TOP 10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT KYIV
More and more people from United States, Canada and Europe travel to Kyiv and want to spend there their vacation. Kyiv is unbelievable, catching, breathtaking and never dull as ditch-water with its millenary history and glamorous reality has a lot to enjoy and discover.
Did you know that Kiev (Kyiv) was the largest one in Europe of the 11-th century : 50 times more than London and 10 times more than Paris! ? And what else you don’t know about the capital of Ukraine?
We’d like to present you Top 10 interesting facts about Kyiv!
1. KHRESHCHATYK STREET
Khreshchatyk street – the shortest main street of the world! Do little more than 2800 steps to admire its beauty! In the context of architecture we can talk about gathering of different epochs! Among the rest of 2300 streets it is also the widest street of Kyiv which is named American long mile by locals.
2. MOTHERLAND STATUE
Motherland Statue in Kyiv is in the list of the hugest constructions in the world! It is 102 meters high! During visit of L. Brezhnev to Kyiv he noticed while passing by Kyiv hills that only church cupolas are well seen but no monument of social epoch. Today the monument represents a female figure which holds a 16 meters sword of 9 tones one hand and a shield of 13 tones in another hand. The weight of the total construction is 450 tones.
3. VLADIMIR CATHEDRAL
Vladimir Cathedral - the main cathedral of Kyiv and temple of the soul. The pearl of spiritual life of Kyiv is famous all over the world not only by its outer beauty but also by its inside painting which have been created by more than 96 artists. Just imagine: the cathedral has been constructing within 34 years.
4. CAVES OF LAVRA MONASTERY
Caves of Lavra Monastery has been dug more than 1000 years ago! It is a monument of the underground architecture. Today it is a complicated system of underground connected passageways connecting the underground premises. Their average length is 800 meters.
5. SAINT SOPHIA CATHEDRAL
Saint Sophia Cathedral. Kyiv is impossible to imagine without Saint Sophia cathedral. It is the architectural fairy tale! The interior of the temple is being preserved since 11-th century. The coloring of its mosaic contains more than 177 shades. This temple is a great sample of Byzantine architecture. It is under protection of UNESCO. On the bell tower of 76 meters there is the biggest bell in Ukraine of 13 tones!
6. METRO STATION “ZOLOTI VOROTA”
Kyiv metro station “Zoloti Vorota” is recognized by Daily Telegraph as one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world! Each day it serves more than 20 thousands of passengers! The decoration of this station amazes by its delicacy! If to follow arch by arch it is possible to trace chronologically the formation of Kyiv state from the 11-th till 13-th century!
7. BRIDGE OVER THE DNIPER RIVER
Pedestrian bridge over the Dniper river is most adorable among kyivans! It is the longest pedestrian bridge of Europe! This breathtaking place of 400 meteres long is for love declaration and discovery. Fantastic place for the romantic date. Night illumination of the bridge is incredible! Impressions are guaranteed!
8. ANDREW DESCENT
Andrew Descent is a street and the museum. It is one of the most interesting sights of the city saturated with diversified architecture, lots of legends and tellings, ambience of creativity and freedom. This is what attracts lots of tourists. Kyiv Montmartre will always surprise you with its charm. Come here to bargain for fun and enjoy delicious coffee.
9. ELITE CITY AND PHANTOM
Elite city and phantom right in the downtown. City of millionaires or the dead project. This is how Kyivans describe it. Dozens of beautiful buildings in architectural style of the 19-the century is absolutely deserted at night. Scaring but interesting for the bravest people to face this challenge! It is monument to the insanity of the blindfold idea to spend money. Though it is a perfect place to shoot films, wedding and advertising photo sessions.
10. KYIV ACROPOLIS
Kyiv Acropolis – from the past to nowadays. When you talk about Acropolis the firstling which comes to mind is Greece. Right there one of the greatest architectural ensemble has arisen the ruins of which is the main monument of Greece. The oldest part of prince hill in Kyiv is called Kyiv Acropolis. By its outer look it reminds the historical significance of Acropolis. Today Kyiv Acropolis is an architectural museum under the open air. It is a reserve of ancientness.
The mystery of the Lybid River
A lady sharing that name is part of a famous monument on the Dnipro bank. She stands on a boat together with her three legendary brothers Kiy, Shchek and Khory, the so-called founders of Kyiv.
The boat they stand in is sometimes referred to by Kyivans as “Noah’s Ark”, or “The Titanic”. The monument was erected in 1982 as a part of Kyiv’s 1,500-year anniversary festivities. Another version of this boat – but a lot smaller – appeared on Maidan Nezalezhnosti after its latest reconstruction in 2001.
But there is one site of interest that tourist guides mention but don’t show: the remains of the ancient river Lybid.
Legend has it that the river was named after the only girl among the four siblings who founded Kyiv. The river’s name was first mentioned in chronicles dating back to 968 A.D. In those times, it was a full-fledged river, 20 meters deep and a kilometer wide that could sail big boats. It marked the southern border of the city.
Today, it is a pathetic brook 0.5 meters deep and between 1.6 and 3.5 meters wide, flowing mostly underground in pipes or a concrete shell through the city’s industrial area and quietly sabotaging the extension of the underground line south of Lybidska station.
Of course, it took the river many years to degrade to its present state, and there were a few attempts to save it. During his visit to Kyiv in 1850, Russian Emperor Nikolai I decreed the construction of a canal along the Lybid leading to the Dnipro, and the erection of a boulevard where Naberezhno-Zhylianska Street now runs. But the Crimean war that broke out soon after, and then the Czar’s death, halted the work.
In 1891 the city council, or Duma, considered a plan for creating a boat channel that would make Kyiv a bit like Amsterdam. The channel was supposed to be 5 kilometers long, 4 meters deep and 32 meters wide, and become the main waterway communication channel for the public and merchants between the Dnipro and the railway station. The cost of this engineering miracle was estimated at 250,000 rubles, 10 times the size the city budget. This time World War I kept the endeavor a concept only.
The concrete shell around Lybid was built in Soviet times after the flood of 1937. Spring waters overflowed the banks and submerged large areas of the city between today’s Povitroflotskiy Prospect and Victory Square. Many houses were flooded, the water having reached a meter above sea level in 22 houses. For 12 days, Kyiv resembled Venice with boats on the streets.
The disaster forced the city government to strengthen the river bed with concrete panels and build a water collector. It was then that the Lybid received its tame and industrial look.
There is only one place in Kyiv where you can see the remains of the Lybid river in a pleasant and natural setting. It is Vidradniy Park in Solomyanskiy district of the city. You can get there from Heroiy Sevastopolya Street or from Vidradniy Prospect. There is a beautiful pond with willows growing along its banks. An unremarkable carved rock next to the pond reads: “This is one of the spots where the legendary Lybid river starts.” Vidradniy tributary flows into the Lybid in this place.
Beyond this pond, the river dives into a pipe to start its 16-kilometer journey. Another source of the river is located near Karavayevi Dachi railway station, just behind the Radio Market.
Vidradniy Park is a favorite student hangout for the National Aviation University, which is located nearby. Romantic couples, families with children and pensioners are also regular park visitors. The park’s pond is a good place for fishing in the summer.
By the way, the park improved significantly after the reconstruction, completed a couple days ago. Its reopening was dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Kyiv from Nazi occupation, observed on Nov. 6.
The park now has new footpaths and benches, flower-beds and a pretty iron gate at the main entrance. When this Kyiv Post reporter visited the park, workers were still busy welding the letters of the park’s name to the gate.
But if you prefer a more extreme sightseeing tour of the Lybid, there is a popular route just for you. Flowing in its shell under Lebedeva-Kumacha street, Lybid crosses Industrialna and reappears above ground near Zaliznychna Street. From there it flows through an open concrete bed. Lybid flows along the railway on Naberezhno-Zhylianska, and once again hides in a collector on Saperno-Slobidska. It resurfaces by Vydubychi metro station, runs along Promyslova Street and flows into the Dnipro.
The river’s longest open stretch is along Naberezhno-Slobidska street. It was no accident that the railway line was built along this route. It was built along the river bed to avoid cutting through Kyiv’s many hills. A section of the Lybid on Naberezhno-Slobidska between Moskovska square and Ivana Fedorova Street is the favorite place of graffiti artists. The concrete walls running along the river have essentially become a graffiti gallery known as “The Hall of Fame.” There you can see splendid examples of street art by authoritative graffiti groups “Psya Krev” and “Interesni Kazky”.
The easiest way to get to the graffiti gallery is to go under the railway bridge between Lybidska and Moskovska Squares. You can take a walk along the river and come out around Ivana Fedorova Street.
People who have walked this three-kilometer route claim it is safe. Ivan Siyak, editor of “Nash Kyiv”, an internet site, advises to avoid the route soon after the rain unless you want to be completely covered in mud. In any case, wear something casual so that you don’t have to worry in case you get a little dirty. Be nice to the homeless people if you find them sunbathing there, and they won’t bother you.
The historical river was once an important waterway, but now it’s a symbol of new urban life.
However, it is still important for the city. It helps to drain large flat areas of the city, including parts of the city center and the planes where the railway station and the central bus station are located. It sucks up the brooks that still flow under a number of industrial giants, including Dairy Factory No.1, “Kyivhuma” rubber plant, a confectionery, a margarine plant, and two power plants.
By Oksana Lyachynska. Published Nov. 5, 2008 at 8:06 pm in Kyiv Post