KIEV or KYIV: THE CITY of THE RECENT REVOLUTION OF DIGNITY

Kiev has a
long history that started more than 1,500 years ago, when around 950 the first churches,
cathedrals and monuments were built. Below, you find a list of the must-see
historical and contemporary attractions in the city.

But what we may not remember is the recent history of the city: in 2014 there was a revolution here, “The Revolution of Dignity”.

In November
2013, the President Viktor Yanukovych announced that Ukraine was suspending
pursuit of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement for which the country
had been preparing for since 2008.  The
announcement led to the largest peaceful protests seen at the Maidan in Kyiv
since the Orange Revolution of 2004.  But
after some time, the Berkut Special Police forcefully dispersed the hundred
student-aged protesters who remained at the square, beating some with
truncheons. The reaction of the public in response to the attack was momentous.
10,000 people occupied the Maidan later that day. 

As the days
went on, more people from all corners of the country arrived in Kyiv. There was
no single leader organizing the protest. 
It was time for Ukraine to rid itself of corruption.  People organized themselves into subunits,
mainly based on areas of Ukraine from where they came. A perimeter was
established with barricades erected to keep the Berkut Police at bay. A self-defense
patrol called Samo-borona was established, its rules and discipline were based
upon the Kozak (“Cossack”) traditions of Ukraine.  Every day after work hours, people gathered
to hear the speeches of community activists as well as politicians who
supported the movement.  Musical &
cultural artists kept the crowd entertained and in good spirits day and night. The
government paid street hooligans, called “titushkas”, to attack protesters,
kidnap activists and journalists and create general chaos throughout Kyiv,
while the corrupt police turned a blind eye to these hooligans.

In February
2014, protesters began a peaceful march through the streets of Kyiv but were
met by Berkut officers throwing stun grenades and firing at them from rooftops.  The bloodiest day of the protests occurred on
February 20,  when government snipers
perched on rooftops shot and killed 67 protesters who were armed with wooden
clubs and shields made from sheet metal or wood. The massacre was filmed by
professional and amateur journalists and widely distributed on the Internet.  By February 22, the shock created by that
bloodshed had prompted a mass defection by the president’s allies in Parliament
and prodded Yanukovych to join negotiations.

ROAD TO THE INDEPENDENCE SQUARE

In mid
January, at Yanukovych’s demand, the corruption-laden parliament rammed through
a series of anti-protest laws that came with severe penalties, making the
country a de facto dictatorship. The peole exploded.

Day 1

Santa Sofia

It is the
oldest Kyiv standing church, built in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who
incidentally was laid to rest inside. He commissioned the project to
commemorate the site of a victory of Kyivan Rus over the Pechenegs (Asian
nomadic tribes) and to glorify Christianity.

This
majestic 13-cupola sanctuary adjoined Yaroslav’s Palace and became a holy place
of
worship for Kyivites as well as a political and cultural centre. Meetings
with foreign diplomats and treaty negotiations were held here, and the church
housed the first library and school in Kyivan Rus.

The bell
ower, azure and white is 76m high and was finished in 1752. The cathedral’s
upper Ukrainian Baroque section and gilded cupola were added in 1852. Today it
is a museum and contains archaeological artefacts and architectural displays,
such as models depicting Kyiv as it looked before being razed by Mongol invaders
in 1240. To enter the cathedral itself, purchase tickets from the kiosk around
the corner from the bell tower entrance.

Cable railway

This type
of transport is very important for citizens of Kiev because it connects the
upper town with historical part of Kiev Podol. Underground station
"Poshtova ploshcha" and River port are situated near Lower station.
There are only two Сable railways for whole Ukraine that is why don`t miss your
chance to tick "Cable railway" in you ToDo, ToTry, ToVisit list for
Kiev!

Foods!

The
Ukrainian cuisine is amazing. Your food adventure has to include stops at the
popular national restaurants of the city center to taste the traditional
dishes!

Remember to
ask for traditional Ukrainian starter – salo with garlic and toast. It goes
accompanied with a complimentary homemade liquor.

Then, it’s the
right time you taste the most popular Ukrainian soup – borsch. It is made from
cabbage, potatoes and beetroot that gives the soup an intense red color.

After that,
your lunch can continue with  sample
delicious vareniki (dumpling). You may choose from different stuffing, like
meat, potatoes and mushrooms, cabbage, etc.

Combining food tasting and sightseeing is the best way to spend your time in Kiev! And of course drink Vodka!

VODKA SHOTS

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) and
the recent story of Kyiv (Kiev)

After that
you can choose: You can either head underground for a guided "urban
exploration" tour, navigating through storm drains and tunnels beneath the
Ukrainian capital; or if you prefer, you can stay topside for a tour of Kyiv’s
eye-catching street art highlights.

After lunch, you can take a tour through Maidan Nezalezhnosti, where you can learn about the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution visiting the places where it happened.

Day 2: the other side of Kyiv (Kiev)

Andriivskyi Descent Road

It`s the
most historical and famous street of Kiev. It had been playing an important
role in ancient times because it connects the two central districts of Kiev -
Upper Town and Podol (Lower Town). Now it is the most creative street and locals
really like to visit it. Here you will find theaters, a lot of art cafes,
several museums.  Also here you can find
a Ukrainian souvenirs of all types.

There are
lots of things to see, visit and do on one street that is often called
Ukrainian Montmartre.

First you will see the
grand church, designed by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli and
constructed during 1747–1754. St Andrew's church is considered to be one of the
most beautiful Baroque buildings not only in Kyiv but also in Europe. Curiosity:
it is the only church in Kyiv that has no bells.

Going  down to the down town, you will nderstand
that there is a reason why Andriyivsky Descent is called the Kyiv Montmartre:
it has long served as a place where artists and sculptors created and hosted
most popular exhibitions. Many renowned contemporary and classical art
galleries are located here: for instance, Tryptykh, 36, Fortuna, Karas and
Soviart.

The main
exhibition gallery is Andriivskyi Descent itself: the street is full of
paintings, sculptures, antiques, traditional Ukrainian embroideries and various
souvenirs from street artists and vendors.

See my other articles on Europe!

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