Transfer from the airport to the hotel
You’ll be met at Kiev’s international airport and transferred to your hotel to check in. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure.
Kiev Guided City Tour
This morning get to know the Ukrainian capital with this comprehensive city tour. The city straddles the River Dnepr, its rich cultural and architectural heritage conveniently located in a compact central district. The tour takes us to many of the city’s breathtaking churches, including St Archangel Michael’s Golden Domes Monastery, which dates from the 12th century, the 19th century Vladimir Cathedral known for its colorful murals and the iconic, thirteen-domed St Sophia Cathedral. The latter is UNESCO-listed, with some original frescoes and mosaics. The tour will also take you to the Golden Gate; an arch was built on the site in 1037 but the present day structure dates from 1982. Round off the day with a stroll along Kreshatik Street, Kiev’s main thoroughfare.
Guided Tour to Kievo-Pecherska Lavra
Visit to Andriyivsky Uzviz
Today, our first stop is Pechersk Lavra or the Monastery of the Caves. Right in the city, this is an Orthodox Christian monastery that was founded in 1051 and together with St Sophia which we visited yesterday, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. It’s still active today with an estimated hundred or so monks in residence. One of the strangest sights at the complex is that of the glass-topped coffins containing the mummified remains of former monks. Returning to the center of the city, we’ll take a walk along Andriyivsky Uzviz, a charming street famed for its cafés, art galleries and souvenir stalls. Steep and cobbled, it’s worth making it all the way to the top to visit the gold and blue St Andrew’s Church.
Pirogovo Museum of Folk Architecture
A short distance from Kiev, the Museum of Folk Architecture is a fascinating open air museum with a carefully curated collection of wooden structures and other examples of folk architecture brought here from all over the country. There are churches, windmills and even a vintage beehive as well as all manner of household items to admire. Staff members dressed in national costumes add to the atmosphere, demonstrating how these were used. Blacksmiths, potters, weavers and other artisans show off their traditional craftsmanship.
Museum of the WWII
Previously known as the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the grandly titled National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War is a must for any history buff. Located overlooking the Dnepr River, the memorial complex contains a 62 meter tall Motherland statue and also The Flame of Glory, many examples of military equipment and the Alley of the Hero Cities. It provides a sobering glimpse into the struggle and suffering endured at the hands of occupying forces.
Mezhyhirya Residence Museum
When Victor Yanukovych was Prime Minister and later President of Ukraine, he lived an extravagant lifestyle. For a time, his home was the opulent Mezhyhirya Residence, an estate which sprawls over a 350 acre site with space for a helipad, yacht pier, shooting range, equestrian club, golf course and even an ostrich farm alongside the house itself. To achieve such a lavish lifestyle on his modest salary would have been impossible, raising many questions about where the money came from. When he fled the country to Russia, the residence of the exiled leader transferred back into state ownership and is now a museum guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
Today is free for guests to do as they please but one tour we recommend is our optional excursion to Chernobyl. The accident which occurred at this power plant in 1986 is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history. Today, the reactor is encased in a concrete sarcophagus and radiation levels have fallen to a relatively safe level so long as the necessary precautions are taken. Tours access the town of Pripyat, where the school, hospital and abandoned amusement park reflect the suddenness of the evacuation and bring home in no uncertain terms what had to be left behind.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport
The tour ends today and you’ll be taken to the airport in good time for your flight home.
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