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An Expat’s View Of Kiev

by Petryk Vera

It is truly magical how Kiev combines everything together.
Having 1500 years of history, the city is a beautiful architectural place, at the same time, Ukrainian capital is a fast developing mega polis that surprises its visitors with bright nightlife and wild entertainment.

Unfortunately, Kyiv is a slightly new spot on a tourist map so if it’s your first visit to the city you might need some basic information about it:

1. It is the oldest capital in Eastern Europe, which used to be a capital of Kievan Rus (Russian Empire)

2. Most people in the city speak Russian and Ukrainian. English is also a popular language; it is spoken as a third language by a minority of the citizens.3. Kiev girls were declared the most beautiful women in the world in 2012 by World Travel digest, leaving Moscow and Buenos Aires behind.

4. It is a football capital. It was a place of the finale game of EURO 2012 football championship.

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5. It is an architectural spot that has XII century masterpiece, which are of UNESCO World Heritage.

To explore all important places in Kyiv you might need a week or even more, so in order to save time it would be better to order a tour around the city. The best tour for warm seasons like summer, late spring and early autumn is a pedestrian sightseeing tour. Be ready to walk a lot as the city is situated on the 7 hills. Such tour usually goes through the most important cultural places like Pecherskaya Lavra – is a little religious town in the city, UNESCO Heritage spot and an active monastery with caves of the VI century. While in Lavra remember to visit Museum of Miniature, this museum has world smallest book and such unbelievable miniatures as a mini rose, put into a human hair or a chess table placed on the head of a needle.

If you are about to visit Kyiv in winter be ready to get into a real Russian fairy tale. Winters in Kyiv are tough; it is a lot of snow and a lot of people wearing fur. Best way to explore the city in winter is to take a tram tour that will take you to the oldest district in the capital. It is called Podol, it has a lot of mysterious stories to tell, and it was a home for many prominent writers and artists as Bulgakov and Vrubel. In a day time it is a real open air market where you can buy everything starting with simple souvenirs and ending with real Soviet time’s masterpieces.

Winters are also good to visit theaters and museums. Don’t miss an opportunity to go to the National Opera House in Kyiv – a gorgeous Neo Renaissance style building where you can watch Nutcracker or madam Butterfly for less than 20 Euros.

And about fun. According to the best Ukrainian traditions, nightlife in Kiev usually starts at home with a fine dinner and a couple of pre-drinks. As for students, the majority of them go to nightclubs, which are presented in a great quantity. Almost all nightclubs work throughout the night, till 5-6 o’clock in the morning, so if you spend all of your money you can be sure to catch first subway to get home.
Calm and romantic evenings can be spent in Kyiv restaurants, theaters and cinemas. One more interesting place to enjoy night in the city is Kiev planetarium. It was recently modernized by IMAX, which made it a fantastic spot for a date or a cultural evening.

Other popular places are pubs and bars, where each can relax and enjoy drinks brought from all over the world. The most popular ones are Irish pubs like O’Connors where one can enjoy high quality whiskey and nice rock & roll music. Those who prefer extreme can visit one of the wildest pubs; it is made as a real madhouse. With cute nurses – waitresses and mind-blowing cocktails it is a must visit spot in the capital city.

Overall, Kiev nightlife is a lot of fun, joy and pleasure. The only tip is to be open, this way you will get to meet many interesting and friendly citizens who will help you, entertain or even make you dance in the middle of a street.

Vera share more information about Kiev through her website Kyiv.com

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