Kyiv, Ukraine will always hold a special place in my heart, and going through the photos made me want to go back again! It was the first place I visited when I went to Europe, and I got to go back with some friends six months after my first visit. A quick fun fact: Kiev is the Russian spelling, Kyiv is the Ukrainian spelling. Ukraine officially asked the media and other governments to recognize the Ukrainian spelling, but it has been ignored often because news sites worry their readers won’t recognize the spelling. I encourage you to use the Ukrainian spelling going forward to recognize the independence of Ukraine from Russia.
Kyiv is a city where anything can happen, and I’m excited for the future of Ukraine and hope to go back to see more of the country someday. This post contains photos from both my summer and spring trip to Kyiv. I went alone the first time, but met a couple girls in my hostel that I hung out with who you will see in a few photos. Here are some photo mosaics highlighting some of my favorite things about Kyiv!
One thing that really struck me was the beauty of the churches. These are some of my favorites:
It was also interesting to see different phases of construction on some buildings, like this church. This is St. Andrew’s church in summer and then in spring.
Aside from being the first place I visited, I think part of the reason Kyiv stands out to me is that so many of the things I did there were unlike anything I did while abroad. The city and country are changing rapidly as Ukraine distances itself from Russia and moves towards becoming a part of the EU. Here are some photos from my visit to the ousted-President Yanukovytch’s estate called the “Palace of Corruption”, the “Arc of Friendship” between Russia and Ukraine, the House with Chimeras, a Ukrainian bathhouse where we were beaten with leafy branches, the zipline across the Dnipro river, seeing mummified monks beneath the churches, failing to escape from an escape room, the mind-bogglingly enormous Mother Motherland statue, and seeing all of the sights around the main square- the center of the revolution in 2014.
The sights were incredible, but so were the people. The strangers were friendly, and I felt really welcomed at my hostel. Many people have asked me if Ukraine is scary or dangerous, and my answer is always no. I didn’t worry about my safety in Kyiv more than I did in any other city. Be aware of your surroundings, stay in groups, and be wary after dark just like anywhere else and you should have no problems. Kyiv is beautiful, interesting, fun, and budget friendly if you’re willing to go off the beaten path and are up for an adventure. Pay Kyiv a visit, and make sure you check out the deepest subway in the world, the “Palace of Corruption”, the Pechersk-Lavra, make a trip up to Chernobyl, and go to a bathhouse!
Photos by Sandra Walker or helpful strangers. Kyiv, Ukraine Aug 2015 and April 2016.