This morning, after unsuccessful attempt to hire an
English speaking guide, the hotel staff helped us to hire a taxi driver to take
us to various city sights on our list.
We passed by the elegant building of the National Opera
House. Opened in 1901, it has witnessed many impressive opera performances, as
well as the murder of the then prime minister during the intermission on
September 14, 1911.
|National Opera House|
Our first destination was the Golden Gates of Kiev, a
historic gateway in the 11th
century city fortress. It was one of
the three entrances to the walled city.
Currently it serves as a museum.
Gates of Kiev|
A statue of Yaroslav the Wise stands in front of the
Gates. In this sculpture Yaroslav is shown holding a model of the St. Sophia
Cathedral, which was built around the same time.
Next we went to the Sophia Square, so named after the
Saint Sophia Cathedral which stands on one side of the square.
The major feature of the cathedral is its
tall bell tower.
Sophia Catheral |
The Cathedral is one of the city's best known landmarks
and is recognized as the World Heritage site. Its 1000th anniversary
was celebrated in 2011.
Then we visited St. Michael's Monastery. It has a golden
dome and includes a cathedral. Demolished by the Soviets in the 1930s, it was
reconstructed and opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence.
|Bohdan Khmeinytsky Monument|
A monument to Bohdan Khmeinytsky stands in front of the monastery. Khmeinytsky was a leader of Ukrainian Cossacks, who announced Ukraine’s union with Russia in 1654.
Next on our list was the blue-domed, 20th
century St. Andrew Church. According to
a legend, before the settlement of Kiev, Apostle Andrew found a cross on this
site, and prophesied beginning of a city here.
Then we went to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence
Square). Located at the city center, it is a historical square. Since Ukraine’s
independence in 1991, it has been the site of student protests and hunger
strikes as well as the world-famous Orange Revolution. Such events led to the
resignation of a prime minister and an additional round of presidential
square has a glass-domed, underground shopping Mall as well as many important
monuments like those to the kobza-playing national folklore hero Cossack Mamay;
Kiev’s founding brothers Kyi, Schek and Horeb, and their sister Lybed; and
Slavic home-and-hearth-protecting goddess Berehynia.
we headed to the River Dnieper Embankment.
|River Dnieper Embankment|
From there on the top of a hill, we could see the Mother
Motherland monument. This monumental statue is a part of the Museum of the
Great Patriotic War. It displays marble plaques with carved names of about
12,000 soldiers and others who had been honored during the war with the title
of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor.
the Independence Square, the embankment also has a monument to the legendary Founders
of Kiev –
|Mother Motherland Monument|
Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid.
Nearby is the Tree of Wishes, which is frequented by newly-married
|Tree of Wishes|
By now we were tired. We headed back to our hotel for
dinner, and prepare for our 6:25 a.m. flight to Amsterdam, on the way back home
via Reykjavik and Seattle.