After admiring the House with Chimaeras, I set out to explore the rest of central Kiev. I started by following a curved road down a hill and came to Besarabska Square. The square was on the outskirts of town until the 1840s and a place where immigrants from Bessarabia (modern day Moldova) would come to sell their goods. The Besarabsky Market, a famous historic market building constructed in 1910, is located on the square. All kinds of produce, meats, and other goods can be found inside.
Also on the square is a historic building that was converted into Arena City Shopping Center. Both market buildings are located on the busy Khreshchatyk Street, which connects the square with Maidan Nezalezhnosti. It was completely destroyed by retreating Red Army forces during World War II and rebuilt after the war. It’s now a center of business in Kiev.
I continued south, finding the Kinoteatr Kiev (an old movie theatre) before turning down another street and walking one block to the Brodsky Synagogue. Built in 1898, it was heavily damaged by the Nazis in World War II and used as a puppet theatre after it was rebuilt. It was restored in 2000 and is now used as a synagogue again.
The back of the synagogue sits on Sportyvna Square, where the Palace of Sports is located. The Palace of Sports was built in 1960 and also serves as an entertainment venue. The 2005 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted there.
At that point, I decided to take a lunch break and visited the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex.
After the stadium tour, I walked up Pushkinska Street and admired a few buildings along the way. I’m not sure why but some of the buildings on this street caught my more than on other streets in Kiev.
I made a left at Tarasa Shevchenko Boulevard and visited the beautiful Taras Shevchenko Park. There’s a monument to Taras Shevchenko in the center. It’s a nice place to relax. Look for the trolley that doubles as a cafe at the north end of the park.
On the west side of the park are buildings of Taras Shevchenko University and also the Maksymovych Library, founded in 1834.
Not too far away is St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral, which is the patriarchal cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate. It was completed in 1882 and holds relics of St. Barbara, St. Makarios, and St. Panteleimon. The interior was incredible and I regret opting not to pay 50 UAH for the photo pass.
On my way to the Golden Gate, I walked down Volodymyrska Street. I passed up the Teacher’s House. It was originally built in 1912 as the Pedagogical Museum, turned into a teacher’s union, became the home of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts in 1917, Museum of Revolution in 1925, and the All-Union Lenin Museum from 1938 to 1982. Things came full circle in 1982 and the Pedagogical Museum was revived and returned to the building. The Great Conference Hall of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is next door.
The opera house opened in 1901 and grew into the most prestigious opera company in the USSR after World War I.