Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 10 Cities in the World - 10 Kiev

This is the first in a list of cities I have visited that I consider, for various reasons, to be among my Top 1o in the world. Beating off competition from Dubrovnik, Jogyakarta, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Munich and Beirut:

Kiev is one of the grandest cities in Europe, but like most people, I was totally unaware of that until I saw it with my own eyes. From the late ninth century until the mid twelfth century, during the Golden Age, it was the capital of the Kievan Rus empire, and by the time of the Mongol invasion of 1240, it was one of the largest cities in the world.

Kiev has some of the world's greatest Christian buildings, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of St Sophia's Cathedral and the massive Pecherska Lavra monastery complex, which was founded nearly a thousand years ago, when the first cave chapels were excavated by Orthodox monks in the hills overlooking the River Dnieper. Kiev may also lay fair claim to being the city with the most beautiful women in the world, and you'll see more leggy, blonde 'supermodels' here than you'll see in a dozen Paris fashion weeks.

The best way to travel around the city is by Kiev Metro. which has the deepest underground stations in the world, and at times as you travel down the steep escalators you feel like you are on a journey to the centre of the earth.


  1. When I lived in Armenia, I heard about Kiev and its wonders. Loved to have your photos to show me a visual aspect of the city. Doesn't it have the largest underground wine cave in the world?

    Looking forward to reading about the other cities and learning a few more things about our fascinating world.

  2. I'm ready to travel... in my mind ! Right now, reading you, I decide to save some money before leaving ! ;)

    and... always beautiful photos !

  3. I may be going in the summer. we were thinking (still pretty much at brain-storming stage) kiev, then down to crimea + odessa, hop to rumania (bulgaria was an idea, but probably not) and somehow ending up in hungary, for a music festival in budapest (all squeezed in about 2 weeks.)

    does that sound like a plan or would you have any good tips?

    muchas gracias,

  4. Well, my first tip would be, as you have so little time, sleep on the night trains. You usually need to book a sleeper at least one day in advance. The Kiev-Odessa night train is a nice one. I travelled by bus from Odessa to Chisinau (Moldova) then by train to Bucharest. That is another two days travelling time. The Chisinau-Bucharest night train takes 13 hours. Then it's another 14-hour train journey to Budapest. If you have time, stop at Brasov and Sighisoara. They're beautiful.

  5. hi there, forgot to reply to your tips.
    we've actually decided to take it easier and stay in the ukraine itself for 2 weeks (slight change of plan.) we'll fly to kiev, then go down to crimea (either by train or boat, I reckon boat), end up in odessa and fly back from there on.

    that should be much more relaxed. can't wait now! :)

  6. ...and we're back and it was great. if only boiling hot (fancy catching the heat wave full blast while there) and I got the lergie too but still, bloody marvelous, like :)
    sevastopol and odesa pretty cool too. we also slept on the night train twice, as planned.
    ta for your tips again, ian.
    la ninja x


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