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Difference between revisions of "Kiev"

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Kiev's central railway station, Kyiv-Passazhyrskyi (Київ-Пасажирський), is located close to city centre. The metro station "Vokzalna" (метро "Вокзальна") links to the railway station.  
 
Kiev's central railway station, Kyiv-Passazhyrskyi (Київ-Пасажирський), is located close to city centre. The metro station "Vokzalna" (метро "Вокзальна") links to the railway station.  
  
It has daily trains to all major cities and towns in Ukraine. International trains to Austria, Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia.
+
It has daily trains to all major cities and towns in Ukraine. International trains to Austria, Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia.
  
 
Railway timetable in English [http://www.poezda.net/en/web]
 
Railway timetable in English [http://www.poezda.net/en/web]
  
 
Average travel time by train to some European cities:
 
Average travel time by train to some European cities:
Berlin - 24 hours, Moscow - 14 hours, Vienna - 33 hours, Warsaw - 18 hours, Bucharest - 27 hours, Chisinau - 17 hours, Krakow - 19 hours.
+
Berlin - 24 hours, Belgrade - 36 hours, Moscow - 14 hours, Vienna - 33 hours, Warsaw - 18 hours, Bucharest - 27 hours, Chisinau - 17 hours, Krakow - 19 hours.
  
 
Average traveltime by train to some Ukrainian cities:
 
Average traveltime by train to some Ukrainian cities:

Revision as of 13:54, 26 January 2010

The center of Kiev as seen from the Saint Sophia Belltower.
The Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev. First built in 1051.
National Opera House
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral

Kiev (Ukrainian: Київ - Kyiv, Russian: Киев - "Kiev") is the capital and largest city of Ukraine with - officially - over 2.7 million inhabitants (unofficially claimed number is up to 4.0 million inhabitants). The city is in north central Ukraine on the Dnipro (Dniepr) river.

Contents

Understand

Ukrainians are understandably very proud of their capital's role in establishing European civilisation in Eastern Europe.

Kiev is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, its official history dating back to the 5th century, although settlement on this location was present since much earlier. By late 9th century Kiev became the chef-lieu of the emerging state of the Eastern Slavic tribes, and between the 10th and early 13th century, it reached its golden age as the capital of the first Ukrainian state known today as Kievan Rus, (Kyivan Ruthenia, or Rus-Ukraine), which predated modern Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

In the middle of the 13th century Kievan Rus was overrun by the Mongols, and later this century Kiev became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1654 Kiev was liberated from the commonwealth by Cossack Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who then promptly signed the city over to become a protectorate of Russia.

In 1775 it was completely annexed by the Russian Empire. The city remained under Russian rule, with brief, but uncertain, periods of independence in between 1918 and 1920. During these two centuries, Kiev experienced growing Russification and Russian immigration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kiev became the capital of independent Ukraine and is now quickly learning the role of a large European capital.

According to the last census (2001) Kiev has a population of 2,600,000, although it's generally acknowledged that, in 2006, that the population is over 3 million. About 85% declare themselves as Ukrainians, 12% as Russians, there are also Armenian, Azeri, Belarusian, Jewish, Georgian, Polish, Romanian and Tatar minorities. Today, not only has the population of Kiev likely increased, but also percentage of Ukrainians declaring Ukrainian nationality, as a result of the strong nationalist movement after the October 2004 Orange Revolution. Nevertheless, even most ethnic Ukrainians in Kiev tend to use Russian more frequently than Ukrainian both in business and in everyday conversation.

According to the national census taken in 2001 about 93% of the population has secondary education, nearly 46% of them received higher education.[1]

The average summer temperature is 24°C, and in winter is -19°C.

Russian is widely spoken in Kiev, particularly in business, including shops and restaurants. The common English name for the city, "Kiev," is a transliteration from the Russian language. The transliteration of the city's name from Ukrainian is "Kyiv", and this variation is used in many English language materials in the Ukraine.

Many people in Kyiv are hospitable and will be eager to help you. However, if you're from Western Europe or North America, you may find service in restaurants and shops less attentive than you're accustomed to.

Get in

By plane

The Boryspil International Airport (KBP) [2] (Міжнародний аеропорт "Бориспіль") is about 40 minutes from the city center. The city's second airport Zhulyany (IEV) (аеропорт "Жуляни"), used mostly for domestic flights, is located 20 minutes from city center.

Ukraine has two major international airlines - Ukraine International Airlines [3] (Міжнародні Авіалінії України - Mizhnarodni Avialiniyi Ukrayiny) and Aerosvit [4] (АероСвіт). These airlines have daily flights to major European cities. Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Czech Airlines [5], Delta [6], Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Malev, Turkish Airlines [7] and other airlines have scheduled flights to Borispol airport. Semi-Budget airlines flying to Kiev include AirBaltic and Estonian Air. Budget airline Wizz Air [8] have flights to several european cities. There are occasional budget charters from Italy, and in summer, Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines runs charters to destinations including Italy and Turkey. Aerosvit and Delta are the only airlines with non-stop service to North America.

The simplest way to get to the city center is to take a marshrutka. They leave very regularly, cost 25UAH, and go to the plaza behind the main train station, from which you can easily get onto the Metro and to many places in Kiev. A taxi will cost five to ten times as much, particularly if you take one from one of the people who meet travellers off the plane with the promise of taxis.

There is a regular bus service between airport and Kiev city center (ploshcha Peremohy (площа Перемоги) and Central Railway station (bus schedule [9]). Buses depart frequently and the cost is approximately four dollars. On average it takes 60-70 minutes to get to city center by bus.

Boryspil Departure Advisory

During Spring of 2008, the Passport Control and Security checkpoints for Terminal B (international) departures have been rearranged. In the present configuration, during busy travel times, there can be very large queues waiting to go through security. Travelers flying to the United States may be required to go through a second security checkpoint. Going through check-in queue, passport control queue, and security queue may be as fast as 30 minutes. Check-in counters open two hours before the scheduled departure time and going from the city to the airport may take anything between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on city traffic.

It can also take a lot of time when you arrive. Passport control upon arrival can take more than an hour if there are several flights arriving around the same time. Plan your first day schedule accordingly. Standing in line is not the norm for Ukrainians, so learn to line hop if you want to get though passport control quickly.

By train

The Central Railway Station.

Kiev's central railway station, Kyiv-Passazhyrskyi (Київ-Пасажирський), is located close to city centre. The metro station "Vokzalna" (метро "Вокзальна") links to the railway station.

It has daily trains to all major cities and towns in Ukraine. International trains to Austria, Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia.

Railway timetable in English [10]

Average travel time by train to some European cities: Berlin - 24 hours, Belgrade - 36 hours, Moscow - 14 hours, Vienna - 33 hours, Warsaw - 18 hours, Bucharest - 27 hours, Chisinau - 17 hours, Krakow - 19 hours.

Average traveltime by train to some Ukrainian cities: Lviv - 10 hours, Kharkiv - 8 hours, Simferopol - 18 hours. From Lviv there is also an express-train that leaves 6.35 in the morning and arrives in Kiev at 13:00.

Trains can be booked in advance to Kiev from European cities such as Krakow from bahn.de [11] (Update: DB were unable to book trainjourneys into Ukraine from Krakow, as of Mar 09)

By car

The main route into Ukraine from the West is via Poland - the only 24 hour customs post is in Lvivska Oblast at a place called Krakovets , which as a 'place' is essentially just the customs post - and it's not marked on most maps either. The nearest significant town on the Polish side is Przemysl, and it's straightforward to find by following route # 4 (which passes through Przemysl). When you arrive, the road is fairly narrow (no motorway/autobahn this) with a queue of trucks and vans parked to the right of the road. Don't park behind the goods vehicles, slip up the side of them and then feed into the customs area when the guy flags you forward (for courteous Europeans, you're not jumping the queue - commercial traffic goes through a different process). If you're in an EU registered car then make for the EU-passports, passport control section. Thence to Ukrainian passport control and then Ukrainian customs and then you're through. It used to be a nightmare, with apocryphal tales of 5-6+ hours at the border, but the Ukrainians have made great advances in efficiency.

Once through, just follow the main road towards Lviv (Львів) on the E40 - this is the route right across Ukraine to Kiev (and thence on to the East). Stick to this - the main towns on the way are Lviv, Rivne (Рівне), Zhytomyr (Житомир).Other than that, take care on the road, which although the main East/West highway, and the main road route into the EU, still remains in a miserable condition.

By bus

International buses stop at the central station. There are buses coming in from Germany

By boat

It is possible to organize trips down the Dnipro to the Black Sea in the summer months. A travel agency in Ukraine can book these trips for you.

Get around

Kiev can seem quite foreign to the western tourist, as all signage is in Cyrillic script. Kiev is still largely a city where very few people know English, and the likelihood of encountering an English speaker is low - but not impossible. For the non-Russian or Ukrainian speaker, it's quite possible to get around easily, and it is a very interesting city to explore. And it never hurts to speak English - often, a shop assistant will ask customers if they can speak English and act as a translator.

It is advisable, however, to pick up a pocket Russian or Ukrainian phrasebook, and learn the Cyrillic alphabet, which can be fun and is easy to learn. Spend some time practising key words and phrases (e.g. 'hello', 'thank-you' and 'bill please'). Even what you regard as a feeble attempt at Ukrainian or Russian will amuse most people to the point where they are comfortable engaging in pantomime or trying out the little bit of English they know.

It is impolite to chat loudly (e.g., in Metro), point, and wave one's hands.

Navigating

Pick up a "Kyiv Tour Guide" map book (Geosvit books - around US$3-4), which is available at a number of kiosks or at the central post office. Basic tourist maps are available at the baggage carousel at Boryspil Airport. If you are spending much time in Kiev, get the matching Ukrainian version of your map, many locals have as much trouble with the version that is transliterated to latin characters as you have with the version in the cyrillic characters. When asking for directions or setting out in a taxi, it helps to locate the place you want on the English map and then point out the same spot on the Ukrainian version.

By bus

There are two types of city-run buses available: bus (автобус) and trolleybus (троллейбус). These can be hailed from assigned stops, which are marked by a sign on an telegraph pole. These are often very crowded during peak hours, but then the norm is to push your way in. Once on board, you need to validate your ticket by punching a hole in it. If you can't get near the hole puncher, ask someone to validate your ticket for you. Cost for both is currently 1.50 UAH and tickets are available from kiosks throughout the city.

You can also comfortably travel short distances on route taxis or mini-vans called "Marshrutky" (Маршрутки). These are private run vehicles that travel assigned routes, which are listed on the front of the bus. You can hail a Marshrutka at the assigned bus stops. When you board, you pay the driver directly, or, if you're not near the driver, pass the money to the nearest passenger who will pass it to the driver. Your change will be returned in reverse order. When you are reaching your destination, simply yell out to the driver to stop (some 100 meters in advance to the bus stop you need). If you overshoot (mini-vans are quite material bodies having inertia, and not unlikely to move by central or left side of the road), you get a nice walk and a driver gets a little extra stress a day. The fare ranges from 1.50 UAH to 2.50 UAH.

Marshruka routes can be hard to figure out, but they have a list of stops on the window and a Metro logo for the metro stops. The best way to figure out where these go is to ask some of the locals. Also, certain city maps feature the routes of the Marshrutky (better re-check, especially in case of last-year guide and time shortage). The one downside to using Marshutka's however is that they tend to be a little overpacked (understatement) and very hot.

By taxi

There are two types of taxi in Kiev - official company taxis, and 'gypsy' cabs.

As with many former Soviet cities, it's perfectly acceptable for any car to stop and pick you up if you hail a cab. An unmarked vehicle is a 'gypsy' cab. To hail a ride, simply stand with your arm out, palm down. When a car pulls over, negotiate a fare - as a rule of thumb, rides within the downtown are should not cost more than 15 UAH and moving across the city might be anywhere from 30 to 50 UAH (also depends on car model, day time, weather and traffic conditions, whether both of you need to get to at least same part of the city so choose proper street side, and to some degree on your gender and numbers -- generally, a few girls would find it way more easy to get by than several slightly drunk men; it's also safe enough compared to, e.g., New York {where one would be wise to make use of the 24hr subway} for a single girl at 3AM to use this kind of transport when taxi's not available although don't count on this 100%).

Official company taxis can be hailed, or booked over the phone. There is usually someone who speaks English on the other end of the phone, simply ask 'pa angliskiy pazhalsta' (or, probably, "English please"). The operator will give you a quote, which will save you from the sometimes intimidating process of negotiating on the street.

However, fares do vary widely. On the same route, a local paid UAH15 and the driver quoted this author UAH60 and settled for UAH30. YMMV too.

By metro

The Metro (Ukrainian: Метро) is a very fast subway system, and is easy to navigate once you realize that all three metro lines (red, blue and green) go through city centre. In total there are 47 metro stations in Kiev as of May, 2009.

When you enter the Metro, you must purchase a token to travel from the cashdesk, Kasa (Ukrainian: каса). One token is valid for one trip, no matter how far you go. A token is 1.70 UAH (17 eurocents/ 22 cents as of May, 2009) and one needs to slip the token into the turnstyles to enter. (Just a note of caution, make sure you walk through the correct side of the turn style or you will be hit with a metal gate that will slam shut.) You can also obtain a monthly ticket with a magnet tape, which is only available for sale during the first week of the calendar month or the third week for half the price (actually not strictly so).

At platform level, all signage is in Cyrillic [12], so it's best to correlate the Cyrillic station names on the wall to the transliterated names on your map book. Once inside the train, the metro route maps over central windows have names transliterated into latin letters, and there is a station announcement as the metro approaches each station as well as TV screens in all carraiges that between stations show adverts, but flag up the impending station as it approaches it, and the next staion as it departs. Unfortunately not all trains are equipped with the TV screens.

Metro stations where you can interchange have two different names - one for each line. If you're changing lines, the other station can be reached by an overpass in the centre or one of the ends of the platform.

Trains run every 30 sec. to 2:30 minutes in business hours and from 10 to 15 minutes from 11PM till 1PM at the last station. Even so, they are often very crowded. And be prepared to push, as this may be the only way you get on the train, during peak hours.

It's interesting to note that the Kiev metro has some of the deepest stations in the world. The Arsenal'na station (Ukrainian: Арсенальна) station is the deepest metro station in the world, at 107 meters deep, and the Universytet station (Ukrainian: Університет) has one of the longest escalators in the world (87 meters long).

If you enable "Cell Info Display" on your GSM phone, it will show you the name of the station (in transliterated Latin characters... (for UMC and Kyivstar) just like your map) when you are underground in the vicinity of a station. And your mobile/cell/handy should work on most of the network, including between stations.

By other

Other forms of public transport in Kiev include:

  • Tram: Streetcars (Трамвай) run in a number of areas, including Podil and around the circus off Taras Ševčenko boulevard.
  • Funicular: A scenic way to get from the upper city down to Podil is to catch the funicular from Mykhailvs’ka Ploscha to Poshtova Ploscha in Podil. You can enjoy views of the Dnipro and left bank on the way down. The cost is 50 kopecks. (Update September 2009: the funicular appears to be closed for maintenance, unsure for how long. Update September 28, 2009 - Funicular was running today.)

See

The Main square
'Mother' Motherland statue in Kiev stands in the centre of the Musuem of the Great Patriotic War.
  • Chernobyl' Museum (музей Чорнобиль) - A fascinating museum, but no signage in English. It's recommended to arrange in advance for an English-speaking guide, otherwise it's hard to get the most out of the museum. Metro: Kontraktova Plošča.
  • Hreschatik (Хрещатик) Street - The main drag of the city centre. It is closed to traffic on weekends and full of entertainers and people wandering around. A big happy crowd and very conducive to peoplewatching. Metro: Majdan Nezaležnosti or Hreščatik.
  • Pecherska Lavra (Печерська лавра) - The cave monastery was founded in the 11th century by St Antoniy. The caves were dug out by priests who lived there as hermits. Nowadays, the caves are venerated by the faithful and tourists who visit the mummified monks, and pilgrims are still allowed access to the underground church there.

There are two parts to the modern complex: the upper lavra, owned by the state and consisting of a number of museums (entry fee); and the lower lavra, owned by the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriach) and consisting of the caves (you'll need 1 UAH to buy a candle to enter). Do not miss the display of micro-miniatures in the upper lavra. It sounds lame, but it it fascinating.

You can enter the caves in the lower part if you dress correctly (women MUST cover their hair and wear skirts, no shorts. Expensive scarves are for sale there). Women can only just get away with pants in the winter. Metro: Arsenal'na

  • Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life (Музей народної архітектури та побуту - Muzey narodnoyi arkhitetury ta pobutu) - 6 restored rural Ukranian villiages. English-speaking (sort of) guides with expertise on the whole site are available and well worth-it. Ukrainians come on sunny days to relax in the grass. Bus #156 from Respubliksy Stadion Metro station goes there for US$0.30 (pay driver).
  • St Sophia's Cathedral (Собор Святої Софії - Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi)- The oldest remaining church in Kiev. Parts of Sofivskiy date from the 11th century, and is the site of the Virgin Orans mosaic. The gatehouse and other restorations were completed in the 17th century. Outside the gates, there is a statue commemorating Bogdan Hmelnitski, who liberated Kiev in the 17th century... then gave the city to the Russian Empire. Metro: Zoloti Vorota
  • Motherland Statue and War memorials - Kiev was pretty much destroyed during the invasion in WWII. The memorial near the motherland statue is pretty gripping. Lots of examples of classic Soviet-era memorial statuary as well as some amazing exhibits of military hardware. The Museum to the Great Patriotic War (WWII) located in the base of the statue is a must-see for visitors interested in the impact the German invasion had on the Soviet Union. Well worth the visit even if you don't speak or read any Russian (several English language tours are provided daily). It's well curated and full of artifacts (including weapons, battle maps, hundreds of original photographs, and a moving installation at the end of the exhibit symbolizing the great losses suffered). There is also a small museum of the Afghan conflict nearby. Try to enter coming from the top part of the Pecherska Lavra. This way you get submerged with old soviet music and dark statues. Metro: Pečerska, Arsenalna
  • Babiy Yar - a ravine which was the site of massacres of Jews, Gypsies, and other civilians by the Nazis and their puppets during World War II. Approximately 60,000 civilians were executed at this site during the war (over 34,000 Jews in the first two days alone). Now a memorial to "Soviet citizens" murdered by the Germans, the park can be reached via the metro.
  • Zoloti Vorota (Золоті ворота) - This is 1982 reconstruction of the Golden Gates of Kiev. Metro: Zoloti Vorota
  • Maydan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності) - Independence Square, located on Khreschatyk Street. Maidan is known throughout the world as the place where supporters of Yuschenko and the Orange Revolution camped for weeks on end in October 2004. This is a central meeting place in Kiev. Metro: Maydan Nezalezhnosti or Kreschatik
  • Kiev TV Tower (Телевезійна вежа - Televezijna vezha) is the tallest lattice tower in the world. It is not accessible for tourists.
  • Andriyivskiy Uzviz (Андріївський узвіз) or Andrew's Descent - At the top of this quaint cobblestone street is St Andrew's Church. Andrew's Descent starts here and winds down to Kontraktova Ploscha in Podil. The street is lined with souvenir sellers, restaurants, galleries and museums. Touristy but retains charm.
  • One Street Museum (Музей однієї вулиці - Muzej odniei vulitsi). (Andriyivskij uzviz (Андріївський узвіз), 2-B Kyiv.) The collection of the One Street Museum is dedicated to the history of the Andriyivskyi uzviz (Andrew's Descent) and its famous residents. Open daily from 12 noon to 6PM (closed Mondays) Web-site of the One Street Museum [13]
  • Mariyinskiy Palace (Мариїнський Палац) and Mariyinsky park where Lovers' bridge [14] is situated.
  • Kiev Startpagina [15] gives a quick overview of all attractions.
  • State Aviation Museum - located inside the old Zhulyany Airport [16] with many impressive Soviet civil and military aircraft on display, including an An-2, Tu-104, Il-62, Il-76 and an Il-86. The museum is opposite to the airport terminal, which is an industrial zone. Take Trolleybus #9 from the train station or #22 from Šuljavska (Шулявська) metro station, both will take you only to the terminal. From there, take a taxi, or exit the terminal complex and walk clockwise along the perimeter of the airport (30-40 minutes). You should see an ATM machine and a trolleybus depot along the way (remember your way back too as the roads tend to be converging towards the museum while diverging on the way back!). Walking after dark is not advisable as the area is poorly lit and stray dogs are present. Admission: 12UAH.
  • German Military graveyard- located on the road to Odessa, about 20 km away from kiev, next to the Kiev cemetetary. A proof for the peoples connecting works of the german "Kriegsgräberfürsorge". About 10000 german soldiers are burried here, after the battles around Kiev in 1941 and 1944.AS hamburg
  • Great Gate of Kiev - desribed by Mr. Mussorgski in "Pictures of an Exhibition", rebuild in the eighties, quite a nice spot to visit and learn about the town walls. some nice buildings are also around as well as luxury cars parking on the side walks.
  • Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Cave Monastery), (Metro station Arsenal'na is a couple blocks away from the main entrance. You can take a trolley from the subway station - 2 stops). One of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ukraine and on the teritory of the former Soviet Union. Only the most important monasteries were designated as Lavras; there were only 4, of which Cave Monastery is the oldest. It was founded in 1077.

Do

Full day in Kiev:

  • Visit the Perchersk Lavra. Start at the Lower Lavra, visiting the caves before the crowds descend for the day. There are two caves complexes, each housing the mummified remains of monks, as well as religous icons and other relics. Both caves are accessed through churches, with the shorter caves entrance at the end of a boardwalk.

While it is free to enter the caves, you must purchase a taper candle in order to light your way. The caves are not recommended for the claustrophobic or overly tall. Once you're in there, it's hard, even impossible to turn around and go back out - you have to keep going.

For the second half of the day, visit the museums and churches in the Upper Lavra. English speaking guides - both official and unofficial - are available to show you around the sights.

Metro: Percherska

  • Defence of the Motherland monument and war museum.
  • Catch the metro to Hidropark island in the Dnipro river. Kiev is endowed with natural city beaches that line the Dnipro. Many a summer day can be spent in the parks and on the beaches of the islands, where you can buy shashlyk from stalls, play beach volleyball, swim in the river or in the pools on the island, or just soak up the sun.

Metro: Hidropark

  • Stroll around Podil. Start at St Michael's Monastery in the Upper Town. Catch the funicular down to Poshtova Ploscha, and wander around the grid-like streets of Podil. The area was the merchant's quarter, and was completely rebuilt in the 19th century after fires destroyed the area. It was mainly untouched during WWII and is emerging as a hip restaurant district. Finish your stroll by walking up Andreiivsky Uzviz.

Half day in Kiev:

  • Spend some time viewing the impressive Soviet metro system. The red line features impressive architecture, similar to that seen in the Moscow and Saint Petersburg metro systems. The metro stations were constructed from former mass bomb shelters, and feature some of the deepest stations in the world.
  • If you're in Kiev on the weekend, go and people watch on Kreshchatyk. Start at Lva Tolstogo Square and head underground. Walk through the Metrograd shopping center, always sticking to your left. Head above-ground at Taras Shevchenko Boulevard (бульвар Тараса Шевченка), from where the council shuts down Kreshchatyk on the weekends. Walking up the street to Maidan, you will be treated to the sight of numerous street performers and animal handlers, or you can simply enjoy seeing families out and about for a weekend stroll.
  • Go to a service at an Orthodox Church. The best one to visit is St Volodomyr's on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard. Services are long and there are no seats, however it's perfectly acceptable to come and go as you please. Women must cover their heads before entering the church. Metro: Universityet
  • Fun Things, 5 Pushkinskaya str., 2nd floor, apt. 10, 04108, Kiev, +380938133958, [17]. 3. AK47 ASSAULT RIFLE SHOOTING contact Kiev lodging Hostel ask for Robert

Learn

  • National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Національний університет «Києво-Могилянська академія» - Natsionalnyi universytet "Kyyevo-Mohylians'ka akademiya") Is the leading university in the Ukraine with regards to political related fields. The university's professors offered support to Yuschenko and various international media outlets during the Orange Revolution that resulted in the election of Viktor Yuschenko in late 2004. [18] (English)
  • Kyiv Shevchenko University (Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка - Kyivsky natsionalny universytet imeni Tarasa Shechenka) The university is the largest and one of the more important universities. Its enrollment is over 30,000 [19] (English)

There are a number of private schools where you can learn Ukrainian or Russian, either part-time or full time [20]. There are also experienced teachers in the city - check out resources such as Kyiv In Your Pocket, The Kyiv Post [21], and What's On Weekly for details of schools and teachers.

Work

Foreigners can sometimes find work teaching their native language (English, Swedish, whatever). Pay is usually decent enough to live on in Kiev if you get enough pupils and live by local standards.

As is the nature in a global economy, professionals with skills in demand, e.g. accountants and IT professionals, can be employed with global firms in Kiev, without knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian languages.

Getting a working permit (visa) is a necessity for foreigners if they are going to be employed by any legal entity (Exceptions apply only for international institutions and representative offices of foreign companies). The working permit is significantly different from the "classical" form as it is more of a hiring permit. The potential employer has to apply with the labour administration for hiring an non-resident employee. With the application a complete cv as well as documents showing an accredited education have to be submitted.

Buy

Go to Andriyivskyy Descent (Andriyivskyi Uzviz) for a nice collection of things. They sell traditional thing, old communistic goods (real good but also fake mass-produced), folkloric things, ... Every Sunday there's a market. The rest of the week there are a few people selling things, but it's usally not worth to go.

Money

The unit of currency is the Hryvnia (UAH) (гривня) [pronounced: Hryvnia (in Ukrainian), Grivna (in Russian)] and has currently fallen to about 8 UAH to the US Dollar and 12 UAH to the Euro. There are many exchanges that will convert USD or Euro to UAH, just look for signs with exchange rates posted on just about any block. Exchange rates vary a lot and deteriorate fast when you get into less competitive places or outside of standard business hours. You should also make sure to get a receipt when buying UAH. Due to the global economic slow down, US Dollars are in high demand and you would save yourself a considerable amount of money (and headaches) by withdrawing your UAH from an ATM. Do not change money at the airport unless you have to, since rates there are not as good as in the city center.

It is often expected that one carries small change in Kiev. Most retail establishments will scowl at you if you try to pay for a UAH4 purchase with a UAH20 note. They generally keep very little change on hand and will always ask if you have the right amount of kopeks. The EU is currently investigating whether Ukraine has a kopek deficiency. Keep small change to use the restrooms!

All major credit cards and debit cards can be used any ATM throughout Ukraine. You can withdraw UAH but in some cases also US dollars. Be sure to contact your credit card company prior to your visit or they will freeze your card! As a backup, it is possible to get dollars from most banks using a cash advance from a Visa or Mastercard. There is a small service charge (3%) to do this in addition to whatever your bank charges. Debit cards such as maestro do work in ATMs.

Cirrus/Maestro/Plus bank cards could be most effective way to get cash in Ukraine. Many ATMs, such as Aval Bank and Expres Bank ATMs do not charge any transaction cost to cash withdrawal transactions from foreign cards (unless you are withdrawing dollars). Not all ATMs indicate that they support the Plus system, but in most cases they do support it if they support Visa. PrivatBank ATMs do indicate that they support Plus, but at least in August 2009 they do not work with North American cards. Your bank may charge you some amount for these transactions (e.g. Commonwealth Bank of Australia charges AUD $5, TD in Canada charges CAD $5, Citizens Bank of Canada does not charge any fee, most British banks charge about £1.50)

Exchange rate in this case is usually better than in currency exchange booths.

For many people in Ukraine the word 'ATM' may sound unfamiliar - 'ATM' is translated as 'bankomat' (банкомат) and can be found everywhere.

Eat

In general, it is very cheap to dine in Kiev by US standards. So long as you stay away from the places that totally pander to tourists, the food is great and cheap. Try the Borscht and the Mlyntzi and then try absolutely everything else. Baked goods are cheap and great too. Even the ice-cream on the street is great. An especially distinctive one is to the right from Khreshchatyk subway exit - blue kiosk with varying lengh of queue.

When you see vendors selling some liquid from big yellow/blue tanks on the street, you can be sure that it is "Kvas," which is a brewed bread drink. Some people like it and others hate it. It tastes a bit like malt, and the alcohol content is so low (0.05-1.44%) that it is considered acceptable for consumption by children. Try "Odyn Malenkyi" (one small) drink.

You should not drink the tap water. It is advisable to buy 5l. bottles in the supermarkets; they usually have English section for "ingredients". You can always order "Bonaqua" (sparkling mineral water), but beer is just about as cheap.

Budget

Fast-food chains:

  • Puzata Khata -- "Puzo" is Ukrainian for "belly," and a khata is a traditional Ukrainian hut or shack. If you're from the states this place is like Picadilli, or any other pay-per-plate cafeteria. Popular with locals for nostalgia and prices, prepare to be in a big line at peak hours on weekends. Food is usually great, and almost entirely traditional Ukrainian. Two people can eat like absolute pigs here for under $12. You'll be full for the rest of the day, guaranteed.

Three locations [I know of] -- across from Bessarabski Market; through the second arch to the right of the Khreshatik Metro station [past McDonald's, turn right through the big decorative arch]; and another on the corner of Sahaidachnoho Street, opposite Bohorodytsi Pyrohoschi [a square with a church on it]. There is another one at Kontraktova Square, close to Kontraktova metro station, at the end of a downhill walk from the Andrivskyj Uzviz.

  • Vesuvio Pizza, 3 locations - Reytarska 25 (Рейтарська), bulvar Shevchenko 2 (Шевеченко) - near Khreschatyk (Хрещатик), and Balzak 2a (Global Shopping Centre) (Бальзака, ТоргЦентр Ґлобал). Kyiv's first North American style pizza, probably the best in Kyiv. 25 types of pizzas, pan pizza and thin crust, pastas, lasagna, green salads, starting from approx. $5 per person incl drinks. Eat in, take out and delivery 235 6681 and 278 3028.
  • Shvydko (Швидко) (pseudo-national), Kartoplia (Картопля) (main dish: mashed potatoe with 1-3 of 30 different kinds of salads), MacSmak (МакСмак) (pizza)
  • "Two Geese" ("Два гуся")serves decent cafeteria-style meals. Look for the signs with two geese on yellow background. Sometimes there's a vintage car painted with their logo out front. Fast, decent, easy, all you have to do is point. No language skills needed.
  • Domashnia kukhnia (Домашня кухня, home kitchen) offers a buffet with typical Ukrainian food. Some say it's nice, others get sick of it. It's a favorite for Ukrainian students.
  • Celentano (Челентано) (pizza, salads)
  • Potato House (Картопляна Хата) chain - pseudo Mexican food
  • Mister Snack (містер снек) - cheap sanwich and salad chain. Also do hamburgers
  • Korchma Bud'mo (Корчма Будьмо), 22a, Mikhailivska str. (вул. Михайлiвська) - national ukrainian cuisine, simple, but tasty and cheap, pleasant atmosphere. All the major credit cards are accepted.

For anyone near Kyiv-Mohyla university, there's a small cafetria-style place down a few steps on the ground floor of a building on the main square (near Illins'ka st).

  • Viola's Bierstube (Виола) - cheap pub with a great variety of sausages and different meat meals. Also beer here is always good. (In the arc near with Bessarabka)

Groceries

The leading supermarket chains are "MegaMarket" (МегаМаркет), "Furshet" (Фуршет), "Velyka kyshenya" (Велика кишеня), which are conveniently located to the city centre. The closest MegaMarket to town is on 50 Gorkoho (Горького). This MegaMarket is big but can get busy. Foodstuffs are available on the ground level, and non-food available on the first level. You have to go through the cashier on each level, which means two long lineups on busy days.

The closest Furshet to the city centre, and most central supermarket, is on the basement level of the Mandarin Plaza, which is at the back of Bessarbabsky Square. This supermarket stocks many imported goods, and also has five restaurants.

"Fora" (фора) is a popular chain of mini-marts that are widely distributed, particularly on the Left Bank side of the city. They are about the size of 7-11 and stock most staple items, including toiletries, bread, dairy, sweets, and of course alcohol. Plastic bags are available but are not free, and they do not take credit cards. Bag your own groceries.

Most bottled waters are gassed, similar to Club Soda in the US. To purchase regular bottled water, ask for Water Without Gas (VoDA bez gaza). A 500ml bottled water cost UAH 3-UAH 6 in August 2009, occasionally they will inflate the price to UAH 10 if you look like a rich tourist.

Do not forget to buy a few big jugs of bottled water such as Staryi Myrhorod (Старий Миргород) or Truskavetska (Трускавецька). Kyivskij tort (київський торт) is another thing you should eat in Kiev if you love cakes. Dark rye bread, Ryazhenka (Ряженка, ukrainian style yogurt), Kvas (Квас, fermented drink made of bread) could be also be interesting things to taste.

Chocolates, cakes, lollies, crisps and biscuits/cookies are widely available at low cost and very popular with Ukrainians - after years of being deprived western brands, snackfoods are becoming big business.

Mid-range

  • Corsair, on Sahaydachnoho (Сагайдачного) - about $17/person complete. Serves Mediterranean-inspired food.
  • Vesuvio Pizza, 3 locations - Reytarska 25 (Рейтарська), bulvar Shevchenko 2 (Шевеченко) - near Hreschatik (Хрещатик), and Balzaka (Global Shopping Centre) (Бальзака, ТоргЦентр Ґлобал). Kyiv's first Italian style pizza, probably the best in Kyiv. 25 types of pizzas, pan pizza and thin crust, pastas, lasagna, green salads, approx. $15 per person incl drinks. Eat in, take out and delivery 235 6681 and 278 3028.
  • O’Panas, Ševčenko Park, 10 Tereščenkivska, 235-2132. Open daily from 10PM till 1PM Traditional wooden restaurant, popular to tourists. Really good Blinčiki... try the mushroom ones. ($10-$20/person). If you just want to try the blinčiki, you can walk-up to a stand on the side of the restaurant and get them to go.
  • Tsimmus, 10/5 Sahaydachnoho for Ukrainian-Jewish food. [That's in the #10 building on the main street, but go around the corner to a side street where the street number would have been 5 had it not been attached to a building that already has an address] (about $20/person complete)
  • CCCP, over the road from the entrance to the Great Patriotic War memorial. This Soviet-theme restaurant has staff dressed in traditional costume and dozens of traditional dishes listed on the English-language menu. Try the Uzvar traditional drink made from smoked fruit. Expect to spend US$10 each for lunch; they also have a US$20 business lunch menu. It would be possible to spend a lot more though. Live traditional music and farm implements decorate the wall.
  • Lola Pizza, on Lva Tolstogo (Льва Толстого). The cost of a large pizza is about 100 UAH, and is a very generous size. You can eat in the cafe area or take-away.
  • Pica, Krasnoarmejskaja (Красноармeйская) - Could be classified as a budget restaurant. Lunch for two people, with one pizza, a soup, two salads and soft drink is around 140 UAH.
  • Kureni, 4, Parkova Alley - wonderful national restaurant with very tasty dishes. Dinner for five persons, including different appetizers, soups, main dishes and gorilka is around €135. It is situated on the bank of the Dnepr river and in summer it is very nice to get dinner in the garden, while in winter inside the main building you can enjoy view through large windows and fire from the fire-place. all the major credit-cards are accepted.

It's also worth checking out pubs and restaurants that offer business lunches during weekday lunch. These are set menus that usually cost around 40 UAH, and include soup, salad, meat dish and a drink.

Splurge

  • Two Hares, at the top of Andreiski Uzviz. 19th-century themed place, good food. Have the rabbit pie (about 90UAH), which is served in a rabbit made of pastry.
  • Da Vinci Fish Club, Volodyrmyrski Street (Володимирський). Seafood orientated restaurant with an Italian influence. Very delicious food - a place to see and be seen. Cost around $60 per person, drinks extra. Metro: Zoloti Vorota
  • Mimino, on Spaska (Спаська). Based on the Soviet film of the same name about a Georgian pilot. The waitstaff are attired in 60s influenced flight attendant uniforms. Very nice Georgian food, mainly lots of meat. Good Georgian wine available also. Cost around $40 per person, drinks extra. Metro: Kontraktova Ploscha.
  • Sumosan, in The Premier Palace hotel. Sister restaurant to Sumosan in London. Decent sushi.
  • Nobu, 12 Shota Rustaveli Street. Good Japenese restaurant, but don't be fooled by the name it's not owned by famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
  • Concord - on the roof of the Donbass Centre at Lva Tolstogo Square
  • Decadence House - mostly a restaurant but also turns into a nightclub
  • Breakfast at the Premier Palace Hotel
  • Lun Van Chinese restaurant
  • Schnitzel Haus, ul Sakhanskoho 51.
  • Tapas Tapas Bar, ul Tarasovskaya 10a.

National

  • Ukrainian: There are many restaurants that claim to serve authentic Ukrainian food, but often they prepare Cossack food (which is basically the same, as they are Ukrainian ancestors.

Shynok : in the Pechersk district. 28v Lesi Ukrainki, very traditional food and furniture. 11.00-0.00. Shynok

Pervak : vul Rognidenska 2 , set lunch only 35-42 Uz .......

  • Irish: there are several Irish pubs, none authentic Irish, but OK if you're in need of a Guinness and X-pat company. One is located near Golden Gate (Zoloti Vorota) on Volodomyrska (called, eponymous, The Golden Gate Pub). Another (and the first in Kyiv) is O'Briens on Mykailovska (one of the streets running west off Maidan sq., the one to the right, with a branch of OTP Bank on the corner). Both are expensive by Kiev standards. A new one is open in Podil, on the corner of Gostyny Dvor, near the Dutch embassy (can't miss it as it's close to the bottom of Andryevsky) called the Belfast Pub. Other than these centrally located ones, others lie scattered around Kiev, these do not cater to the ex-pat crowd and have better prices than you expect to find in any 'western' country. Keep your eyes open.
  • Italian: Momento on Zlatoustovskaya (near the Circus), Napule on Mechnikova (near Metro station "Klovska")
  • Georgian: Mimino on Spasskaya (Podil)
  • Vietnamese: there are several restaurants, owned by a person from Vietnam (the cuisine is a comprise of "hits", rather than complete luncheon sets; considered above-average within local Vietnamese community; extremely expensive)
  • Chinese: There is a good one near Metro Universitet. It's called "Jiu Long", which means "Nine Dragons" (there is a fast food store upfront, but if you go through the arch, you will see an entire Chinese-style building, that's where the real restaurant is; quality is good and prices are lower than some other similarly fancy restaurants). If you don't care about price, go to "Lun Van" near Metro Teatralna. Other above-average venues (but be warned, no one who's experienced anything like the real thing will find satisfactory Chinese food in Kyiv) are Mandarin on a floating entertainment complex near the river port in Podil, and Vostok which is across the road from Mandarin.
  • Japanese: There's one called Hanoi which serves Japanese and Vietnamese food. It is located near Metro Arsenalna. The quality is quite high, although the prices are too. Further, you will find various sushi-bar-chains in Kyiv (namely Sushi-Ya, Murakami and Yakitoria)

Kosher

  • King David Esplanadna 24 tel 044 235 7436 near the Central Synagogue, Glatt Kosher, many traditional Eastern European dishes. Many Vegetarian dishes. Open 10.00 to 23.00, closed Saturdays


  • Haiffa Kostiantynivska 57 Warning: Despite what some guide books (Bradt etc.) may say this restaurant no longer serves kosher food, it has been converted into a strip joint, but the signs from the kosher restaurant have not been removed. This is one of the things I love about wikitravel:up to date info.

Drink

There are several nice places in Kiev to get a drink. From small cafés that are only frequented by locals (they look dirty at first sight) to expensive places. Most locals buy some drinks (beer or vodka) at a stall in the street and drink it in a park, leaving their bottle for the homeless to collect and cash in. With this they often buy some chips or other salted things (I think it's squid, not sure, though tastes like seasalt).

As said in the Food section, Eric owns many venues. The prices are rather high for Kiev, which means quite reasonable by European standards. Beer is around $3, iirc.

  • Art club 44 (vul. Khreschatyk 44/b) it's a club that plays live music every day. Hard to find if you haven't been there. Go through the arch at Khreschatyk 44/b, there's a small Ukrainian-themed restaurant on the right (quite good actually), you need an unmarked door on the left. Or simply ask just about anybody between 18 and 35, they will probably know. Cover 20 UAH on Fri-Sat.
  • Viola's Bierstube (bulevard Shevchenka 1a) is also well hidden behind a dark door in a small alley.
  • Bar Fidel (Grushevskogo 4B, Kiev, Ukraine) Well worth checking out. DJ plays late on a friday night and there is some serious moshing and crowd surfing in what must be Kiev's lowest bar / club. Great fun, open till 5am.
  • Orech ("Walnut") (ul Bolshaya Vasilkovskaya 126) - small, good selection of local beers, used to serve unlimited free walnuts if you drink beer. Recently the walnut servings have been limited unfortunately.
  • Arena Bar & Sports bar (close to Bessarabsky market) - always a good place to meet other travelers and expats, and a good starting point for a night out.
  • If you looking for the all-out American in Kiev, then just drop into T.G.I. Friday's, the haven for any home-sick American. All staff speaks English, and the food has shapes you are familiar with. Again, just around Bessarabsky market (back-side). O'Briens, off Independence Square, has the same sort of thing.

There's another "brand" of cafés called "Babooin" ("Бабуин", means baboon). They had 3 places located in Kiev downtown, but now due to high rent fees the only one is still open:

  • Antresol (vul T. Shevchenko 2) - directly in the center, they offer a nice selection of food to your coffee or drink, and they have Wi-Fi during the day for free.

Military-themed bar Blyndazh (Блиндаж, means "entrenchment") at the basement of 15 Mala Zhitomyrska (200 m. off Maidan sq.). Small, cheap and popular, mostly student types.

There are two Belgian beer cafés. One is located across the road from the Golden Gate, close to the South Korean Delegation (Le Cosmopolite, Vladimirskaya Ul.). The other is close to the Olympic Stadium (Belle-Vue; Ul. Saksahanskoho 7). Prices range between normal western prices (1.3 Euro for 0.5L of Stella Artois) and splurge western prices (4.5 Euro for 0.33L of Leffe Blond). Service is in perfect English usually and they do serve Belgian beer and traditional Belgian food (expensive).

There are more theme cafés over Kiev, but they are often hard to find. Therefore try meeting English speaking people in the above mentioned cafés.

Clubs

Kiev has a nice club scene. Ranging from very cheap to overly-expensive you can find what you want.

  • Tsar Project is an upscale lively place located close to the Water Museum. Expensive and pretentious, full of good-looking people though (beware of the face control, e.g. no sport shoes allowed).
  • Patipa is one of Kiev's dinosaurs, but still one of the most trendy and best visited clubs in Kiev.
  • Faberge also an upscale club, address Rybalska 22, similar to Chaikovsky Deluxe
  • A few popular venues are located at the Mandarin Plaza shopping mall (Arena Entertainment complex), rumored to be owned by Klitschko bros. The clubs include Arena, Sky Bar, Barsky and Grotesque. It's right next to Bessarabsky market, most of the clubs are accessible from the court.
  • Art Club 44 (see above) is packed on Friday and Saturday nights. Live music, mixed crowd of expats and local students.
  • Shooters, located on Moskovskaya 22, is currently one of the more traveler and X-pat friendly clubs (it belongs to a group of English X-pats). Not particuarly foreigner friendly, may ask where you are from if you do not understand Ukrainian and refuse entry citing "face control". (Perhaps expecting a bribe)
  • Xlib-club brings what is called cutting-edge music to Kiev. The club is neither expensive nor pretencious and exceedingly crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. Located in Podil - one of the most romantic districts in Kiev near the Dnieper river. Address Frunze 12.

Sleep

Budget

  • TIU Hostels, (). In association with Hostelling International is the only independent chain of hostels in Ukraine owned and operated by backpackers. They are a collection of friends and travelers. Their aim is to improve standards, lower prices and develop a secure friendly hostel network throughout Ukraine. All their hostels have been inspected and licensed by the Hostelling International - Ukraine representative. All their hostels have Fully-Equipped Kitchens, Free Wi-Fi internet access, Friendly English-speaking staff, Common rooms with big-screen TVs and DVD libraries, Private Rooms, Frequent Pub Crawls, Security Lockers and Digital coded front door locks.
    • TIU Kiev Backpackers, 18 Krasnoarmeyskaya Apt. 15 - Kiev City Center (+380 96 997 8398)
    • TIU Kreschatik, 8b Kreschatik Apt. 11 - On the Main Street next to the Independence Square (+380 50 331 1847)
    • TIU Kiev Central Station, 25 Gogolivska Apt. 15 - Closest hostel to the Train Station (+38 098 669 4783)
    • TIU Chillout Hostel, 22v Gorkogo Apt. 35
  • Kiev lodging Hostel, 5 Pushkinskaya str., 2nd floor, apt. 10, 04108, Kiev., +38-093-813-3958 (), [22]. checkin: 1200; checkout: 1300. Facebook name: Kiev Lodging Hostel Hostelukraine Kiev Lodging Hostel has a common room, free WiFi internet access and free cable TV. A tru backpacker hostel with English speaking staff. It is in the city centre 10 min from independence sq. (the main sq. They also have Chernobyl tours, AK 47 shooting and will take you out to the clubs at night.

Mid-range

  • Diplomat Hotel, Zhilyanska street 59, [23]. The apartments offers fully renovated classic single and double rooms, each with ensuite facilities, including plated breakfast. All of the accommodations come equipped with individually controlled air conditioning, heating, desk, safe deposit box, mini bar, hairdryer, double glassed windows and satellite TV. Prices from 100USD
  • Hotel Kozatskiy, 1/3 Mihaylivska Street (Kiev, 01001), +38 044 279 49 14, [24]. checkin: 13-00; checkout: 12-00. It is 3 stars hotel in the city centre (Independence Area). from $70 per night.
  • Hotel Lybid', [25]. The Hotel Lybid' is a standard European hotel in Kiev at around US$115/night. It is a short Subway or Shuttle ride from the city center.
  • President Hotel, Hospitalna Street 12, [26]. The President Hotel is a 4 star hotel with 325 rooms and 13 suites set out over 10 floors. Situated close to the city centre is in a cultural and historical quiet green area of Kiev. With your choice of either the fitness centre, leisure centre or health club. Prices starts from US$130/room/night
  • City Park Hotel, 20-A, Vorovsky Str. (Kiev, Ukraine), +38 (044)503-7790, [27]. is a new boutique hotel located in the cultural, historical business part of Kiev. * Gintama Hotel, Trekhsvyatitelskaya Street 9, [28]. Centrally located boutique hotel with 23 rooms. Prices start from 180USD/room/night
  • Hotel Rus, Hospitalna Street 4, [29]. One of oldest hotels in the city. Rooms are good, but service is Soviet. from US$183.
  • Hotel Tourist, 2 R. Okipnoi St., Kyiv, Ukraine, 02002 ”). (metro station Livoberezhna), [30]. Rooms are good, but service is Soviet. Especially breakfast. reception ok, english speaking. Bring your own teabags or instant coffee. 29 floors.Restaurant with english menue. Close to Metro, market and shopping centre. Overlooking soviet style housing flats, view on city from 3 km away. strange bath tube. from 60 €.

Splurge

  • Hyatt Regency Kiev (Hyatt Regency Kiev), 5, A. Tarasova Street (in the centre of Kiev, overlooking Saint Sophia Square), +380 44 581 1234 (), [31]. Opened in June 2007, Hyatt Regency Kiev is a new 5 star luxury hotel in Kiev (Kyiv). The hotel offers great views of the cathedral and the old city and feautures a 25m indoor swimming pool, spa and fitness centre.
  • InterContinental Kiev (Velyka Zhytomyrska 2A), Kiev (sales.kiev@ihg.com), +380442191919, [32]. InterContinental Kiev is the first InterContinental Hotel to be open in Ukraine. It is in Kiev city centre between three of the most famous churches of ancient Eastern Christendom – St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, Saint Andrew's Church of Kiev and the St. Sophia Cathedral. The 11-storey hotel is designed by celebrated Ukrainian architect Sergey Babushkin. Its angular marble-and-glass façade is a blend of classical and contemporary features, highlighted by a three-metre statue of the Greek Goddess Nike (mythology) by Ukrainian sculptor Michael Reva. InterContinental Kiev has 272 deluxe rooms, five Ambassador Suites, Royal Suite and Presidential Suite, both overlooking St Michael’s Square.
  • The Opera Hotel (The Opera Hotel), B. Khmelnystkoho Street, [33]. The Opera Hotel is on B. Khmelnystkoho Street its (5*) and member of the leading hotels of the world. Newly (2006) opened and owned by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's wealthiest billionaire. +500$ per night.
  • The Premier Palace Hotel (The Premier Palace Hotel), [34]. The Premier Palace Hotel is nice 5-star hotel in a historic building, expect prices of over $500 per night.

Rents

  • Kiev apartments Grata, 9a Mikhailivsky lane off.3, +38(044) 468 0757, [35]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12.00. Serviced apartments for business and vacation travellers. Car rental service, 24 hours support. $50. ($180,)
  • Accommodation Kiev, 3 Luteranska atr. of 58, +38(044) 414-8939, [36]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12.00. Completely equipped for for residing comfortable private apartments in the centre of Kiev. $60. ($350,)
  • Kiev Apartments, 11 Gorodetskogo St, office 34 (50 Meters from Kreschatyk Street), + 38-093-685-0076, [37]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Fully serviced private apartments next to Kreschtyk Street. Simple studios accommodating 1-2 people starting from $50 up to $350 for luxurious 5 bedroom units designed for large groups. High end properties feature Jacuzzi, outdoor patios, Saunas, etc. 50-350.
  • Partner Guest House, 19 Baseina Street, +380 44 2285511, [38]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Modern brand new luxury apartments from $60 per night in the very heart of Kiev city centre - on Baseina Street. High-speed internet connection, English speaking staff, Jacuzzi, plasma TV-sets etc. Reception.
  • UARent (Kiev Apartments Rent), 24 B Mykhaylivs'ka St Office 80a (first floor) Kiev 01001, +38044 278 8363, [39]. Comfortable fully furnished and fully equipped apartments in historical city center from Kiev lodging expert - UARent. Full range of hotel services: cleaning, transportation, guide-interpreter, laundry, food delivery etc. Reasonable rates.

Stay safe

The usual "don't be stupid" advice seems to be adequate. Avoid drinking the water from the tap--bottled water is cheap and available everywhere (Morshinska/Моршинська is good). Kiev is a generally open and friendly city and stays lively until at least 11PM in most districts.

If you are female, and especially if you are traveling alone, try to take a taxi instead of public transit after 9 p.m. These are prime drinking hours and the metro and marshrutky may be crowded with drunken men. This is particularly true on the weekends. Ask a local English-speaker to call the taxi for you and get the amount of the fare in advance; drivers may greatly inflate the fare once hearing your accent.

Robberies and scams on tourists are fairly common in Kiev. The best approach is to be extremely selfish and ignore anyone who approaches you. Avoid eye contact with suspicious looking people. If you do get caught up in a scam (such as the infamous wallet scam or the "Look, I've just found money" scam or even if you are stopped by someone claiming to be a policeman), simply ignore the person and walk away, indicate that you want to call your embassy, or take them to the embassy to get the problem sorted. That will usually shake the person off.

If you areleaving your baggage in the station, it is better to leave it with the guys in person rather than use a locker. Stories have been heard of people 'assisting' with the locker and overseeing the code, then walking off with the bag afterwards.

On the metro, always keep your belongings securely zipped as close to your skin as possible. Pickpockets are highly organised and often in gangs that know what they are doing.

There are occasional (rare) reports of visitors being shaken down by corrupt officials, often customs officials. Naturally, the best protection is to make sure that you stay on the correct side of the law and, if there is any question, to keep your cool and not become argumentative. It seems that the cost of an error is surrendering the object in question and paying a "fine." The officials are skilled at ensuring that people who argue miss their flights. Making, or giving the impresion of making, a cellphone call to your country's embassy has been known to clear up "problems" quicker than actually paying the "fine." --- or petretend to have a very late flight :-)

Some thieves like to abuse new tourists, for example, by playing plainclothes cop. They are rarely aggressive. They will go to you only if you're walking alone and don't look too familiar with the town. A bit of resisting usually shakes them off (but not too muchm since you never know).

There is still some corruption in Ukraine; some services might openly ask you to bribe them to process your request, and denying it might make them refuse to help you.

The people are very tolerant and it is only reasonable to assume that they expect the same in return.

Contact

Telephone

Mobile (cell) phones: GSM 900/1800 is used in Ukraine. This system is compatible with mobile phone networks used in Europe, most of Asia, Australia, New Zealand.

If you have unlocked GSM phone, you can get an ACE & BASE (Kyivstar) [40], Beeline, Sim-Sim [41], Jeans (UMC/MTS) or Life:) [42] (Astelit) SIM card for a few dollars at street vendors which will give you a local number and free incoming calls. If you don't have an unlocked phone already, new ones can be had for USD 15-20 and a touch cheaper if you buy a pay-as-you-go sim card at the same time. Incoming calls are free in Ukraine so in extremis you can just SMS/text a request for a return call for a small charge.

If you are roaming in Kiev, SMS messages do work well. They are confirmed to work for most foreign networks. Do note that the size of the country and the relative low population densities of rural areas means that sometimes there might be 'black-spots' where mobiles will not work. But of course these are away from the main cities/urban areas (and most of the main arterial road and rail routes also have reasonably consistent call signals).

If you are trying to call the US from your GSM phone, you may find that the access numbers for your calling card are blocked. Plan ahead and sign up with a callback service (such as UWT [43] **warning, lead-time required**) before you start your travels and you can provoke them to call you (at much more favorable rates) when you need to make a call.

Internet

The easiest way to maintain internet connectivity if you use your own laptop is to buy a 7-day unlimited Lucky Internet callback card. They are about UAH36 at the street kiosks. When you dial in, you will be initially firewalled off from everything until you activate by visiting their website [44]

Internet cafes have a good service. They usually have different types of computers with varrying prices. A bit higher than the metrostation on ul Khmelnytskoho (on the left side at a corner) there is one that is very good, open 24 hours non stop. The cheapest computers cover your basic needs, the most expensive ones are usually for hardcore gamers.

Also most foreigner-friendly cafés (see "Drink" section above) offer free Wi-Fi.

Cope

Kiev was part of the former USSR. Some things work well and other things may be broken. There is no point in stressing about this. Arrive with that realization and be prepared to roll with a few surprises.

Embassies

  • Ca-flag.png Canada, 31, Yaroslaviv Val St., Kyiv, Ukraine, 01901, (011 380-44) 590-3100 (, fax: (011 380-44) 590-3134), [45]. Monday to Friday: 08:30 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 17:00.
  • Us-flag.png United States, [46].

Get out



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