, a Byzantine monastery stood here (which explains the island’s name). At that time, a famous trade route between the Varangians and the Greeks passed through the Dnieper River, and the island was often used as a stopping point. The Old Russian princess Olga once waited for a storm to pass in a local monastery; and shortly after that, the prince Vladimir the Great rested within its walls. Today, Monastyrsky Island is part of the largest park of Dnipropetrovsk – Shevchenko Park. In the park is a cableway, from which you can get amazing views of the city and the splendid St. Nickolay Church. The park is so splendid, that even the pedestrian bridge leading to the island is considered to be a landmark of its own.

Dnipropetrovsk main road, the Karl Marx Avenue, beckons visitors with its beautiful structures that have survived since the 19th century. Among them, the most notable are the buildings of the National University, the City Duma (Parliament) and the English Club, as well as the famous History Museum – one of the oldest in Ukraine. It is famous all over Ukraine for its impressive collection of antiquities and artifacts, which number over seven thousand. In the museum, a diorama called “Battle of Dnieper,” which recounts the events of World War II, will attract your attention, as will the collection of ancient stone sculptures, one of the largest and most impressive in the world. The age of some of sculptures goes back up to five thousand years!

The architectural pride of Dnipropetrovsk is rightly considered to be the Transfiguration Cathedral, the same one that has been there since the beginning of the city’s history. The architect wanted for Dnepropetrovsk’s church to exceed Rome’s St. Peter’s Cathedral in size. Even though the idea was not fulfilled, the Transfiguration Cathedral is still an incredible sight to see, due to its stern splendor and understated beauty. Today, it is not only one of the most breathtaking cultural buildings in the city, but is also its spiritual center.

Dnipropetrovsk attracts with its great harmony. Two centuries-old classical buildings stand comfortably next to modern “high tech” buildings. And the severity of industrial giants is subdued by the rich greenery of picturesque parks and boulevards. All of that, along with a unique historical and cultural heritage, creates an inimitable atmosphere that makes Dnipropetrovsk unlike any other city in the country, and attracts thousands of travelers from all over the world.

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