If you’re tired of monasteries, museums and monuments, there are plenty of unusual places in Kyiv that are worth a visit and you are unlikely to find in tourist guides.
The Kyiv Post has selected five sites for the inquisitive tourist:
Museum of the History of the Toilet
22 Rybalska Street
Founded in 2007, this museum proudly declares itself Europe’s first to be dedicated to the history of the toilet. It is grandly located in a tower that was a part of the Kyiv fortress, the biggest fortification complex of Eastern Europe built in the 19th century.
More than 300 items representing the history of toilets and sewerage – from a model of a toilet used by Cretan residents 5,000 years ago to British chamber pots from the 19th century and a modern Japanese automated water closet.
Entrance is free, and guided tour will cost you Hr 5. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday is a day off.
The museum is a part of the “Ceramics in the Tower” shop located in “Tower No. 5” business center near Klovska metro stop.
For more information visit www.toilette.com.ua or call (044) 531-9400
9 Reitarska Street (courtyard)
Unlike those believed to guard the Tower of London, Kyiv ravens are watching over one of the courtyards in the center of the city close to Zoloti Vorota (Golden Gates) metro stop.
Three shiny blackbirds Karlusha, Korbin and Kyrylo have been there since 1991, according to local residents.
People say the ravens’ owner used to keep the birds in his flat until his wife forced him to get rid of them. He then erected two cages in the courtyard and hired a worker to take care of the ravens who has been feeding and guarding them ever since.
To see the birds go to Zoloti Vorota metro stop, then go straight along the left side of Zolotovoritska Street, turn left and walk along Reitarska Street until you get to building No.9.
Then go through the gate to get to the building’s courtyard.
2 Volodymyrska Street - 34 Velyka Zhytomyrska Street
This modern sculpture park created within last three years has already become one of the favorite places for Kyivans of all ages.
Here you can take rest from noisy city center sitting on the benches inside sculptures of giant fish and cats’ heads covered with mosaics.
There’s also a fountain with two zebras embracing each other and a long cat with its mouth open ready for you to stand in.
Local artist Kostyantyn Skrytutskyi created the sculptures.
Apart from his works there are plenty of arty things made by famous Ukrainian designers filling the rest space of the park.
This spring the park was under threat of demolition because of its central location, as Foreign Ministry officials want to build apartments there. But the park was saved after hundreds of Kyivans came out to protest.
You can get there from Lvivska Ploshcha, walking along the left side of Velyka Zhytomyrska Street and turning left next to the Olsen shop or by walking up Andriyivsky Uzviz and turning right in the direction of the Museum of the History of Ukraine.
To Soviet leaders Josef Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev, it was one of two top secret underwater tunnels being built to connect the banks of the Dnipro River, a possible ace-in-the-hole to help win World War II for the Allies.
Yet in today’s high-tech world of satellites that could spot a dime on a city sidewalk, there’s nothing secretive about the unfinished caisson in the Obolon district. Its GPS coordinates are: 50°29’56’’N 30°31’26’’E.
The watertight chamber was going to be used for underwater construction work. Now, it occupies riverfront space flanked by newly built residential buildings, townhouses and a golf driving range.
You can find it walking along the river away from the golf center towards the Moscow Bridge. The monolithic Soviet remnant appears taciturn and out of place covered in green overgrowth and graffiti.
Today the tunnel in Obolon is often used as a playground by children who like swinging while holding on to a trapeze attached to a suspended bungee rope. It is also a frequent stop on excursion tours around Kyiv’s secret landmarks.
4 Kontraktova Ploshcha
This historic site in the picturesque Podil district has been rediscovered by Kyivans only recently.
Hostinniy Dvir has been in the news recently as Kyiv residents have been fighting against its reconstruction.
Although the official plans only claim to involve building a glass roof over the courtyard and transformation of the building into a shopping mall, Kyiv residents distrust the authorities and the developer, fearing that it will be knocked down or turned into a skyscraper.
Instead, over the past several weeks people have organized spontaneous rock concerts and art exhibits in the place that was once the main trading ground for merchants visiting the city.
It was even jokingly pronounced an independent republic.
The dilapidated courtyard of this two-story whitewashed building makes for a perfect festival location. It’s located close to Kontraktova Ploshcha metro station.
The original building appeared in 1811, housing 52 different shops and a market in the courtyard. It also served as a hotel for visiting merchants.
This building was destroyed by fire, and the modern version of its appeared in the 1980s, based on the 19th-century drafts.