Kiev tours and attractions

Kiev is an ancient city with 1500+ years of history: the oldest buildings date back to 1037 year A.D. (Saint Sophia Cathedral). Although Kiev did not manage to preserve buildings from its early medieval period, the buildings of XVIII and XIX centuries in historic parts of downtown create atmosphere of coziness and antiquity. There are several possible options a tourist in Kiev can choose from.

Churches


First of all, Kiev is one of the major centers of Christian Orthodox Church. If you enjoy golden domes, old monasteries and quiet church areas, you have excellent opportunity to experience it all in Kiev. In 988 A.D. feudal lord Volodymyr embraced Christianity and put in substantial efforts in enforcing new religion on his land (which included substantial part of modern Ukraine, Belarus and European part of Russia). Since then Kiev had been a cultural and religious center of the large European state called Kiev Rus. There are many churches of different periods and styles found in Kiev starting from ascetic churches of late Kiev Rus period (rehabilitated) and ending with unique buildings built in Ukrainian baroque style (St.Andrew church on the Andriyivskiy descent). Most remarkable churches in Kiev are located on steep right bank of the Dnipro river covered with parks and with spectacular views and excellent recreational experience.

Recreation and architecture

Although many objects for sightseeing in Kiev are connected with religious life, there are plenty of other objects to explore. Wonderful parks in green areas on hills above the Dnipro River and great forests near the Ukrainian capital can offer versatile recreational activities for nature lover.
Architecture is another aspect of Kiev exploration. Most Kiev tours would take you through ancient districts of the city (average age of buildings there is above 100 years) where you would find some extraordinary consturctions (such as House with Chimeras or remarkable architecture of early post Second World War period).

Chernobyl

There is quite unusual place of interest near Kiev: Chernobyl (or Chornobyl in Ukrainian pronunciation). Catastrophic explosion of nuclear plant Chernobyl in 1986 is one of the largest technological catastrophes ever. The explosion released enormous amount of radiation forcing thousands of people living near the plant to leave their homes where they never returned. Today the restricted area near the exploded power plant is still unpeopled, but open for visitors. Tourists can take guided tour to the restricted area which includes visiting of an abandoned town of Pripyat that remained a Soviet town (which alone is worth seeing), to the exploded nuclear station (not too close to the sight of explosion though), final repository of machinery used for liquidation of catastrophe consequences and other remarkable places.

The tour also takes visitors through the lands virtually untouched by people for more than 25 years. Natural ecosystems have fully recovered after the disaster and now the restricted area is kind of national wildlife conservation park where numerous large animals can be observed in the wild. Tourists are also advised to visit the Chernobyl museum in Kiev. The exposition there tells the story of the disaster and heroism of people fighting with consequence of the catastrophe.

Tourist infrastructure

Tourist infrastructure in Kiev is not very developed, so one can hardly find a tourist office in the city center. It is also difficult to receive help in the streets, since there are not many people with sufficient knowledge of English in the capital of Ukraine. So, it is important to arrange as much as possible beforehand. If you want to take a guided walking tour you would need to contact one of the travel agencies (which are not so easy to find in the streets by the way). If you want to have a hop-on hop-off bus excursion, you would need to know the spots where bus stops and time when buses can be caught, since there is no frequent tourist bus connections in Kiev. So, Kiev sightseeing needs to be moderated and planned beforehand.

A visitor without knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian languages would benefit from a company of a local person. Without knowing fare prices and being unable read all information in Russian or Ukrainian you might need help from a person able to communicate in Russian (or Ukrainian) in order to save money and not to miss some options and opportunities.

IN FULL VERSION YOU WOULD FIND MORE ABOUT:

  • Tourist services available in English
  • Finding a guide for a walking (car) tour in Kiev
  • Typical cost of a guide would
  • How not to be lost in the streets
  • How to find out more about bus excursions
  • Where to buy book tourist guides
  • What are the major attractions in Kiev with short historical references
  • How to get to major attractions in Kiev
  • What is the optimal walking route in Kiev that reveals all the beauty of the city
  • How to speak to local people
  • Where to buy souvenirs
  • What are the traditional Ukrainian souvenirs and what they mean
  • Where to find out more information about Kiev attractions and tours
  • Unusual opportunities of exploring Kiev (for instance, how to enjoy magnificent view from the highest construction in the city)
  • Booking excursions to Chernobyl nuclear plant