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Kiev City Guide for Travelers – Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev City Guide for Travelers

Kiev, Ukraine

Golden Domes in Kiev
Golden Domes in Kiev
You are planning thoroughly your trip to Kiev, surfing the web for information on Kiev’s best sights, restaurants and night clubs, and thinking how to best plan your stay, what to see and where to go to… You are packing your new camera in order to make beautiful photos of golden domes, Khreschatik Street and Kiev parks… You are thinking about what to wear and checking the weather forecast for the days of your visit… In a few days or weeks you will get to another world with smiling people, ancient brick streets, monuments and cathedrals…

Quick facts

  • Status: capital of Ukraine

  • Number of regions: 10
  • Date of foundation: fifth century AD
  • Area: 839 km2
  • Elevation: 179 m above sea level
  • Geographical coordinates: latitude 50°27’N; longitude 30°30’E
  • Climate: moderate continental with mild winter and warm summer
  • Temperature: average Kiev temperature in January is 6 degrees below zero Celsius, average in June is 20 degrees above zero Celsius; lowest temperature in winter is 25 degrees below zero Celsius; highest temperature in summer is 32 degrees above zero Celsius.
  • Population: 2,6 million (2005)
  • Density: 3178 people/km2
  • Car code: AA
  • Phone code: +380 44
  • Kiev Mayor: Leonid Chernovetskiy (since 2006)

Kiev history
Legend says that there was a prince’s family of three brothers named Kiy, Schek and Khoryv and a sister Lybid. Kiy ruled a powerful Slavic tribe and was looking for a place to settle a new home for his people. When they came to the beautiful hills upon Dnepr River and saw wonderful panorama of blue river and seven hills covered with chestnut trees, they liked that place very much and decided to settle there. They established a city and gave it the name Kiev in honour of their oldest brother Kiy more than 1500 years ago. Prince Kiy and his family lived on one hill, Schek settled on another hill which got the mane Schekavitsa, and Khoryv settled on the third hill called Khorevitsa.

Since 882 Kiev was the capital of an ancient powerful state called Kievan Rus. In 998 Kiev Prince Vladimir introduced Christianity in Kievan Rus by baptising the Kiev population in the Dnepr River. In 1240 the city was demolished by mongol-tatars who invaded Kievan Rus, and later it was rebuilt. Since 1362 Kiev and a major part of Ukraine belonged to Lithuania and Poland and in 1654 it became part of Russian Empire and then USSR.

In 1991 the Ukrainian people voted for independence and Kiev became the capital. Since that time it is the center of Ukraine’s political, economic and cultural life.

In November 2004 Kiev was the central place of the Orange Revolution when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian people protested in the streets against election falsification and later elected another ruling party and the President of Ukraine.

Kiev accommodation
Most visitors to Kiev prefer apartment or hotel accommodation. Kiev hotels provide security and a certain level of service according to their level (three star, four star, five star). Kiev apartments allow greater privacy and flexibility. The average single room in a Kiev hotel will cost $100-130 per night, while a 1-room apartment with all the amenities will cost $40-60 depending on its location, space and extra facilities like jacuzzi, home cinema, etc.

Kiev sights rating
We recommend that you visit:

  • Golden Gate of Kiev – the ancient gate to Kiev, which is now located in its very center, it is made of wood and stone with a small golden dome above

  • St Sofia Cathedral – one of the most beautiful Kiev cathedrals with Bell Tower and chestnut trees around the cathedral
  • St Michael Cathedral – newly rebuilt cathedral with beautiful blue walls, ornamentation and large golden domes
  • St Vladimir Cathedral – cathedral in Kiev center where official orthodox religious ceremonies take place
  • St Andrew Church and Andrew Descent (Andreevskiy Spusk) – a popular place with tourists with numerous souvenir booths, old brick descent, art galleries and museums
  • Kiev Cave Monastery (Lavra) – the ancient monastery where you can see the caves where monks lived in ancient times, several churches and the largest Bell tower in Kiev
  • Russian Art Museum and Ukrainian Art Museum – art connoisseurs will get much pleasure seeing masterpieces of world art in Kiev museums
  • Kiev Opera and Ballet Theater – an enjoyable experience of listening to live classical music and watching dances
  • Pirogovo ethnic village – an opportunity to see old village houses, windmills and household appliances of different Ukrainian regions
  • War Museum – you can see there numerous tanks and war airplanes and the gigantic metal statue of woman symbolizing Homeland
  • Kiev Botanic Garden – in spring and summer you can see there beautiful trees and blossoming flowers
  • Mariinsky Palace – a majestic palace where official government ceremonies take place, it is surrounded by green park with panorama of Dnepr and its left bank
  • Independence Square – the very central part of Kiev, from which the distances to other cities are calculated, it has a large underground shopping center, central Post office, banks and restaurants
  • Khreschatik Street – main street in Kiev where people can walk on the highway on Saturday and Sunday
  • Vladimir Mount – a park on the mount with large statue symbolizing Prince Vladimir with cross when he introduced Christianity and baptized Slavic people.

Panorama of Dnepr River
Panorama of Dnepr River
What to wear
If you come to Kiev in summer, it would be nice to take a summer jacket, jeans and T-shirts, sandals and probably shorts or a dress in case of heat. For spring or autumn it is better to take a few warm things and a jacket. For the winter you will need a winter coat or a warm jacket, a few sweaters, a scarf, gloves and cap.

If you go inside a church or cathedral, women have to cover their heads with a shawl, while men need to take off their hats.

Eating out in Kiev
To try the delicious Ukrainian cuisine we recommend to you the following Kiev restaurants:

  • Pervak restaurant – a medium-priced restaurant located in 2 Rognedinskaya St. You can taste borsch and vareniks, small pies and various meat and fish dishes. The dinner will cost you about $30-50 per person depending on the food and drinks you choose.

  • Taras restaurant – located in Shevchenko park near major Kiev Museums, close to Kiev University. You can order various pancakes as well as national cuisine dishes. The dinner will cost you $35-55.
  • USSR restaurant – located near Kiev War Museum and Kiev Lavra Monastery in 42/1 Sichnevogo Povstannya St. and decorated with USSR symbols. The dinner will cost you $35-55.
  • Puzata Khata (Big Bellied House) – fast food restaurant which combines original interior in peasant house style, tasty Ukrainian food, vast choice of dishes and low prices. It is located in the very center, 1/2a Basseinaya St., in the beginning of Khreschatik. Here you can try traditional Ukrainian pampushky, Chicken Kiev, different salads and main courses. On the first floor you can also choose from numerous cakes and even order freshly made juice. The dinner cost is $3-10 per person.
  • Zdorovenky Buly (Good Health to You) – That’s a very popular fast food restaurant located near Khreschatik metro station which probably has the largest choice of different foods: salad bar, pancakes, varenyky, pizzas, soups and tasty desserts. Its comfortable rooms are decorated in various styles: Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and Greek. It also has a tea bar with cakes where people can sit and talk. Dinner: $3-10 per person.

Ukrainian souvenirs
You can buy various Ukrainian souvenirs on Andrew Descent (Andreevskiy Spusk): embroidered towels, matrioshkas, wooden painted plates and eggs, glass souvenirs, small dolls in national clothing, paintings and clothing. There is also a souvenir section in Kiev central magazine (Tsum), located in Khreschatik St and a souvenir shop near St Sofia Cathedral.


Polina Kryuchkova writes for KievTravel.com.

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