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.
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.
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.
The other buildings around the square are shops, hotels, offices, and restaurants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When I returned from the tour, I watched a choir and some other performers before heading back to my hostel.