Monday, March 16, 2015

Kyiv, Ukraine

Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine and is located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River.  It is home to around 2,9 million people while the greater metro area has about 3,4 million inhabitants.  It is the 8th largest city in Europe.  It is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe.  It's thought to have been founded in the 9th century but the official date is 482 A.D.

I grew up spelling the capital city as "Kiev" which is the transliteration of the Russian word "Киев".  The Ukrainian word for the city is Київ and since 1995 the Ukrainian government adopted Kyiv as the official transliteration.  Just in case anyone thought I was spelling it wrong.

Independence Square, known locally as Maidan, has been the place for people to stand up and be noticed since the country's independence movement in 1990.  It was the epicenter of the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests

Throughout the square are flowers, candles and photos of people who died, or are still missing, from when the previous government cracked down on protesters.

The brothers Kyi, Schek, Khoryv, and their sister Lybid, are said to be the founders of the medieval city of Kyiv.  Again, lots of flowers and candles.

It's pretty clear that Russia's president is not very popular in Kyiv.  The banner on the fountain says "Stop Putin's Terrorism and Hypocrisy". 

St. Andrew's Church was completed in 1767.  The beautiful Baroque church sits on a hill overlooking a historical neighborhood.

The Golden Gate was the main city gate during the 11th century and it was dismantled during the Middle Ages.  It was rebuilt in 1982 although no images of the original gate ever survived.   

St. Michael's is a Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral and a functioning monastery.  Originally built in the 1700s, Soviet authorities demolished it in the 1930s.  It was rebuilt and opened again in 1999. 

The granite monument commemorates the millions of Ukrainians that starved to death in 1932 - 1933 in Holodomor, the Great Famine.

In 1982 the People's Friendship Arch was built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union and to celebrate Kyiv's 1,500th anniversary.  There's a bronze statue of a Russian and Ukrainian workers holding up the Order of Friendship.  The statue has been given a recent dose of Ukrainian color.

Bohdan Khmelnytsky Memorial
I don't think that I even scratched the surface of everything there is to see in Kyiv.  I only had a few hours to walk around the city before I had to catch my flight back home.  But what I did manage to see just makes me want to go back soon.  I figure a good three or four days would be enough to explore the city properly.  Plus, when I go back I want to go visit Chernobyl.

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