Blimey, where do I start ? There are plenty to choose from – all unique, all magnificent. Here are a few that we visited:
St Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral
Sitting proudly on top of a hill near the upper Funicular Station is St Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral. It was reconstructed and completed in the year 2000 after being destroyed by the Soviets in the 1930’s for having ‘no historical value’ !
St Andrew’s Church
This beautiful 18th Century Baroque Church on the attractive Andriivs’kyi Uzviz was closed for renovation during our visit. There are some lovely views to be had of this church on the rise next to the National History Museum on the opposite side of the road.
Russian Orthodox Church [next to The National History Museum].
This delightful little church is to be found on the right hand side of the museum. There is no sign indicating its name but I think it’s called Desyatynnyy Monastyr Rizdva Presvyatoyi Bohorodytsi which is a bit of a mouthfull! The green dome of St Andrew’s Cathedral can be seen in the background on the photograph on the right.
St Sophia’s Cathedral
This UNESCO listed 11th Century Cathedral is absolutely magnificent and is Kiev’s eldest that is still standing. The interior is covered in the most amazing frescos and the altar drips gold.
Don’t forget to wander up the stairs where there are interesting exhibits and you can look down from the balcony into the church from above.
It’s worth paying a little extra to climb the separate bell tower where the views of the Kiev skyline are superb. Even if you are scared of heights [like Leashia and I] it is worth being brave for this one.
St Volodymyr’s Cathedral
This Ukrainian Orthodox 19th Century bright yellow Cathedral near the university is richly adorned and contains spectacular frescos within.
Kyivo – Pechers’ka Lavra [Cave Monastery]
A pleasant walk from Arsenal’na Metro, through Eternal Glory Park is the enormous Cave Monastery complex with museums, churches, bell towers, the caves and more to explore. Allow some time for your visit, we combined it with a visit to the Museum of The Great Patriotic War which was not far away and it took most of the day. We really needed a guide book but could not find one, so I am not sure of the name of all of the churches that we visited.
As to be expected, some of the interiors of the churches were also breathtaking.
The complex is a great place to wander if the weather is nice. There are attractive cobbled streets and marvelous architecture to gawp at.
Continue walking downhill and eventually you will reach the entrance to the caves where monks lived, worshipped and were buried. It is clearly a sacred and important site. Ladies will need to be dressed appropriately and head scarves and wrap around skirts are provided. Don’t forget to purchase a candle so you can see where you are going as the caves are dimly lit. The maze of narrow tunnels are not for the claustrophobic. They contain many small chambers for worship and the preserved bodies of decesased monks, so it is a bit eerie.
After the visiting so many churches and cathedrals adorned with golden domes and stuffed with rich treasures it was a lovely contrast to visit the Central Synagogue. It was built in 1898 and is attractive and simply presented. It has been restored after the Nazi’s used it as a stable in the Second World War and was returned to the Jewish Community after the fall of the Soviet Union.