Many gorgeous forested parks sit along the Dnipro River in Kiev. In this post, I’ll cover the three parks from Mariyinsky Palace all the way to Khreshchatyk Street.
Mariyinskyi Park was founded in 1847 takes its name from Mariyinsky Palace. The palace was built between 1744 and 1752 for Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. Used as an agricultural school during the 1920s and later a museum, it’s now the ceremonial residence of the President of the Ukraine.
The park, which is in front of the the palace, gives you a good opportunity to relax. I took a stroll to a lookout point at the end of the path in front of the palace, walked through the woods a bit, and grabbed a well-deserved ice cream after a long day of walking.
About a block west is the Budynok Uryadu (literally Government Building), which houses the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Built between 1936 and 1938, it was the tallest building in Kiev until 1954.
The park across from the Budynok Uryady and the National Art Museum is called Miskyi Sad Park. It’s got statues, a fountain, an outdoor theatre, and food vendors along with a pedestrian bridge over Peter’s Alley. The bridge, at the northern end of the park, leads to Khreshchatyi Park.
It’s also the location of Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium, the historic home of Dynamo Kiev. The gates are at the western corner of the park, and the stadium can be seen through the trees along one of the park paths. The stadium opened in 1934 and has a capacity of just under 17,000. Dynamo Kiev plays some of their games there and the rest at Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex. In 2002, it was named after Valeriy Lovanovskyi, a former player and coach for both Dynamo Kiev and the USSR national football team who died earlier that year.
The aforementioned Khreshchatyi Park contains the Kiev Academic Puppet Theatre, a castle-like structure that was built in 1927.
Moving further along through the trails near the theatre, I found lots of people seated outside, a DJ, and plenty of street food vendors in front of the People’s Friendship Arch. The arch was dedicated to the unification of Russia and the Ukraine, and built in 1982. In May 2016, the government announced it would be dismantling it as part of its decommunization policy.
Underneath the arch are two sculptures. The sculpture to the left is made of bronze and depicts a Russian and Ukrainian worker holding up the Soviet Order of Friendship of Peoples. The one on the right is made from granite and depicts the participants of the Pereyaslavska Rada of 1654.
I followed a road down the hill from the arch and found the National Philharmonic of Ukraine (Lysenko Column Hall), which opened at the end of the 19th century. The Small Philharmonic Hall, built in 1934, is next to it.
Across the street is the Ukrainian House. It’s a convention center, but during Soviet times it was used as the All-Union Lenin museum. It opened in 1982.