Summer 2011: A Day in Kyiv
Kyiv, July 25, 2011. An American college student Meghan Dano who is currently an intern at Worldwide News Ukraine volunteered to help show Kyiv from the perspective of a foreigner. She developed a one day excursion route along Kyiv downtown area. Meghan’s inspiration for the sightseeing trip came from her initial surprise at the magnificence of Kyiv upon her first days in the city.
Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine that has a long and remarkable history. The city was first mentioned in the historical documents over 1500 years ago. Despite the inclination of international tourists to visit such world famous cities as Paris, London, and even Moscow, the Ukrainian capital has a lot to offer to its visitors. Located on the banks of Dnipro River, the city boasts beautiful landscapes, parks, gardens, and marvelous architecture. Having rich history provides for Kyiv to have extensive cultural heritage that may come as a surprise to an unsuspecting tourist.
The location of all the venues that Worldwide News Ukraine presents to you at this time is based in downtown Kyiv. Most of the sites are within a minute walk away from each other.
The tour started at the red building of the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, one of the major universities in Ukraine. “Hi, I’m Meghan. I’m from the US,” cheered Meghan at the camera. “I’m here to show you around Kyiv a little bit.”
After taking a short look at the university the tour proceeded to the National Opera House. Built in the mid-19th century the Opera burnt down 30 years later. “Kind of like the Phantom of the Opera,” suggests Meghan.
Notably, Kyiv is one of the largest cultural centers in Ukraine; during the summer streets of the city are full of music performers, TV shows filmed in the open air, and, occasionally, even movie sets. During the tour our team came across a movie set at the Opera House. A huge portrait of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was set up above the entrance of the Opera House and crowds of extras in the WWII uniform were promenading around the square.
Golden Gate – that’s where we are off to next. Built somewhere around 1037, destroyed and then rebuilt, the site is breathtaking. Climbing the stairs inside the building, Meghan seems to be determined to explore the venue: “We are going all the way to the top!” The landmark is one of the most ancient historic sites of Kyiv. It used to be a gateway in the ancient city fortress with gold-like material top that is said to have shined brightly and been seen from a mile away.
Kyiv is famous for its churches with astounding golden domes. “It’s actually amazing that it’s actually real gold on top of all these churches,” marveled our American guide Meghan while exploring Saint Sophia Cathedral.
A one-day adventure ended at Khreshchatyk Street and Maidan Nezalezhnosti [translated as “Independence Square” named to celebrate the declaration of independence in 1991 – ed.]. In late 2004 the historical Orange Revolution took place at Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Since the declaration of Ukraine’s independence Khreshchatyk Street and Maidan Nezalezhnosti have become the meeting spot for many gatherings, both political and cultural. Elton John and Paul McCartney held free open air concerts at the square over the last several years.
Despite being completely destroyed in the WWII, Khreshchatyk was rebuilt into a pleasurable site and was recently named the 16th most expensive street in Europe. It is home to many entertainment sites with crowds strolling down the street during the weekend. “They close down the street for the weekend, turning it into a pedestrian precinct where lots of entertainment takes place,” explains Meghan.
Concluding her journey through the heart of Kyiv downtown, Meghan was tired though eager to get to know Kyiv better. Our smiley guide gleefully concluded her one day tour: “I had a wonderful stay here and I hope I can share a little bit of Ukraine with everyone.”