When it comes to sightseeing Kyiv has a great choice of places to see and visit. There’s lots to see and do in the Ukrainian capital. Stunning churches and cathedrals, magnificent architecture, iconic squares, monuments, musems etc.Today we will have a look at the TOP 10 Must See Attractions in the city!
When it comes to sightseeing Kyiv has a grand choice of things to do and see, catering for every age and taste. Let’s have a look at the 10 most attractive sights in town!
You need at least a week to see Kyiv properly along all its attractions, majestic cathedrals and churches, museums etc. Kyiv stands out as a multi-facetted city with unique chacteristics, history, heritage and regal architecture. We have come up with the TOP 10 MUST SEE attractions we recommend you to see in the Eurovision host city.
Of course there’s more than what meets the eye when we talk about Kyiv, as there are lots of things to do and see in the city.
1. St. Sophia’s Cathedral and Complex
St. Sophia’s Cathedral and Complex was the first place I visited in Kyiv during my research trip. The cathedral stands out in all its regal magnificence with its sparkling golden domes along with its exquisite Bell Tower.
St. Sophia’s Cathedral (Holy Wisdom) is one of the most famous landmarks in Kyiv, and is one of the two Kievan sites listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The magnificent cathedral dates back to the Kievan Rus era, thus being among the few dwellings that has survived throughout the ages.
A visit to St. Sophia’s Cathedral and Complex is a must when you visit Kyiv. You should also check out the Metropolitan’s House, Refectory, Bakery and the Bell Tower which are also located in the complex. You can actually climb up the Bell Tower and see an amazing view f the city from here.
Make sure you allow yourself between 2-3 hours to visit the complex. The St. Sophia Cathedral dates back from the 11th century and retains many features and characteristics from yesteryear. You will be mesmerised by the myriad of exquisite frescoes and mosaics inside this stunning archiectural marvel
Today St. Sophia’s Cathedral is an extraordinary museum showcasing Kievan Rus art, history and heritage along with its unique 11th century architecture which you can admire in the interior and Baroque decor and architecture from the exterior.
The extraordinary cathedral is surrounded a number of monastic buildings depicting Baroque style architecture and art.
I would highly recommend to take a guided tour in order to learn more about the cathedral and its rich historical background and heritage.
Address: Kyiv, 24 Volodymyrska Street
Opening Hours: 10:00 am- 18:00 pm
Entrance Fee: 5 UAH
Museums Fee: 70 UAH
2. St. Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral
St. Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral along with its complex is yet another wonderful landmark in Kyiv that you should not miss whilst visiting the Ukrainian capital. I was stunned with this unique architectural treasure. St. Michael’s Cathedral stands opposite St. Sophia’s Cathedral . Its golden domes and light blue Baroque style architecture will mesmerise you when approach the complex.
The original St. Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery was built back in 11th century.
The present day cathedral was rebuilt at the end the 20th century as the Golden Domed Monastery was blown up in 1937. The interior of the cathedral will take your breath away with its intricate decor and stunning frescoes and mosaics. The complex also includes a monastery and a Bell tower. You can admire some stunningly beautiful paintings depicting Biblical characters at the entrance of the complex.
After visiting the St. Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral, you get a taste of Kyiv’s splendour and grandeur. The sparkling golden domes of St. Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral dominate Kyiv’s skyline.
Address: Kyiv, 6 Triokhsviatytelska Street
Entrance Free: Free
3. St. Andrews’s Church
St. Andrew’s Church is located at St. Andrew’s Descent and is namely among the most attractive architectural marvels the city has to offer. The Baroque style church was commmissioned by Empress Elizabeth I during the Russian Imperial era, whilst construction of this beautiful churuch was managed by Ivan Michurin and designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The construction of this beautiful piece of architecture was completed in 1753.
The church overlooks the beautiful Podil district and stands out over the hill.
4. St. Andrew’s Descent
St. Andrew’s Descent is one of the most beautiful parts of Kyiv, known to many as the Montmartre of the majestic Ukrainian capital. I had the chance to visit this quaint neighbourhood twice during the my research trip. You will find some great restaurants and cafes in this neighbourhood.
It is also the ideal place for art lovers and souvenir shopping as there are many stalls spread throughout the street selling authentic Ukrainian handicrafts and souvenirs. Art lovers will be able to purchase paintings and admire the stunning mixure of architecture in this part of Kyiv, with a myriad of colourful houses.
St. Andrew’s Descent connects the city’s upper town with the historical commercial district and dates back to the 18th century. It is one of the most famous attractions in the city along with its unique St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
Celebrated Kyiv born Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov is known to have resided here during the first part of the 20th century.
You can find many museums here like The One Street Museum, Mikhail Bulgavo’s Museum, Castle of Richa the Lionhearted etc.
5. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Cave Monastery)
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is one of the most visited attractions in Kyiv and personally I think this is one of the most stunning places in the city. You should absolutely not miss visiting the Pechesk Lavra Complex along with its churches, cathedrals, caves, catacombs etc.
I had one of the most beautiful experiences in my life when I visited this unique sight on Palm Sunday. You should give yourself at least 4 hours to visit this extraordinary and beautiful place. Founded in 1051 is is one of the main spiritual centers of Orthodox Christendom.
There are 40 buildings in the complex consisiting of libraries, churches, cathedrals etc. In the caves you will be able to find the resting place of Saints. Hence this holy shrine is one of the most visited attractions of Kyiv.
The Pechersk Lavra is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the largest Orthodox shrines in Ukraine with unique architecture and art work. This remarkable site is also known as the Cave Monastery.
The monastery was founded in 1051 as a center for spreading faith, spirituality and education. It was amongst the most significant and influential monasteries in the eastern Slavic Orthodox world.
The name of the monastery comes from Ukrainian word pechera (cave) because monks settled there.
The founder of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was Anthony, a monk from Liubech who took vows on Mount Athos (Greece). He arrived in Kyiv to spread monasticism in Kyivan Rus and lived in a cave overlooking the Dnipro River, where previously Hilarion – Metropolitan of Kyiv. The co-founder of Cave Monastery was Theodosius one of the first students of Anthony. In the beginning the monks lived in caves and prayed in underground churches but later they built above-ground structures there.
Izyaslav the Prince of Kyiv gave Anthony and other monks a plateau above the caves which later came to be known as the Upper Lavra, contributing to the emergence of monasticism in Kyivan Rus.
Construction of the main cathedral church at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra’s Assumption Cathedral started in 1073.
In 1169 the monastery received the status of Lavra the main large monastery. At the end of the twelfth century the monastery was fenced by stone walls.
From the 13th century onwards the monastery complex was afflicted with numerous hurdles and problems some with tragic consequences. Its buildings were repeatedly destroyed and looted. Restoration of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra began in the 18th century.The Assumption Cathedral (Dormition Cathedral) and Trinity Gate Church acquired Baroque features and style after reconstruction. We must not forget the Great Lavra Bell Tower measuring 96.5 meters.
During the Soviet era, the monastery complex was used as a museum town under the Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve.
Today there is an acting congregation on the territory of the Lavra. In its territory, occupying 28 hectares, there are more than a hundred stone buildings, forty of which are unique architectural monuments. The upper part of the complex, the museum territory, was given the status of National in 1996. The lower part remains to be the monastery as it used to be many centuries ago, where prayers are offered up and candles are twinkling in the hands of the pilgrims going down to the caves to pray near the relics of the great hermits of the Orthodox Church.
Do not miss visiting the Bell Tower, Miniature Museum, Dormition Cathedral (Assumption Church), Gate Church of the Trinity, The Refectory and Church of the Saint Anthony and Theodosius, Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine, the catacacombs and caves.
Make sure you bring comfy shoes as there is a lot of walking to do here!
Address: 15 Lavrska Steet
Entrance Fee: 20 UAH
6.Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreshchatyk Street
Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Indenpendence Square) is located right in the heart of Kyiv and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and connects with the city’s iconic Khreshchatyk Street.
You will find fountains, the iconic Hotel Ukraine, flower clock, the Founders of Kyiv statue and fountain, Central Post Office, Globus Mall, Independence Monument etc here. There are lots of cafes and restaurants too.
The square plays a key role when it comes to celebrations; Victory Day and Independence Day parades are held here, along with public festivals. Independence Square is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a meeting point for local Kyivites. You haven’t been to Kyiv if you haven’t been to Independence Square!
Khreshchatyk is an extraordinary street with many stunning buildings with unique architecture housing 5 star hotels, high street shops, fancy restaurants and cafes, bars, nightclubs, Kyiv City State Administration and the iconic Tsum Department Store.
Khreshchatyk is also famous for being the city’s the business and administrative centre.
Mind you it is Kyiv’s answer to London’s Oxford Street or Paris’s Champs Elysses. The Fan Zone for the Euro 2012 Soccer Championship was located here too.
I would say Khreshchatyk is one of my favorite places in town! I just love the vibe in this part of the city. On weekends the locals can walk around freely throughout the street as traffic is blocked and cars are not allowed to circulate, thus attracting crowds of people.
During Eurovision this street will be transformed into the Eurovision Village.
7. National Museum of WW2 and Motherland Monument
The Motherland Statue and the Great Patriotic War Museum (National Museum of World War 2) is something you should not miss when visiting Kyiv. It is located next to the Pechersk Lavra complex and is one of the city’s most iconic attractions with its unique grandiose statue and myriad of sculptures ornamenting the complex.
The Museum (The Main Exhibition)
The Museum’s main exhibition is spread out in a total of 16 different halls on 3 different floors showcasing more than 17,000 exhibits from World War 2 and telling us the story of the Ukrainian people who fought in the war and defended themselves against the Nazi regime.
Ukraine suffered heavily during the Second War and Ukrainians contributed in the achievement of the Nazi defeat. This museum takes us back in history and reminds us of the atrocities commited during WW2 and how the Ukrainian people beared the hardships of the war.
There are several other exhibitions in the museum apart from the main exhibition. I throroughly enjoyed visiting this museum as it was both an educational and enriching experience.
The Memorial Complex
The Memorial Complex occupies a large part of the War Museum Park showcasing cannons, fighter jets, tanks, helicopters, missiles, aeroplanes, artillery guns and mortars, the legendary “Katiusha” (multiple rocket launchers), planesaand military equipment from WW2 and the 20th century are exhibited in the area, thus giving visitors a chance to check out gear.
You will also be able to admire numerous sculptures depiciting Ukrainian people defending and fighting for their homeland. The sculptures are impressive reflecting the courageous defence of the frontier in 1941, the partisan movement, the hardships of the civilians during occupation, the hard work at home front, the front heroes and the forced crossing of the Dnipro River in 1943.
The Motherland Monument is right on top of the War Museum and looks out towards the Dnipro River. The statue is is the original symbol of courage and strength of the Ukrainian people. The monument’s height exceeds the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The Monument is 62 meters hight and weighs 530 tonnes whilst the overall height of the structure is 108 meters.
You can actually go up the statue and enjoy the panoramic view of Kyiv overlooking the Dnipro river. This is one of the city’s most iconic monument and worth a visit!
Address: 27 Lavrska Street
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 10:00-16:00, Saturday-Sunday: 10:00-19:00
Entrance Fee: 20 UAH
Guided Tour in English: 100 UAH
8. Golden Gate (Zoloti Vorota)
The Golden Gate aka Zoloti Vorota is one of Kyiv’s most popular sights, attracting lots of visitors and tourists. It is a defensive fortress from the Kyivan Rus era dating back to the 11th century. The Golden Gate was the main entrance of the ancient city’s fortifications and was built by Yaroslav the Wise.
The original structure was dismantled in the middle ages thus leaving just a few remnant vestiges and completely rebuilt in 1982 during the Soviet era in order to celebrate the 150oth anniversary of Kyiv. What we see today is a renovated version of the gate constructed on the ruins of the original gate. Yaroslav the Wise’s Monument stands just outside the gate. Today the Golden Gate also houses a museum.
Address: 40a Volodymyrska Street
Opening hours: Wednesday- Sunday 10:00 – 18:00, Tuesday: 10:00 – 17:00, Monday: closed
9. Furnicular Ride
This is one thing you should experience when in Kyiv, a ride on the funicular. The funicular connects the lower part of the city (Poshtova Square, Podil, St. Andrews’s Descent, Kyiv River Station, Dnipro River etc) with the upper part of the city (St. Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral, St. Sophia’s Cathedral etc).
The furnicular was constructed between 1902-1905 and started operating on 20 May 1905.
The ride will mesmerise you with breathtaking views of the Dnipro river and the city’s picturesque landscape. The journey will cost you 3 UAH (0.11 Euros). The funicular operates on the following timings:
- Monday-Friday 07:00 AM-22:00 PM
- Saturday-Sunday/public holidays 08:00 AM-23:00 PM
You can purchase your tickets at cash desk in the Funicular Station (You can take the furnicular from either of the 2 stations (lower or upper). The journey is 5 minutes long.
10. St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral
The magnificent architectural marvel is located at Shevchenko Boulevard. St. Volodymir’s Cathedral was designed by Beretti and is the mother cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral’s construction took more than 40 years. In 1852 the collection of donations to build the temple began. The extraordinary cathedral was consecrated in 1896 and is one of the most beautiful and outstanding architectures in the city. The cathedral’s interior is decorated and ornamented with extraordinary art work, mosaics and paintings. You should not miss visiting this beautiful cathedral when you come to Kyiv.
Address: Shevchenko Boulevard 2020
Opening Hours: Monday-Fri day 9:00-18:00, Saturday 9:00-18:00, Sunday 9:00-18:00
Pack your bags and come to Kyiv! You will love the city as there’s lots to see and discover!
ESCToday in collaboration with CFC Consulting and UA: PBC will be bringing you a series of articles leading up to the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in order to showcase and introduce the 2017 Eurovision host city Kyiv to our readers