Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sightseeing in Kyiv, Ukraine: May 2, 2013

Roof detail at St. Sofia's Cathedral

Another day off; another day exploring Kiev.  We visited the Chernobyl Museum--worth the time and the cost of the English headset.  The Chernobyl disaster occurred on August 26, 1986.  I remember the event, but before visiting the museum I knew very little of the wide-spread devastation and the villages that no longer exist.

The next part of our exploration had a much lighter theme.  Andrew's Descent is a stretch of cafes, street sellers, and street performers.  Kitsch for sale includes everything from soviet artifacts to Ukrainian arts and crafts.

We walked up the street past St. Andrew's Church to St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral originally built in the 12th century (the version shown below was built in 2000).  Climbing up the bell tower, we discovered how really close our apartment is to the top of this hill.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral

St. Sofia's Cathedral and bell tower are located across from St. Michael.  St. Sofia was built in 1037 and is the oldest church in Kiev.  It is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.  The interior of the 13-domed cathedral is covered in fabulous frescos and mosaics many of which date back to its founding.  

St. Sofia's Cathedral

St Sofia's had several rooms of art exhibitions.  One of the most eye catching was a mosaic of 15,000 hand-painted eggs, called pysanka, to create the image of the Virgin.

Kiev is a vibrant city and one of the main thoroughfares (Kreschatyk),  closed to traffic on weekends and holidays, is a great place to observe.  There are mimes, street musicians, break dancers, beautiful people, political protests.

And, you can even have your photo taken with fancy pigeons or this little pig.

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