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Ukraine

Spotlight on Kiev

by Daniel Smajovits

The Motherland Monument weighs in at 560 tons, stands 102 meters tall and towers over Kiev. Sword and shield in hand, upon first glance from the plane or car, this monument all but confirms every stereotype you have about the city: you’re visiting a place still shrouded by the iron curtain.

Or so you think.

If there is any city in the world that is in the midst of a renaissance, it’s Ukraine’s bustling capital. Less than five years removed from the Maidan Revolution, the third such upheaval since the fall of the Soviet Union, the aura in the city is that it finally turned a corner.

First time visitors to Kiev should opt to stay near Khreschatyk Street, which like Broadway, runs through the heart of the city. The street itself is lined with hundreds of stores, restaurants and bars and even becomes a pedestrian thoroughfare on weekends, where families gather well into the evening to enjoy Kiev’s lively and family friendly nightlife.

With so much to see and experience, book a walking tour with Your Kiev Tours. Started as a passion project by Eva Vik and her three friends, the blossoming walking tour has become the #1 rated tour on Trip Advisor. Spending a morning with Eva will introduce you to all the major and even some hidden sights of the Ukrainian capital. Her engaging and fun style, which makes you feel like you’re walking with a long-lost friend, will serve as the perfect foundation for the rest of tour trip.

While Eva will introduce you to some Ukrainian food and drink, ensure to save some room for Kyiv Tasty Tours. Going beyond the traditional fare, this food tour turns the tables on both local cuisine and restaurants. From the city’s vibrant market to a hidden restaurant in the heart of Independence Square, this tour will make you long for Ukrainian food well after you’ve landed at home.

For history buffs, as one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, Kiev and its surroundings is home to a number of the continent’s most unique museums. The Museum of Corruption is appropriately located in Mezhyhirya Residence, the one-time home of President Victor Yanukovych before he fled the country following the Maidan Revolution. While closer to the city centre, The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, home to the aforementioned Motherland Monument, allows you to step into the tumultuous history of the country and life behind the Iron Curtain and more.

As no trip to Kiev will be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous nightlife and whether you’re solo, with friends or with your significant other, Kate from Sights of Kiev is your perfect guide. Beginning at 9:00 p.m, Kate’s nightlife tour goes well beyond the traditional bars to a number of exclusive – and sometimes hidden – spots known only to locals. From the best local spirits and beers with some fantastic live music in between, an evening with Kate will seem like you’re back in college with your roommate, enjoying a night on the town, making this tour the ideal way to wrap up your fantastic trip.

www.traveltoukraine.org