Knowing what to see first is the hardest part of a city break holiday in Kiev. Be bowled over by the cupolas of St Sophia’s Cathedral, the city’s oldest church. Inside it is just breathtaking with colourful mosaics and frescoes. Wander through Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the scene of the Orange Revolution and allow plenty of time for Pecherska Lavra.
Home to a monastery, churches and museums, there is also an underground cave where monks lived, worshipped and were buried. Spend time browsing the shops on the cobbled slopes of Andriyivsky Uzviz, in summer sunbathe on the beaches that line the Dnipro River and dine at the riverside eateries.
Kiev or Kyiv. You might notice we spell the capital city of Ukraine in two different ways. Well, Kiev is the recognised transliteration of the name of the city in Russian, and also the old Ukrainian name which has been used for centuries (by the likes of national hero, Taras Shevchenko, no less) right back to the times of Kievan Rus. Kyiv meanwhile is the transliteration of the modern Ukrainian name of the city and the official name as far as all legal and political issues are concerned. Following the establishment of an independent Ukraine in 1991, there was a move by many Ukrainians to favour Kyiv as it symbolised a departure from all things Russian, and indeed Kyiv is now used by the UN and many other official bodies as the correct name.
The month of May is always an interesting time to take a holiday in Kiev. On Victory Day, the 9th, the whole city lines the streets to commemorate those who died in World War II and to witness the colourful pomp and ceremony of the parading military. Kyiv Days Festival, usually on the last weekend of the month, sees Kyiv transformed into an open-air stage, hosting live concerts, dance performances and spectacular nightly firework displays.