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Ukraine

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Table of contents

Things to do and See in Ukraine

Kiev


Kiev (Kyiv) is the capital of the Ukraine and the city was founded in the 8th century. Unfortunately, during World War II most of the city was flattened and it took awhile for the city to recover from this disaster. The biggest tourist attraction is the Caves Monastery, which is in the city centre and was the focal point of the early Orthodox Church. Ukraine has one of the biggest populations of Orthodox believers in the world second only to Russia.


Dynamo FC

The Dynamo Stadium is home to Kiev’s ‘Dynamo FC’, which is the city’s football team. It has one of the best atmospheres and is defiantly worth checking out if you are in town. For more information go to www.dynamofc.org


Chernobyl

Chernobyl is a day trip from the capital as it takes around two hours to drive there by car. There are many tour companies starting up to take tourists there and you can ask at your accommodation or the tourist information centre in Kiev.
In 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl’s Reactor Number Four exploded, and it send radioactive material across Europe. It was said it was 400 times stronger then that of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.

Today, there is a 30-mile exclusion zone with armed guards 10 miles from the reactor, and inside that zone is the once thriving city of Pripyat, which is now a ghost city. As you get closer to the reactor you will be checked at a few check points by these armed guards and there will be devises where you can actually see how high the radiation levels are in each ring of the zone. The reactor itself is an interesting attraction, which is one I think I will give a miss, but the one true place to see is Pripyat. Here you will see exactly how this disaster affected the people living around the area. Pripyat was a purpose-built city and it had a population of over 50,000 people. At the time of the disaster all the residents were told to leave immediately and leave everything behind. They were told they could return in a few days to collect their things, but most never returned to collect anything. It’s probably the only place in the world you can go to and see a city built that has high rise buildings, supermarkets, schools, amusements parks, but you won’t find a soul around and all these buildings are all abandoned. The only thing you will find is the wildlife, which returned many years ago.

This is a sobering experience and one that if you decide to take a trip to Chernobyl will leave you thinking for a few days. 

 

Caves Monastery

The Caves Monastery is located in the city centre and it’s the focal point of the early Orthodox Church. The Caves Monastery is 3km south of where Kiev stood in 1051. It is also called The Memorial and in Russian, "Pechersk Lavra." Overlooking the Dnipro River, it is an array of golden-domed churches and underground caves. Monks lived here and their bodies are preserved in the narrow passages of the caves. You must buy a candle to enter the caves. Men must wear hats and women must wear scarves. The passageways are crowded and low. A private guide costs $20 for two hours and there is a separate charge for touring the Giant Belfry and museums. You can climb the 174 steps of the bell tower and get a view from the top of the entire complex. . Today its the headquarters of the pro-Russian Orthodox church, which is shrinking every day.

 

Kiev Fortress

In the district of Lesi Ukrayinky Boulevard, lay the remains the Kiev fortress, built as part of a massive fortification system protecting Kyiv from invaders that launched their attacks from the Dnieper River. Today, the Kyiv fortress, situated on the western tip of Pechersk Hill and a great place for some amazing pictures.


St. Sophia's Cathedral

This Cathedral is known for its golden domes and its 260 square meters of mosaics. It’s quite an impressive Cathedral and definitely recommended even if it’s just for a few pictures. Another tourist attraction would be the St. Sofia Bell Tower, which is located above the entrance gate and is 76m tall that dates back to the late 17th century.

 

 

 

Lviv


Lviv was founded in 1256 and is known as ‘the city of lions’. It has a population of over 900,000 and it has a fascinating history, as in the past century it has been controlled by the Polish, Russians, and now again Ukraine.

If you come to Lviv you will the find people are more Ukrainian in this part of the country than in Kiev, as more people speak Russian in the capital then Ukrainian. The City Castle was the first building to fly Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow national flag. Lviv is also the headquarters of Ukraine’s Greek Orthodox Church.

The two main things to do in this city is see the Opera House and go for a stroll through old town of the city, which is a UNESCO - listed World Heritage Site. and  has it has some amazing architecture.

 

Opera House

Watch a theatre or opera performance in Lviv. Several theatre companies perform in Lviv. The Opera House of Ivan Franko is a source of great pride to locals. Extravagantly built, with richly decorated façade and interior, its architecture leads Lviv Opera to be classed among the best theatres in Europe.

 

Lychakivske Cemetery

There are over 400,000 people buried here and they include some of Poland and Ukraine's most famous poets, artists, noblemen, soldiers and rules from the past.

Its your chance to gaze in awe at the eleborate tombstones, temples and mausoleums, which some were designed by notable architects. Here you will see Soviet hammer-and-sickle emblems adorn tombs which lie next to Christian crosses, extravagent marble monuments and Jewish symbols.

 

Holocaust Memorial

Head to the Holocaust Memorial where you will have a chance to pay your respects to over 420,000 Jews who perished there between 1941-1943. There is a monument at the memorial in memory of those lost.

 

The Historic Centre

This area is great for a walk around and to have a look at the historic buildings in the area.

 

Market Square

This Square has been around for more than 600 years and it’s the focal point for history and beautiful architecture. It used to house the cities nobility and all the wealthy people used to live here. It’s an interesting part of the city and definitely worth a look.

 

Zamkova Hora (Castle Hill)

Make your way up Castle Hill to take a look at some amazing views of the city and the numerous domes and steeples that dominate its skyline. Lviv is sometimes called the Florence of the East and from Castle Hill you can see why.

 

 

 

 

The Rest of Ukraine

 


Odessa

The romantic port of Odessa is Ukraine’s largest and most important sea port on the Black Sea. Being a relatively young city compared to that of Kiev, Odessa has mixture of European culture as well as a well-known health resort. Odessa is a favorite among those looking for relaxation and sightseeing. Also, if you are into opera the Opera House is one of the biggest in the world.
 

 

Crimea

There is always something interesting, intriguing and mysterious about this peninsula in the Black Sea, something which can be attributive to countless acts of foreign involvement such as Greek settlements, the infamous Crimean War and the Big Three Conference of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill in Yalta, which is referred to as the’ Pearl of the Crimea’.  Once you arrive in this beautiful corner of the world, surrounded by high cliffs, vineyards and the sea, it is not hard to imagine why Russian Tsars picked this spot for their holiday homes. Taste wine in the Crimea. The region's vineyards produce good-quality wine which can be tasted locally quite cheaply. The Wine Tasting Hall in Yalta is as good a place as any. Once you go you will see why the Russian leaders used to use this area as there holiday destination. Also, hotels and services are relatively cheap for Westerners, so why not go and check it out.
 

 

Carpathian Mountains

Ski or snowboard in the Carpathian Mountains in the west. The leading resorts are Bukovel, Slavsko, Drahobrat and Tysovets. Bukovel is the only resort of international standard. Drahobrat is the highest resort in the country and has the most reliable snow.

 

 



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