• 1 March 2020

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, but also the cultural and scientific capital of Eastern Europe. A new generation of tourism has people from all over the world drawn to the city’s rich culture and history, flamboyant architecture and lush greenery.

Kiev (or Kyiv) offers many diverse activities to enjoy! From kayaking in the city’s river to appreciating the golden onion domes on many of the city’s cathedrals – you’re sure in for a treat in this Eastern European gem.

We’ve compiled the top 5 reasons why you should visit Kiev that will entirely convince you:

1. You can do a tour of Chernobyl

You’ve seen the horror movies, documentaries and Netflix series about it. But, if you travel to Kiev Ukraine, you could actually get the inside scoop on the ghost town of Pripyat in real life.

Being Europe’s 7th-most populous city, you’d probably be quite surprised to hear that the country’s capital is only a 2-hour drive away from the nuclear catastrophe that was Chernobyl.

The 1986 accident was caused by an eruption of radioactive substances into the air and has been regarded as the worst of its kind. Fortunately, tours to the devastated site are offered, and many commence from Kiev. And, don’t worry, the area has been deemed safe for tourists and visitors; with no danger of radiation.

On the tour, you’ll visit the former power plant, as well as browse through the deserted city of Pripyat. However, don’t be expecting the same depictions as the films; this is a pilgrimage that seeks to educate the public about the harmful effects the explosion had on the locals and the rest of the continent.

Abandoned amusement park in the center of the city of Pripyat, in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine
Abandoned amusement park in the center of the city of Pripyat, in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine
2. It has the world’s deepest metro station

Kiev travelling and commuting is much ‘deeper’ than you think. Because, although using public transport may be the standard procedure for locals, tourists will find one particular metro station to be pretty exciting. It’s located almost 106-metres below ground.

And to be specific, we’re talking about the Arsenalna Metro Station that forms part of the Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska route. While catching a train so deep below the surface may seem thrilling, the actual act of escalating downwards is also really intriguing for all newcomers.

You’ll have to descend down two lengthy escalators, which will help you arrive at the metro stop after 5-minutes. The positioning of the metro station is a result of the Dnieper River being where the entrance is, which obviously became an obstacle in the design of the station. But, this didn’t dishearten the Ukrainian architects, who went as far below the surface as they could so that commuting would be possible.

Travelling stairs of the deepest station in the world, Arsenalna in Kiev Metro
Travelling stairs of the deepest station in the world, Arsenalna in Kiev Metro
3. It’s one of the continent’s greenest cities

Ukraine’s vibrant capital is surprisingly lush, with spacious green parks trailing around the Dnieper River.

In fact, in 2017, Kiev was voted Europe’s greenest metropolis! More than half of the land it takes up is forested, and just outside of the city you’ll find yourself lost in extensive pine forests. Besides greenery, rolling hills are scattered throughout the city, ideal for sunset pictures and hikes.

What makes Kiev unique is that its parks are all close to one another. You’ll find many of the parks along the Dnieper River, Kiev’s prized possession. This river is responsible for Kiev’s port identity, as well as many leisure activities for the locals. These include kayaking to the islands in the middle of the river, among others.

Kiev also offers great swimming beaches and areas for locals and tourists to swim within the Dnieper River.

Dnieper river and Truchaniv island from above
Dnieper river and Truchaniv island from above
4. You’ll see one of the largest collections of the world’s smallest objects

Every capital has a number of museums. Ukraine’s capital has a pretty exciting and unique one – the Museum of Microminiatures. The objects in this museum are tiny; all sized in millimetres and handcrafted locally.

This museum is a great reflection of how Kiev’s artistic scene is thriving. The details on these objects are extremely intricate and all handmade.

And all the exhibited miniature artworks were all handmade by one Ukrainian man – Mykola Syadristy. This self-taught micro artist makes mind-boggling creations, which you’ll be able to admire in the museum.

These include a chessboard on a pin’s head as well as what is said to be the world’s smallest book, being 0.6 square millimetres. So, you’ll really learn to appreciate the smaller things in life here.

Museum of microminiatures in Kiev
Museum of microminiatures in Kiev
5. There are almost 1000 palaces and churches to explore

When you look at Kiev from a satellite map, you’ll see lots of green. But, when you look at Kiev from the ground or from a plane, you’ll see lots of gold.

Kiev is a really old city, with archaeological traces dating as far back as the 5th century. This makes it one of Eastern Europe’s oldest cities. The grandeur of its golden-domed cathedrals and churches make it an exciting destination for architecture buffs.

You’ll be gasping after every corner you turn. The capital wasn’t nicknamed the ‘city of domes’ for no reason.

Kiev is home to a monastic complex that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s called the Pechersk Lavra complex, a religious compound that holds a lot of value for Eastern European Christians. This is because, along with the gilded and golden domes, it includes the city’s oldest Church and a Ukrainian Baroque Bell Tower. There are also some man-made Subterranean caves beneath the surface of the complex that can be explored.

As a whole, the city is distinct in its buildings’ designs, including Ukrainian Baroque, Art-Nouveau and Soviet Futurism.

Colorful houses in Kiev
Colorful houses in Kiev

Kiev remains relatively unknown, leaving it authentic and full of undiscovered monuments. This capital is a great space for nature adventurers and swimming fanatics, while still being a historically crucial attraction.

The city of domes should definitely be on your bucket list. Whether you’re soaking in the marvellous architecture in downtown Kiev, or unravelling the country’s rich history – you are sure to have a blast.

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