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You're reading: 10 Kyivan things to do for first-time capital visitors

For those in Kyiv for the first time, the Kyiv Post offers the ultimate guide to places, people and things that visitors should experience in the ancient capital.

Kyiv perepichka

Often referred to as the Kyiv-style hot dog, the Kyiv perepichka is sold only at one place in the city — a hole-in-the-wall food outlet near the corner of Bohdana Khmelnytskoho and Khreshchatyk streets.

Serving deep-fried dough stuffed with sausage since the 1980s, the place remains extremely popular — there’s practically always a line of customers. A low price of Hr 12, a central location and brand loyalty have made the Kyiv perepichka a city favorite for nearly 40 years. Enjoy one right there in the street, as busy Kyivans pass by, or line up to get one themselves.

Kyiv Metro

For Kyivans, the metro underground train network is mostly a useful means of transportation, but for tourists it’s well worth a visit in itself. Make sure to walk along Zoloti Vorota (Golden Gate) station, which features some 80 distinct mosaic decorations resembling an ancient Kyivan Rus church. Another must-see station is Universytet (University) which has alcoves adorned with white marble busts of famous Ukrainian scientists and poets. Try and spot the hidden white shells on at least two of the station’s marble columns. And don’t miss the world’s deepest metro station, Arsenalna, which is 105.5 meters below ground.

A man checks his phone as he waits for the train at Zoloti Vorota metro station in Kyiv on May 3.

A man checks his phone as he waits for the train at Zoloti Vorota metro station in Kyiv on May 3.

Murals

In recent years Kyiv has seen a street art revolution, and there are now more than 100 pieces of top-notch street art in the capital. Both native and foreign artists have been decorating Kyiv buildings with murals featuring historic figures, animals, abstract designs and landscapes, brightening up the capital of Ukraine. To see the best of them, download the Kyiv Murals app, which acts as a navigation aide for Kyiv’s street art gallery.

Kyiv’s funicular, which connects the Podil district and Mykhailivska Square, is a favorite with tourists.

Kyiv’s funicular, which connects the Podil district and Mykhailivska Square, is a favorite with tourists.

Funicular

Kyiv’s funicular railway has been shuttling people from the riverside commercial neighborhood of Podil to the city’s hilly central district since 1905. This century-old funicular railway offers the classic postcard view of Kyiv. The travel time between the stations is approximately 3 minutes. Tourism is the funicular’s life’s blood, with tourists making up most of its 2.8 million passengers a year. A single ride costs Hr 3.

Mastering marshrutka

Spotted a small yellow bus on the street? It’s a clear sign that you’re in a former Soviet republic. Marshrutkas, or mini-buses, vary in age, size and comfort, but are a must-try if you want to experience the life of a local. In Kyiv, they are mostly yellow “Bogdan” buses (the name comes from their maker, the Bogdan Motors Automobile Company.)

Before hopping on, be prepared to be squeezed in tightly — these buses will take as many people as can cram themselves inside. Also, when it’s crammed, everyone pays by passing money to the driver via fellow passengers, so if someone passes you money pass it on to the person next to you nearest to the driver. Marshrutkas are generally inexpensive, with the price usually posted inside the bus. If not, ask a driver or any passenger — skil’ky koshtuye proyizd? To get out, say the name of the stop, as marshrutkas stop only on request.

Pyrohovo Museum

Ukraine has several open-air museums on the rustic life of Ukrainians from centuries past, but Pyrohovo, the outdoor folk museum in Kyiv’s suburbs, is definitely the best. It houses dozens of 17th- to 20th-century wooden churches, cottages, farmsteads and windmills that are divided into seven ‘villages’ representing different regions of Ukraine. To wander around the open-air museum, which is like a large park, is to take a journey in a time machine amidst old architecture from eastern to western to southern Ukraine.

The museum is located near the village of Pyrohovo. From Vystavkovy Tsentr metro station take trolleybus number 11, which stops at the turn-off to the museum. From Lukianivska metro station, take marshrutka number 496. In less than an hour, it will stop not far from the entrance.

400-year-old lime tree

Up Andriyivskyy Descent and past St. Andrew’s Church look for a fenced-off archeological site that now houses the ruins of the foundation of Desyatynna Church — once the first Orthodox church in the ancient Kyivan Rus state.

In this quiet yard, right next to the ruins of Desyatynna Church, grows a 400-year-old lime tree. Some historians, however, believe it could be even older.
Legends say, it was planted by Kyiv Metropolitan Petro Mohyla in 1653 in honor of the partial reconstruction of Desyatynna Church. The church had collapsed under the weight of the people who took refuge there during the Mongols’ sacking of Kyiv in 1240.

The tree is believed to have spiritual value. The tree is also under state protection, so don’t place any objects on it.

Rooftop terrace

To enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city, go to the tranquil rooftop terrace located on top of a 25-story residential high-rise at 4A Lobanovsky Prospect. To plan one’s visit call 098–365–78–78 or 063–539–78–78. Take marshrutka 570 from Tereshchenkivska St. (one block up from Lva Tolstoho metro station).

Working hours: 12 p. m. until 8 p. m. on weekdays and 10 a. m. to 10 p. m. during weekends. Admission is Hr 50.

A woman poses for a photo at the rooftop terrace located on top of a 25-story residential high-rise in Kyiv.

A woman poses for a photo at the rooftop terrace located on top of a 25-story residential high-rise in Kyiv.

Red-colored university

The main building of Taras Shevchenko National University — the country’s largest educational institution — was built in 1843. The building was designed by Vikentiy Beretti, the architect who was also among one of the first lecturers of the university. The red color of the walls, and the black details on the columns resemble the colors of the insignia of St. Volodymyr, whose name university bore at that time.

Vozdvyzhenka

The area of Vozdvyzhenka, in the capital’s historic Podil district, has dozens of brightly colored newly built houses in mock 19th century style positioned elegantly in a ravine. The area is now popular for fashion photo shoots and walking tours. But at night it is quiet and deserted.

The Vozdvyzhenka area of Kyiv’s Podil neighborhood has been extensively rebuilt in recent years, but its developers faithfully stuck to classical Kyiv architectural designs.

The Vozdvyzhenka area of Kyiv’s Podil neighborhood has been extensively rebuilt in recent years, but its developers faithfully stuck to classical Kyiv architectural designs.

When construction of the new buildings in the area began, it became a prime luxury housing location in the heart of the city and attracted lots of potential buyers. But after the global economic depression that hit Kyiv in 2008 and 2009, demand for the property dropped drastically.

Vozdvyzhenka saw a revival after 2014 when several art galleries, showrooms and restaurants started to open in the neighborhood.

Historically, Vozdvyzhenka was home to numerous craftsmen. Many of nearby streets still bear their names. Vozdvyzhenka itself is named after a local church — Khrestovozdvyzhenska Church — famous for being the place where Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov was baptized.

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