Maidan Nezalezhnosti

I started my third day in Kiev by taking the metro to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), the main square in the city, and where the Euromaidan protests began on November 21, 2013.

After exiting the metro, I immediately noticed the Berehynia Monument, built in 2001 for the 10th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. It’s dedicated to Beryhinia, a female spirit in Slavic mythology and the protector of the Ukraine.

Berehynia Monument at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Berehynia Monument

Berehynia Monument at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Berehynia Monument

Behind the Berehynia Monument is the Globus Trade Complex, a shopping mall. Next to it is the smaller Monument to the Founders of Kiev. The large white building south of the monument is the Concert Hall of the Kiev Conservatory, and the Ukraine State Department of Food is next to that.

Berehynia Monument and Globus at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Berehynia Monument and Globus

Globus Trade Complex at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Globus Trade Complex

Monument to the Founders of Kiev at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Monument to the Founders of Kiev

Concert Hall of the Kiev State Conservatory (left) and Ukraine State Department of Food (right) at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Concert Hall of the Kiev State Conservatory (left) and Ukraine State Department of Food (right)

Maidan Nezalezhnosti is split by Khreshchatyk Street. On the side opposite the monument is a larger space full of fountains and a few monuments and surrounded by buildings. Looking towards this side of the square from the monument, the huge building on the left along Khreshchatyk Street is the Central Post Office. To the right is the House of Trade Unions.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Central Post Office at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Central Post Office

House of Trade Unions at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

House of Trade Unions

The other buildings around the square are shops, hotels, offices, and restaurants.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Maidan Nezalezhnosti

There are two interesting monuments on this side of the square. The first is the Lyadski Gate, which was originally built in the 11th century and later destroyed during the Siege of Kiev by Batu Khan in 1240. It was rebuilt in 2001 when its remains were accidentally found. It’s topped by a statue of Archangel Michael, the historic protector of Kiev.

Lyadski Gate at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Lyadski Gate

Lyadski Gate at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Lyadski Gate

The other is a column topped with a globe. It measures distance and points the direction to all regions of the Ukraine and foreign capitals.

Pointer monument at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Pointer monument

Running along the monument side of the square is Institute Street. A large flower clock sits on the north side of the street, and a pedestrian bridge spans the street. The bridge was built in 2002. From the bridge there are some great views of Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

Flower clock at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Flower clock

Bridge over Institute Street at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Bridge over Institute Street

Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Maidan Nezalezhnosti

On the other side of the bridge is the October Palace, a performing arts center that was built in 1838 as a school for females. During Soviet times, it was infamous for being used as a prison by the Kiev KGB. Over 120,000 people were executed there from 1920 to 1930, including artists, writers, politicians, teachers, priests, and scientists. I couldn’t imagine these kinds of atrocities being committed in such a beautiful building.

October Palace in Kiev, Ukraine

October Palace

On May 9, I was able to witness Victory Day celebrations that took place in the square. In the morning, I watched rehearsals for the parade as I waited for my Chernobyl tour.

Victory Day rehearsals at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Victory Day rehearsals

Victory Day rehearsals at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Victory Day rehearsals

 

When I returned from the tour, I watched a choir and some other performers before heading back to my hostel.

Victory Day celebration at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev, Ukraine

Victory Day celebration

 

%d bloggers like this: