Former Hotel Prague by Tanya K
In another Toronto Sister Cities article, we’ll move our attention far away from Canada to Eastern Europe. We’ll focus on Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Toronto’s friendship link with Kiev was established almost twenty years ago but is still kept alive by numerous members of the Ukrainian community in Toronto.
Kiev is a magnificent city of about three million inhabitants, located on the Dnipro River. Its ancient history stretches back to the fifth century, and the city itself was named by one of its four legendary founders. Presently, visitors will find the mixture of old and new so typical for this part of the world. You will meet old ladies selling vegetables on the market and wearing traditional scarves, as well as the youth of the city dancing the night away in one of the numerous stylish bars on the main street, Khreshchatik. The style of the architecture stretches from unique churches and monasteries reminiscent of a glorious past through monstrous Stalinist buildings to modern-day high-rise office buildings. All the travellers who have seen the city recently unanimously claim that Kiev is undergoing huge changes and that it may be worth a return in a few years’ time to watch the transformation process.
Pecherska Lavra Monastery
Whatever the purpose of your visit to Kiev may be, make sure to spare at least a couple of hours for sightseeing. You would regret missing out on some of the art and architectural masterpieces of worldwide relevance. The most famous site of the city is certainly the St. Sophia Cathedral, a scenic temple full of mosaics, dating back to the 11th century, where princes of Kiev used to be crowned. It even earned international recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site together with the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves). The monastery includes two ancient cathedrals on its ground and offers visitors an opportunity to go for a short walk inside its famous catacombs. If you get tired of religious architecture, take your time to find the Golden Gate of Kiev, one of the oldest surviving Ukrainian historical monuments, located at the corner of Volodymyrska and Velyka Pidvalna Streets.
The last tip for potential travellers concerns Ukrainian cuisine. Dining in restaurants is generally not very expensive, so you may spend a lot of quality time eating in Kiev. Don’t forget to try tasting the most popular Ukrainian meal, a thick soup prepared with cabbage, meat, mushrooms, and beans or many other combinations depending on the recipe called borsch. It’s very likely that after ordering it once, you’ll want to have it almost every day of your trip!