Kiev Journals

Ancient Kiev

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A July 1997 trip to Kiev by Amanda

Quote: Threatening, grimy and depressed, Kiev still has some spectacular tourist sites, and few tourists to share them with.

Ancient Kiev

Overview

Quote:
St Sophia's Cathedral is an amazing place, ancient and beautiful.

The spooky underground Caves Monastery is fantastic.

Quick Tips:

This isn't a safe place. Of all the places I've ever been to, I felt least safe in this city. Be very, very careful here. We didn't go out after 7pm once, as we just didn't feel safe enough here. You also have to be careful in your hotel.

Best Way To Get Around:

I wouldn't hire a car here, there's no real point and it makes you a target for criminals and police alike. Public transport is cheap, and frequent. Taxis are reasonably cheap, but as in the rest of the ex-USSR, keep your wits about you.

Hotel Bratislava

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Hotel

Quote:
This palce is way overpriced. The visa system in operation in 1997 when we went meant that you had to book all your accommodation in the Ukraine before you could get a visa, and the only hotels you could book from outside were expensive, but not necessarily nice. This was the cheapest available, and cost more than 50 dollars for a double room, per night. It's on the eastern bank of the river, and isn't an architectural masterpiece. It's a huge, towering panalac, surrounded by similar 1050s concrete towers. All of them are falling apart, with crumbling steps and balconies, door off the hinges, lights that don't work, and a depressing air of dereliction. The hotel itself is a short walk from the...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on September 19, 2000

Hotel Bratislava
Vulitsya Malyska 1
Kiev, Ukraine
551 73 34

Hotel Bratislava Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Restaurant in the Hotel Bratislava"

Quote:
We ate here in the evening as we didn't feel safe venturing out into Kiev. The food was pretty bad, greasy burgers and fried chicken, boring sandwiches, and chips. Apart from the pickled vegetables, that was it on the menu. After one try at this place we bought bread, fruit and cheese and picnicked in our room. The one time we did go to this place, two local men in their 50s sat down with us, uninvited, and got much too friendly. They suggested an exchange of our sexual favours for $40, which isn't what you want to hear over dinner. We told them to do something rude in Russian, or we would call the police - they got out their ID cards and said 'we are the police'. We beat a hasty retreat, ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on September 19, 2000

Hotel Bratislava Restaurant
Vulitsya Malyska 1
Kiev, Ukraine

Caves Monastery

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Attraction | "Caves Monastery 2"

Quote:
The Caves There are two separate complexes of caves, and you can visit both. The Nearer Caves, the newer of the two, are the first you come to. Buy a candle from the seller on the way in, as it is very dark down there. The Further Caves are the older ones. You walk through about 220 yards of underground passages, and there are mummified monks lining the pathways. It was thought to be a spiritual experience, living underground, and it's a spooky, spiritual environment. The burials here span nearly a thousand years, and the bodies are labelled (in Cyrillic, so bone up on the alphabet!) Several orthodox saints are buried here, and it's not unusual to see people, often elderly, praying and wors...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2000

Caves Monastery
Vulitsya Hrushevskoho
Kiev, Ukraine

Caves Monastery

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Attraction | "Ukranian Museum of Historial Treasures"

Quote:
Historical Treasures Museum - This is, perhaps, the best of the museums at the Caves Monastery, and the reason why I've put it in its own section. It contains precious objects from the whole country, including some invaluable pieces of astonishing antiquity. Some of the jewellery from burial sites in the Ukraine, from the 5th century BC, is amazingly beautiful and rare. There is also a big collection of religious precious things, such as gold-embroidered vestments, communion chalices and plates, and icons encrusted with precious stones. There is bad news, however. You have to buy an additional ticket to get into this museum, and you have to go round in a tour group. As the options ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2000

Caves Monastery
Vulitsya Hrushevskoho
Kiev, Ukraine

St Sophia's Cathedral

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Attraction

Quote:
It's gorgeous. One of the oldest buildings in the city, and the oldest church, it was built in the 11th centuiry. It;s named after the much older Hagia Sophia (now Aya Sophia) in Istanbul. It's been extensively rebuilt over the centuries, but many of the original frescos and paintings inside have been looked after and survive, still beautiful. You can climb the bell tower, and there is a good view of the city from the top (it's quite a long way up though!) There are two great models inside, showing what the cathedral looked like when it was built, compared with what it looks like now. The have been quite a lot of additions and changes, and the comparison is very interesting.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2000

St Sophia's Cathedral
Sofiyska Ploshcha
Kiev, Ukraine

Caves Monastery

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Attraction | "Caves Monastery 1"

Quote:
This site takes more than the maximum 500 words to describe, and so is divided into two sections. You can buy a ticket at the entrance that covers most of the complex, but a few places need extra tickets. It isn't expensive to get in, a ticket costs about £2. You need to spend at least one whole day here, it is fantastic. Together with the cathedral, this place makes the terrible food and hotels worth putting up with. This is an ancient site. Founded in 1050AD, this monastery flourished and put up bigger and beter buildings soon after this date. After being sacked and burnt, it was rebuilt in the 1720s. The buildings on the surface are fascinating. There are several gorgeous churches,...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2000

Caves Monastery
Vulitsya Hrushevskoho
Kiev, Ukraine