Kiev In Pictures
The new Picture Guide series starts off with Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city.
With a population of 2,8 million people making it about the size of Rome, Italy Kiev is intrigueing due to its total underdog status: the whole Western world is scared shirtless about the conflict in the East of Ukraine and only the brave and fearless dare to enter this miracolous city.
As this guide will show anyone traveling to Kiev will be deeply rewarded.
Before we start with Kiev Pictures let me just share this one little piece of wisdom with you: “A picture is worth a thousand words”. – Now that we got the corniest phrase imaginable out of the way let us see whether you can portray the essence of Kiev in 18 commented and assorted pictures.
Today, Kiev is as beautiful as it has always been and we shall start our picture journey by arriving in the city not by plane, but by train:
From 9 in the morning until 9 at night Kiev’s main railway station Passazhirskiy is one big rush hour. The picture above shows the way towards the center with the main exit in your back.
It took me a while to understand what that elderly lady with the megaphone was announcing. And boy, was she announcing! She is not with any government agency nor is she a sect-member. She is announcing flats for rent to all the travelers passing by! And the guy with the suitcase seems to be interested.
I don’t blame him since Kiev hotels really are so-so. Renting an apartment always is the better option in Kiev and in Ukraine as a whole. My Kiev travel guide shows you exactly how to rent the best apartment at the lowest price.
If you still advocate hotels over apartments in Kiev then have a go at Hotel Lybid.
Being the absolute average in everything Hotel Lybid offers an alright service with rooms that, luckily I say, don’t have mini-bars. I recommend it for your first in night in the city in case you are hunting for a long-term rent in Kiev via Airbnb or if you want the ultimate Kiev-hotel experience in good (good location and cheap, 24€/night via booking.com) and in bad (a pleasantly average hotel with some rudimentary Soviet charme).
Once you leave the train station just take a metro ride to the adjacent enter of Kiev a few stops away. The Kiev Metro is fast, safe – and utterly crowded during rushhour. This is by no means an exaggeration, during rushhour the volume of people on the metro is not far from what you would see in Tokyo, Japan or any other Asian megacity: get ready for getting pushed into overfilled subway cars Tokyo-style.
Asan upside going my Metro is super cheap: 2 Ukrainian Gryvna is the price for a one-way ticket in any direction. In case you didn’t know let me tell you that 2 Gryvna equal no less than 8 €uro cent. Yes, eight cent for a subway ride.
Lastly, the Metro in Kiev is also a very safe way of getting aoround the city. I take my personal experience on the Kiev Metro as the one exception that proves the rule.
In sum, going by metro in Kiev is not different to anywhere else in Europe.
Taking the metro grom the railway station to Khreshatyk, Kiev’s main avenue, is just a short ride of 3 stops. If you get out one stop before Khreshatyk you will get to Kiev’s Golden Gate which is a leftover from the ancient city wall.
Little known fact: Built in 1250 the Golden Gate was the entrance to ancient Kiev that in 1250 was the capital of the Kievian Rus, the first Slavic state that existed long before Russia.
Close to the Golden Gate is the Kiev Opera House:
One more stop on the Metro and we are on marvellous Khreshatyk with lots of Stalinist-style building facades:
A little known fact is that even when the Maidan protests were at their peak with shots fired and buildings on fire all other parts of Kiev remained untouched. Theoretically speaking, if you lived and worked a good 10 minutes from the city center you wouldn’t even know what was going on in that area.
Walking down Khreshatyk we pass by the city hall that is home to the mayor’s office. Did you know that the Ukrainian/Russian language adopted the German word “Bürgermeister” (mayor)? The Russian word “Byrgrmeistr” means just that.
Walking down Khreshatyk a bit further along and we get to the corner of Kiev’s main Post Office that is full of graffiti left by visitors.
In this case they were people from Belgium (Brussels), showing their support for the Maidan protests:
One unexptected feature about Kiev is that it is full of street art. For some unknown reason street art in Kiev has a strange affinity to park benches. Here is one piece of street art right that can be found right on Maidan:
And another one in the more bohéme neighborhood of Podil:
A short walk from Podil is Kiev Vozdvyzhenka, my favorite part of Kiev. This part of town is special as it looks like a deserted movie set and consists almost exclusively of mansions, all built in an ostentatious 19th century style.
Octoberfest in Kiev? Sign me up!
The Octoberfest advertised on the poster below was taking place in SkyMall, a megalomanic shopping mall built on an island in the Dnepr river.
I have no idea whether Octoberfest in SkyMall is any good. Simply because I didn’t bother to go there. I went to the Octoberfest at Dreamtown Mall instead that had was wild with staff dancing on the counter…
… and a female-only beer drinking contest.
That’s right, in Ukraine gulping down 2 litres of ice cold local brew seems to be favorite passtime of the local girls who were all surprisingly fast with finishing. their drinks.
(Not in the picture: The girl on the far left tried to “cheat” by spilling have of her glass all over her blouse while drinking; contest winner: girl on the far right).
One the other side of the city we have the Kiev Institute for International Relations that is one of the most elitist institutions in the whole country.
Female students dress like they are walking down a catwalk, male students wear suits almost exclusively. Even though there is no hiding the fact that the Kiev Institute for International Relations is a training ground for the national elite there is no sense of superioty or overly large competition among the students.
Back in the city center the upper-middle class student is probably enrolled with the Taras-Shevchenko University. Most specific thing about this university? It’s main building that is called the “Red House” and is painted in an almost neon-like tone of red.
I love it.
Thats all folks!
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