Note: We have tried to use the Ukrainian spelling (or rather,
transliteration) for the
names of people and places in Ukraine. Sometimes, however,
as with Kiev, the Russian version has become a kind of
standard and so we have used it instead.
was one of the best surprises of our stay in Eastern Europe.
In spite of Ukraine's reputation as being in very poor economic
condition, Kiev turned out to be a very pleasant city to live in
-- if, that is, you have hard currency in your pocket.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti - Independence Square
is Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square. It has just
been totally rebuilt to give it a more modern air. Unfortunately
it has ended up looking just too cluttered.
The winged statue
atop the tall column is the symbol of Ukraine's new found independence
which is cherished by the Ukrainian speaking population and regretted
by the Russian speakers.
Both of the apartments we stayed
in were on streets that gave onto the square.
Statue of Bohdan Khmelnytskyy
this statue of Bohdan Khmelnytskyy, you can see the monastery of Saint
Sophia. Converted into a museum during communist days, it
remains so today in spite of the burgeoning of religious practice
in the Ukraine.
We stayed about halfway between the hill that they
are on and Independence Square, which thus became the two
poles of our Kievan existence.
very lovely concert hall is the Philharmonia. We bought tickets
to a concert here expecting some kind of choral works and instead
were treated to a potpourri of modernistic works that we didn't
really like. What we did like was the venue.
The modernistic arch, soviet realist statue, and expansive open space
date this park dedicated to Russian-Ukrainian Friendship,
but can't detract from the rather fine view of the
river Dniester below that it offers.
Perhaps one of the nicest
things about Kiev is its geography: the banks of the Dniester are
very steep and the cliff-tops are frequently dedicated to parks
and gardens that give sweeping views of the river's course.
The downside of the geography is of course that walking around the city
involves climbing a number of fairly steep streets.
Beautiful Kievan Building
A lovely example of nineteenth century architecture that fortunately
survived the communist era. (One can speculate whether such
a building in the heart of the capital would have survived in a
free economy.) The city government is now working on encouraging
the refurbishment of such jewels, making the city a very attractive
place to visit.
Kiev's Champs Elysees
If you aren't yet convinced that you should come to Kiev, perhaps this
photo will convince you. Isn't this just a lovely street? People walking
home carrying shopping or flowers. Sidewalk cafe in the background. And of
course the lovely climate of central Europe in June. What more could you
ask. Book your ticket tomorrow.