The historic capital of Ukraine is becoming an increasingly popular destination for people who love the adventure of travel. To Kiev bound tourists, the city holds not only the opportunity to explore a rich and fascinating history, but also the excitement of a modern urban center that has a lot that is new. When visitors arrive at their accommodations in Kiev, they are welcome guests in an old city that has been making great strides into the 21st century. Whether they are staying in Kiev hotels, or taking advantage of the bargain prices of Kiev apartments, they quickly discover that they are in a proud city where the streets buzz with energy.
If your Kiev hotel is in the central part of the city, you will be near vulitsya Kreshchatyk. This is modern Kiev’s main thoroughfare. It is famous for the rows of stately chestnut trees that not only provide shade, but also serve to soften the rather severe lines of post-war architecture. At the northern end of the street, near the Dnieper River, is Evropeyska Ploshcha (European Square). This central location has in its background the Soviet arch built in 1982 to commemorate the brotherhood of Slavic peoples. Nearby is the Ukrainsky Dim, which was also completed in 1982. This was formerly the Lenin Museum, but is now a popular Ukrainian cultural center. The view here is enhanced by the re-opened Filarmoniya (Philharmonia). This building dates back to 1882, when it was the headquarters for the Kiev Merchant’s Association. Now it is a venue for concerts and recitals. You will find the ticket office down the steps to the left of the building. It was past this site that the first electric tram car in the Russian Empire rolled in 1892.
Things have changed a lot since then. Starting in the mid-1990s, city authorities have been altering the face of Kreshchatyk. An old six-lane highway has been dug up and replaced. Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) was re-constructed in time to mark the 10th anniversary of Ukrainian independence in 2001. From here you have a good view of the unique electronic clock tower on the Trade’s Union Centre. Dominating a cluster of national tributes is the huge “Glory to Ukraine” monument. There is a vast underground retail complex here, the ideal place for tourists who love a shop-till-you-drop vacation. But the open-air square is the place to see Kiev come alive.
Kreshchatyk is the people-watching capital of Ukraine. The street is closed to traffic on weekends and holidays. Visitors travel to Kiev just to come here so they can watch the street entertainers, buy from the street vendors, and drink beer at sidewalk tables. It is the fashionable place to see and be seen. An archway leads to the Passage, home of Kiev’s most trendy bars and cafes. In the southeast corner of the square you can see the columns of Tchaikovsky State University. Nearby are the Dom Horodetskoho (House of Gargoyles), and the Bessarabian Market where you can mix with the local folk buying produce and flowers.