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Things to do in Kiev

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Mamajeva Sloboda
The outdoor museum of architecture and life Mamajeva Sloboda is situated not far from the city center, near one of the capital’s picturesque parks. It is an authentic cultural complex that reproduces Cossack settlement of 17th – 18th century. Not only original architectural buildings of Cossack age, but also inimitable atmosphere and spirit of that time were recreated there. The culture and entertainment complex Mamajeva Sloboda is situated in the historical place – at the source of the Lybid River. These lands once belonged to the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral and was occupied by monastery apiary with farm and pond. Later, gardens were planted and a park was laid out in this area, but the ethnic saksen with neat Ukrainian huts under golden straw roofs didn’t appear there until 2009. The museum got its name in honour of the legendary Cossack Mamai – one of the Ukrainian Cossack folklore’s most popular characters, whose image could be found next to the icons in almost every house at Cossack times.
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Kyiv Fortress
The Kyiv Fortress is one of the most important and interesting military monuments in the Ukrainian capital, well-known far beyond the country’s borders. It is the largest earthen fortress in Europe and the second-largest earthen fortress in the world. The museum exhibitions housed there and the fortification complex itself are among the most visited places of interest in Kyiv – every year it welcomes about one hundred thousand tourists. The Kyiv Fortress, also known as Nova Pechersk Fortress, was built on a site of Old Pechersk Fortress, walled around the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. It was erected by the order of Emperor Peter the Great in the first half of the 18th century. It contained four main fortifications, as well as dozens of defensive areas such as towers, walls, underground passages, powder warehouses, arsenals, barracks, and even the castle prison. Then the Kyiv Fortress featured the so-called hand-made tsunamis for city defence from the riverside. It was composed of two dams and two large pits, which could be filled with water within hours to defeat the enemy fleet with a powerful wave.
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Dendropark Oleksandriya
Stretching over the western outskirts of Bila Tserkva, not far from Kyiv, the Dendropark Oleksandriya is considered to be one of the most beautiful and charming landscape parks in the country. Created by the best European architects and gardeners, it is a vivid monument of landscape art of the 18th-19th centuries. Oleksandriya occupies a territory of 200 hectares and is, therefore, the largest landscape park in Ukraine and one of the largest ones in Eastern Europe. It is always full of guests, who are attracted by special atmosphere and an opportunity to escape the urban hustle and bustle in splendid natural surroundings. The landscape park was named after Aleksandra von Engelhardt, the own niece of the Prince Grigory Potyomkin and the lady-in-waiting of Catherine the Great, who received the mansion in Bila Tserkva as a present from her husband, crown hetman of Poland Ksawery Branicki. Being amazed by luxurious parks in European capitals, she decided to create an as beautiful and elegant landscape park in her residence. However, on the contrary to prim park complexes of the Old World with stiffly cut trees and ideally straight lanes, the countess wanted to make the landscape of her park as close to natural as possible. She didn’t strive to change local nature, rather to bring some order in it, highlighting its beauty and richness.
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NSC Olimpiyskiy
Located in the very heart of Kyiv, the National Sports Complex "Olimpiyskiy" is the main arena of Ukraine and one of the biggest stadia in Europe. After hosting the final match, in particular, and Euro-2012, in general, the renovated venue became one of the most emblematic sights of the Ukrainian capital. Currently, the multifaceted arena holds both top football and athletic competitions, as well as conferences, exhibitions and concerts. Not only sports fans, but those who are interested in contemporary architecture may enjoy a visit to the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv. Its history dates back to 1923 when the Red Stadium Trotsky was opened to the public. It was a simple venue intended for hosting football matches. Shortly, the arena was remodelled: athletic tracks, showers, lockers, etc. were built. The first large-scale renovation of the stadium was scheduled in the middle of 1930s when Kyiv had become the official capital of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine. The 50.000-seater stadium in accordance with all requirements was planned then. The refurbished sports arena was due to be opened on June 22, 1941, however, its renovation was postponed for 5 years because of an outburst of the II World War.
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Park Kyivan Rus'
Spread out in Kyiv’s picturesque surroundings, the Culture and History Center ‘Park Kyivan Rus’ is a unique project in its nature and scale that has no analogues in Ukraine and even in Europe. It recreates architectural appearance and atmosphere of princely Kyiv with amazing accuracy, taking visitors on a time travel to the Middle Ages and bringing them in the very heart of one of the most influential states in Eastern Europe – the Old Rus. It was decided to create the park exactly in this place for the reason that it is a historically important territory not far from the capital. It is mentioned in antique chronicles and its landscape is very close to the relief and vegetation of the Old Kyiv. The creators of the Culture and History Center brilliantly recreate the ensemble of the Kyiv stronghold – the historical core of the ancient city – as it looked under the rule of the Prince Vladimir the Great. It is from Kyiv kremlin (another name for the medieval stronghold) that the origin and development of Kyiv and the Old Rus started. Later it became the cradle of Slavic civilization.
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Bessarabian Market
The Bessarabian Market, or just Bessarabka, as it is usually referred to by Kyiv residents, is the central and the most famous covered market of Ukraine's capital that is reckoned among the oldest in the country. It's an unusual building in Ukrainian art nouveau style was built 100 years ago on the square adjoined to the Kyiv main street and is still one of the capital's most interesting constructions. In the second half of the 19th century, the land, where the market stands today, was unsightly city outskirts. But soon, the square was founded and numerous merchants from all over the world started to come here. In the early 20th century, the adjoined to the square streets, particularly Khreshchatyk, were rapidly lined up with buildings obtaining European elegant look, and the vicinity of the absurd chaotic marketplace seemed more and more inappropriate. One of the prominent Kyiv residents of that time called the Bessarabian Market 'a purulent blister on the tip of the beautiful classic nose.' It was then that the city authorities decided to create a civilized covered market in this place. However, due to lack of money (construction demanded a fantastic sum for those times), idea's implementation was postponed.
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Museum of Toys
The Kyiv Toy Museum is a truly unique place, interesting for both, children and adults. For the first ones it is an opportunity to plunge into the fairy world, where hundreds of different heroes live, for the latter ones - a chance to feel nagging nostalgia, and at the same time to learn many interesting facts about the history of toys as an integral part of the country's culture. The Toy Museum, opened in 2005, is one of the youngest in the capital. Nevertheless, its impressive collection numbering over 10 thousand exhibits exists over 80 years! It is based on the items that were gathered for the toy exhibition, which took place back in 1936. Today, the museum's exposition visually demonstrates the history of national toy production and is the vivid evidence that Ukraine rightly occupied the second place among the Soviet republics in volumes and quality of manufactured children toys. Museum shelves are 'inhabited' by hundreds of different dolls and teddy animals, technical and construction toys, as well as a unique collection of board, printed games. Besides commercial items, museum funds include exclusive author's works by soviet puppet-makers and authentic collection of Ukrainian folk toys.
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Oleg Antonov State Aviation Museum
Situated next to Zhulyany Airport (Kyiv), the Aviation Museum is one of the largest museums in the capital and is reckoned among the largest historical and technical museums of Ukraine. At its opening in 2003, museum’s exposition numbered thirty aircraft, and now more than seventy exhibits – helicopters, planes, as well as samples of aircraft armoury, unmanned aircraft and engines – can be seen on its territory of almost 20 hectares. Presented machines include both widespread and rare ones. There are also exhibits that exist only in a single copy, such as Soviet pilot plane with airborne early-warning radar An-71. In addition, you can see the first Soviet airliner and the famous MiG-25, which set an absolute world record for flight altitude – 37 km. Museum’s exhibits are arranged according to topics, design offices, and their role in history. The Kyiv Aviation Museum presents products of almost all the leading aviation design offices of the Soviet period – Tupolev, Yakovlev, Ilyushin, Antonov, Sukhoi, Mikoyan-Gurevich, Kamov, Mil, Beriev. Some collections of planes and helicopters are reckoned among the most complete in the world at that. Exclusive items include the first prototype Il-86, the first Il-18 and Tu-104 of mass production, preseries Tu-134, as well as Tu-22M0 from the test batch.
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Pharmacy Museum On Podil
The narrow streets of the ancient Podol shelter one of the most unusual and interesting museums of Ukraine's capital, the Pharmacy Museum, whose unique exposition is devoted to the history of the pharmacy. It is located in the building where the German pharmacist Johann Heiter opened Kyiv's first private drugstore in 1728. After Heiter's death, his son-in-law Georg Bunge inherited the pharmacy business and made the drugstore very popular among Kyiv's residents. It could brag about one of the largest assortments of drugs in the city - about a thousand names. All drugs that were sold here (ointments, pills, mixtures) were made in the pharmacy's laboratory only from natural components: healing herbs, minerals, shells, animal blood and the poison of insects and reptiles. In addition, the Bunge's drugstore, as it was nicknamed by the Kyiv locals, was intended for the very broad sections of the public: it had two sections and respectively to separate drug registries, for poor and wealthy townspeople. Of course, the structure and quality of the drugs were different. Few centuries ago pharmacies sold not only drugs, but also creams, powder, perfumes, tooth powder, and even ink, cans and tubes, which are now the unique exhibits of the Kyiv Pharmacy Museum.
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Cathedral of St. Sophia
The Cathedral of St. Sophia, where the princes of Kyiv were crowned in the years of Kyiv's grandeur, has outstanding mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 11th century. Overlooking the old section of Kyiv, Podol, stands the Ukrainian Baroque church of St. Andrew, much beloved by Ukrainians.
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Khreshchatik street
The modern center with surviving parts of the old city are on the hilly west, or right bank, of the Dnipro River. The main street, Khreshchatik, runs between two steep hills. Parallel about half a kilometer west, is vulytsya Volodymyrska, the main street of the Old Kyiv area (Staryj Kyiv).
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National Opera & Ballet Theater of Ukraine
The history of the National Opera of Ukraine was initiated in 1867, when in Kiev, one of the major administrative centers of the then Russian Empire, after a long petition the government opened a permanent opera troupe. There was a first outside the capitals - Petersburg and Moscow - a musical theater.