Every city has two faces. Kyiv is no exception. The first face is a rather happy and smiling one. There are places to visit and nature to enjoy. I do not visit city center often, but I recommend to have a walk at Mariinski Park situated on the hills along the Dnipro River, revealing splendid views on the left bank of Kiev. You should walk through this bridge and make a wish. Couples lock their love locks on the bridge together and took pictures here. How about you?
This is an imperial park, founded in 1874 by Alexander II. I have no wish to go back to its history, since it has Russian roots (they are wild nomads who destroy everything on their way, in particular Kyiv Rus), Russians took us by force and raped not only our land, but our history as well: very brutally and cruelly.
So far we cannot banish them from our sight as well as their language that stuck to our tongue as scotch. Do not blame me for not loving Russians and everything related with them. I am just not able to respect people who do not respect others. Who is ready to destroy anything and control everything? And I do not mean politicians, I exactly talk about usual people…not all of them…but too many to turn our lives into a nightmare! Although they are not worth of being mentioned even. Now we should gain our balance and let ourselves fall in love with its nature…
Beautiful, isn’t it? That is not the only park. There are many of them, I am afraid to take too much of your time.
More attention I would like to pay today to its historical face. Since Kyiv is a very old city and center of Ukrainian culture and traditions. However, it changed a lot under the influence of high-tech and money-depended world. I confess I get used to modern city, however, my grandparents and great-grandparents had another picture in their mind. Honestly, a very different one.
We are looking right now at Dynamo Stadium named after Valeriy Lobanovsky, famous Ukrainian football player, who leaved his mark in Ukrainian football history. We are proud of such talented people. His portrait is shown in one of the columns.
Two years ago Stadium was set on fire during our Revolution of Dignity! As you may see from the picture above Stadium has gone restoration. Now it looks like new money…but I have another feeling, somehow this place is not the same for me…I cannot walk here!
Among Kyiv’s best-known public monuments is the statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. It is situated on Sophiivska Square in front of St. Sophia Cathedral. He was a historical person who changed Ukrainian history. He was a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Noble and leader of the Zaporozhian Cossack Hetmanate, Hetman of Ukraine. Bohdan Khmelnytsky was noted for his revolt against Poland (1648 – 1654) and the Treaty of Pereyaslav which eventually led to the annexation of Ukraine by the Russian Empire. On one hand, he was a hero who wanted to fight against Polish landlords and, on the other hand, he signed his famous Treaty with Moscow which enabled Russians to settle comfortably down on Ukrainian terrain. I guess it is a kind of Ukrainian karma, we cannot be independent, we always need somebody who can solve our problems, show us some way and lead us. Don’t you see the analogy? 21st century – current leaders of our country would like to keep up everywhere, they look at West and East, and could not find out which way money wind blows! In plain English, they probably slept away all lessons of History, since money question should not be as important as our independence and possibility to change our country drastically as well as break old corruption system. Take my word for it, it is not that difficult to do and everybody even knows how! The point is whether they are interested in it or not?
To make a long story short, let’s ask Bernard Show what does he think of it…and here what he says”we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history“. Perfectly said, bravo, Mr Show!
Kyiv is Eastern Orthodox religious center. In this city you can see many cathedrals and churches. All of them are historical monuments of Christianity. I am afraid to make my post too long and boring… As it is said “In this world there is always danger for those who are afraid of it“. I will try to share with you only some unique and interesting facts about our main cathedrals and churches, ok!
A masterpiece of the art and architecture of Ukraine and Europe is St. Sophia Cathedral.
The cathedral was founded by Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise and built between 1037 and 1044 (some suggest 1017–37). The interior of the temple is being preserved since 11-th century. On the bell tower of 76 meters there is the biggest bell in Ukraine of 13 tones. It is allowed to go upstairs this tower and have a breathtaking view of the city. Anyway, it’s only for tourists who are in good physical condition! This cathedral is more than 1000 years old, can you believe it? Square in front of it is very popular among tourists and Ukrainians as well. Every time I am here, I always meet people who ask me to borrow them some money or anything else. I wonder whether it is some kind of a special place where you should donate something or help somebody. You have to come here and share with me your story, deal?
St. Michael’s Cathedral, with its fabulously shining domes, is one of the most beautiful and important Orthodox temples in Ukraine. Built in the 90s.
It is named in honor of St. Michael – the protector of Kyiv. Its nickname, the Golden-Domed Cathedral, comes from the fact that it was the first and only church with such extravagant domes in ancient Rus. The reconstruction of the Saint Michael’s Church began on 24 May 1997. It has been fully restored and now it looks really great. This Cathedral played his role during our Revolution of dignity. After the horrible night of November 29-30th, when young students were attacked by special police, poor students found their shelter here. They were injured and scared to death, local monks helped them to hide and closed the gates for any officials. Later St. Micheal’s bells sounded the alarm…it was just the beginning of Great Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity (November 2013 – February 2014). I come here quite often and not only for religious holidays, but just a put a candle and pray. When you go inside, you feel some magical warmth that gives you hope and faith. Cathedral is really huge and has some power on you.
Monument to Cyrill, Methodius, St. Andrew and Princess Olga is located in St. Michael’s Square, opposite St Michael Cathedral.
At the heart of this sculpture is a statue of the composition of Grand Duchess Olga is the first and only woman – the head of state in the history of Ukraine. By the right side of it are educators of the Slavic peoples Cyril and Methodius, and left sitting Apostle Andrew, he points to the “holy mountain of Kiev.” Olga was the first who adopted Christianity in Rus. Grand Duchess Olga was always next to her husband Ihor and even after his death she reigned and helped to defend Kyiv while growing her son Volodymyr. She’s known to be a tough lady who could do everything from driving in a nail to entering a burning house or stopping a stampeding horse. As Coco Chanel said “Women must tell men always that they are the strong ones. They are the big, the strong, the wonderful. In truth, women are the strong ones. It is just my opinion, I am not a professor“.
St. Andrew Church has an unusual location and architecture.
This Church was built on an artificial hill and it uses terrace of a two-story building – stylobate, where long cast-iron staircase leads to its foundation.This is the only monument of architecture, history and painting of the 18th century in Ukraine, created in style of imperial baroque according to the project of Italian architect Rastrelli. Out of all sacral monuments of this outstanding architect, where interiors were saved partially and initial decoration either was not preserved at all, or remained in small fragments, St. Andrew`s Church has preserved the most authentic look till present time. Unfortunately, Kyiv was severely destroyed during World War IInd, later Communists have taken it to pieces. Tell me what should we have done with Communists, any suggestions? I have only one and, trust me, it must not be said aloud due to censorship…
Every big city has an old part which is a favorite destination for walks and creative zone for craftsmen and artists. In other words, Kyiv has its own Montmartre – Andriyivsky Uzviz.
Andriyivsky Uzviz was one of the main streets in the times of Kyiv Rus. Back then, it connected the upper and the lower part of the town (Podol) and was so narrow, that only pedestrians and those on horseback were able to go down it. Only in the 18th century was the street widened, enabling carriages and loaded carts to pass through it. The descent got its current name after St. Andrew’s Church built at the top. Nowadays, it serves as a market for typical Ukrainians souvenirs for tourists. Prices are also only for tourists! Officially this street is closed for cars, but as you recolonize from the pictures, some very cool ones are able to get there. This is a common and incurable disease – disobey rules. Ukrainians caught it and would not like to take right medicine against it. Or there is no right medicine yet. I hardly can understand Ukrainians, more often I would like to force their minds think differently, however, I am useless. Ukrainians even do not read my posts… why would they?
In this street you can find many pubs and restaurants in Ukrainian style.
You will be impressed with our menu offerings, there is always a wide choice. For some of you it can be exotic, since you may not be familiar with such extravagant dish as borsch (beetroot soup) or meat in jelly (not a dessert), which are frequently cooked in Ukraine. Whereas I strongly advice you to taste our vareniky (similar to ravioli) or stuffed cabbage (meat-and-rice balls covered with cabbage leaf), you will not regret. One friend’s advice – do not take a great on Ukrainian vodka, otherwise you take a risk to have the same fate as this cat… (somebody can make a picture of you and not in your best state)
This is not my last post devoted to Kyiv, since there are too many places yet to share with you and tease you as well. This city takes a lot of your time and attention. You have to try to feel it and comprehend what you saw. Now I give you some minutes to think and answer my question: “What did you see in the picture below?”…
I kindly ask you to finish this post instead of me. I am going behind the curtain, you have the final word, my dear Friends! I need to hear your thoughts and ideas, please be so kind!
To be continued!
P.S. Looking forward to your final word! As an encouragement I promise to start my next post about Kyiv with citation of your comments!