Kyiv & Ukraine Private Tour Guides


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Kyiv (Kiev) Tours

The city of Kiev is situated in the central part of the Ukraine on both banks of the river Dnieper. Archeologists contend that Kiev was founded in the fifth century. The first documentary mention of Kiev is found in sixth- and seventh-century chronicles. The advantageous geographical and strategic position of Kiev on the high hills overlooking the Dnieper across which the famous road "from the Variangians (Scandinavia) to the Greeks(Bizantin)" passed greatly contributed to the city becoming the capital of Kievan Rus in the ninth century. In the next three centuries Kiev became a focal point attracting to it the East Slavic tribes, and played an important part in developing ancient Eastern Slavic culture, in creating a written Old Slav language, literature, art, and architecture. The sacking of Kiev by the Mongol-Tatars under Batu Khan in 1240 caused the town to fall into decline, and for a long time it disappeared from the historical scene. Later Eastern and Central Ukraine became a part of Moscow state in 1654. Kiev's political and economic importance began to increase. In the nineteenth century it was one of the largest towns in Russian Empire, a trading, financial and administrative centre, but its industry remained poorly developed. In the 1820s Kiev was one of the centres from which the Decembrists, revolutionaries from noble families, waged their struggle against the tsar's power. 

Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

Kiev-Pechersk LavraOne of the main pearls that attracts thousands of tourists to the capital of Ukraine is the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. The sanctuary has almost a thousand years of history. Here the Orthodoxy of Kievan Rus was born. God protects the caves of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, its religious buildings, having swept through many wars, conflicts, floods, catastrophes, rebellions and fires; these places are sacred to everyone whose soul fills love for the Lord. Under the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra there is a huge amount of underground passageways and caves that never served the purpose of the conspirators or rebels, but only served as an asylum for those who, leaving a gloomy vanity, sought God.
Today, thanks to many written sources of the 21st century, we know how the Kiev-Pechersk Monastery arose. Ilarion was the first who decided to devote himself to prayers on a plateau covered with dense forest. In the village of Berestove, Ilarion was put to death by a priest. However, the mundane vanity burdened him, and in search of solitude he went to the forest wilderness, where no one could interrupt his spiritual union with the Almighty. Later, he dug a cave in the ground, where he prayed. read more...


Saint Sophia's Cathedral

St. Sophia Cathedral, KievTill nowadays the historians can not agree with the date of the foundation of this cathedral. Some of them believe that the first stone of the Church of St. Sophia was founded in 1037. The main source of the information for them is the Story of the Passing years (the Primary chronicles). However, the other chronicles indicate that the construction was started 20 years before this date, in 1017. Written sources of the history of the XI century inform that Yaroslav the Wise only continued the work of his father, Volodymyr the Great. Such information puts into the question not only the year of the foundation 1017 or 1037, but also the identity of the person, who made an order for the construction of the main shrine of the country. In fact, in the official historical circles it is assumed that it was Yaroslav who founded the temple.
Since the first years of its existence, the Cathedral of St. Sophia has become not only the main spiritual, cultural, but also political center of Kievan Rus. On the square in front of it the foreign ambassadors were met, the Chamber was conducted. There they gathered for the "landing" of the princes to the throne. The first library was collected precisely in the basements of the sanctuary. According to eyewitness' descriptions, it contained more than 1,000 books.
However, in 1240, the capital was burned by the forces of Batu. The main religious building of the country was looted. Though the cathedral was acting, at the same time it came to desolation: the vault was ruined, the mosaics, including Oranta, fell down. Even though the church union was signed in 1596 and the temple buildings were handed over to the Uniate, the buildings came to a real decay, and the ceiling was torn down. In the 30s and 40s of the seventeenth century Petro Mogyla, the Metropolitan of Kiev, returned the Sofia to the Kyiv Orthodox Church. This way the process of a revival was launched. read more...


Golden Gate

Golden Gate, KievFortification constructions played a significant role in the life of cities in the early Middle Ages. The constant division of land, the attacks of enemies and the threat of destruction forced the rulers to protect their cities with ramparts, walls and moats.
Kiev of 10th-11th centuries was a magnificent city with huge fortunes, and, therefore, there were a lot of people who wanted to own this pearl of Kyevan Rus. Grand Duke Yaroslav The Wise, during his reign, not only expanded the boundaries of Kiev, but also built a powerful system of protection.
During the constructing of the Golden Gate, the masters used a mixed masonry technique, that is, alternating between different sized bricks of natural stone. The height of the entrance was 12 meters and the width was 6.5. The two-tier tower was completed by the battleground and crowned its Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin. The four-columns temple was decorated with frescoes and mosaics, and the gazebo-covered gilding from the Far East shone in the sun's rays. According to some data recorded in the manuscripts, the facade of the gate adorned the image of the Virgin. The idea of the construction of goblet churches arose at the court of Yaroslav The Wise and became a characteristic feature of the cathedrals of Kievan Rus. read more...


St. Andrew's Church

St. Andrew's Church, KievThe Apostle Andrew the First Called pointed to the place where the church is today, saying that it is blessed by God and that once there will be a city with many churches. ("The Primary Chronicle" or "The Tale of Bygones Years" by the author Nestor the Chronicler).
Already in 1215 at the place of the modern St. Andrew's Church the Church of Holy Cross was built, that existed  until the beginning of 17th century. Afterwards a wooden church was constructed at its place, that burned out during a fire in the end 17th century.
On May 27, 1753, in Kyiv it was built the St. Andrew's Church to commemorate the visit of the Empress Elizabeth, daughter of tzar Peter the First. The baroque style cathedral was built by prominent architect Francesco Rastrelli. The one of two of his architectural pearls, which are located in Kyiv, was finished. read more...


The Mother Motherland Monument. National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War

The Mother Motherland Museum of Second Wold War, KievThe monument to motherland is one of the main symbols of the capital of Ukraine. It is a symbol of the invincibility of the people, who defeated Nazi invaders by a cost of millions of lives. Motherland of Kiev can withstand a powerful earthquake and a hurricane as a great nation stands before the heaviest trials and will remain undisturbed.
The statue was built in 1981 on the territory of the museum complex dedicated to the history of Ukraine in the Second World War. The first author of the monument was Eugene Vutechic. He worked on a memorial complex in Volgograd. The death interrupted a work of this great figure in a culture. Vasyl Borodaya was appointed to his place, who was destined to complete the project, which was immediately subjected to changes. At first it was planned that the monument, made of Zaporozhye stainless steel, was covered with gold. However, later this idea was abandoned. Also, from the both sides of the Motherland mother a cascade of water had to drop, which would be forced by the warriors made of stone. read more...


St. Michael Golden-Domed Monastery

St. Michael Golden-Domed Monastery, KyivOriginally built in 1108-1113  the by Svyatopolk Izyaslavovych, a grandson of the Great Duck Yaroslav the Wise. The monastery comprises the Cathedral itself, the Refectory of St. John the Divine, built in 1713, the Economic Gates, constructed in 1760 and the monastery's bell tower, which was added c. 1716-1719. The exterior of the structure was rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque  style in the 18th century while the interior remained in its original Byzantine style. The original cathedral was demolished by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s, but was reconstructed and opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence in 1991.
One reason for building the church may have been Svyatopolk's recent victory over the nomadic Polovtsiqns (Cumans) as Michael the Archangel was considered a patron of warriors and victories. In 1906, a medieval hoard of silver and gold jewellery was discovered in a metal casket on Trekhsvyatytelska Street (Street of the Three Saints), opposite the gates of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery. Gold jewellery from the hoard is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York while the silver jewellery and two ingots are in he British Museum, London. The hoard is dated to the 11th-12th centuries and was probably hidden at the time of the Tartar invasions and the Sack of Kiev in 1240.  read more...


Maidan Nezalezhnosti ( literally: Independence Square)

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), KievKiev is not only the capital city of Ukraine, but an exciting and historic metropolis. Visitors can get the most from a trip to Kiev by taking guided tours.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti (literally:Independence Square) is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the city's main squares, it is located on Khreshchatyk Street in the Shevchenko Raion. The square has been known under many different names, but often it is called simply Maidan ("square").
Since the start of Ukraine's independence movement in 1990, the square has been the traditional place for political rallies, including four large-scale radical protest campaigns: the 1989 student "Revolution on Granite", the 2001 "Ukraine without Kuchma", the 2004 Orange Revolution, and the 2013–14 Euromaidan. Maidan is also a regular site for non-political displays and events. read more...


Mariyinsky Palace

Mariyinsky Palace, KievThere is only one edifice in Kyiv which can answer a classical description of a palace: «a very large, richly decorated house, especially one which is, or used to be, the home of a royalty or president» (Collins Dictionary) and which dates to the «time of wide proliferation of palaces», that is, to the 18th century. The palace is called Mariyinsky. It is situated in an old part of town, called Pechersk, on top of a hill overlooking the mighty Dnipro River, surrounded by parks.
In 1744 the Russian Empress Elizabeth ordered a palace built in Kyiv at a picturesque place on the hilly bank of the Dnipro River. She wanted the palace to be a close replica of Count Rozumovsky's palace at his estate of Perov not far from Moscow. Count Rozumovsky was her favourite then and his palace had been designed by B. Rastrelli, the most famous architect of the time. One of the disciples of Rastrelli, I. Michurin, was commissioned to take on the construction of the new palace in Kyiv. He, in his turn, engaged a number of other architects to help him. read more...


St. Volodymyr's Cathedral

St. Volodymyr Cathedral, KievIt is a cathedral church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchy. It was built in the 19th century (1862-1882). On 20 August, 1896 the cathedral doors opened and the blessing ceremony was held. Russian Emperor Mykola II (Nicholas the Second) was present there. Several architects were commissioned to make the designs and supervise the construction (among them the prominent architect, Academician Beretti). The architectural style is defined as "pseudo-Byzantine-Russian". A group of painters - Ukrainian (Zamyraylo, Sergiy Kostenko, Mykola Pymonenko), Russian (Victor Vasnetsov, Michael Nesterov), Polish (Pavlo Swedomsky and brothers Olexandr and Wilhelm Kotarbinsky) - decorated the interior of the cathedral with murals. In the early 20th century Mykhaylo (Michael) Vrubel, a painter of great distinction, painted four icons for the iconostasis of the church and several frescoes, the best known of which is a big mural, The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. read more...


Building of the National Bank of Ukraine

National Bank of Ukraine Building, KievThe building of the National Bank of Ukraine is an architectural pearl of Kiev and the perfect example of the achievements of science and technology in the construction in the beginning of the twentieth century. The construction of the National Bank, built by the demand of time, is the embodiment of experiments with different historical epochs of the chief architect Alexander Kobelev. The architect, with amazing design, combines the northern Italian Gothic and the early Florentine Renaissance. The artistic design of the bank is the merit of the Italian master Elio Sala, the author of the famous fantastic creatures on the House with chimeras. Outside the National Bank building is romantic, and inside it is an exact mechanism designed for the effective work of the country's main bank. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the constructions are durable, ventilation and the fire protection systems - safe and technologically innovative. Architectural sophistication and technical perfection of the building emphasizes the special role of the central bank, designed to manage the financial system of the state. read more...


House with Chimaeras

House with Chimaeras, Kiev“I’ve not seen anything like this in Paris!”
V. Horodetsky has indeed created something unique in 1901-1902. To begin with, he risked to build an imposing mansion on top of a steep hill. The House seems to be an organic growth rising from the rock. Its exterior is ornamented with dozens of  sculptures in the form of plants and animals, mostly aquatic. All these creatures - crocodiles, fish, toads, mermaids,  plus a host of others - seem to have crawled out of the lake at the foot of the hill that had been drained shortly before  the construction of the House began. Some of the exotic animals are a sort of reminder that Horodetsky was an  enthusiastic hunter. He used to go to Africa to hunt almost annually, chartering a ship. Once he was reported to have   brought a live giraffe to give to the local zoo.Horodetsky was an excellent engineer, a man possessing a highly rational mind (the evidence of which is his house, which is still standing, built precariously at the top of the hill) and at the same time he loved fantasy and was endowed with a vivid imagination. Horodetsky was a shrewd businessman in addition to being an excellent artist. The ornamentation of the House is made of ferro-concrete, a new building material at the time when the House was being built, and it served as the best possible advertisement of the things one can do with the reinforced concrete. read more...


St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral

St. Nicholas Catholic Cathedral, KievIt was constructed from 1899–1909 and was built by the Latin Rite Catholic community in a Gothic type construction, by Kyiv architects Vladislav Horodetskyi and Emilio Sala. It stands at vulytsia Velyka Vasylkivska (Greater Vasylkiv street) in Pechersk District closer to the National Sports Complex Olimpiysky and the Railroad station.
A competition was held in 1898 for the designs for a Roman Catholic church in Kyiv, which was won by architect Stanislav Volovskiy. His entry into the competition included a Gothic type construction with two 60 m (197 ft) towers. The final revision and management of the project was assigned to the Kyivan architect Vladyslav Horodetskyi, and Emilio Sala added sculptural decoration in artificial stone to the construction. To increase the stability of the construction on the uneven Kyiv ground, it was ensured by bore-and-stuffed piles, a newly introduced invention of Anton Strauss. The construction work was carried out by exclusively from voluntary donations, and lasted for ten years (1899–1909).
In 1909, the church was consecrated in the name of Saint Nicholas, however the construction was not yet completed. A Gothic style three-story house was built for the parish clergy to the left of the church. In 1938, Soviet authorities closed the church after its Roman Catholic priest was "absent" for two years due to the Soviet persecution of Christians. read more...


Askold's Grave

Askold's Grave, KievAskold’s grave is located on the right bank of Dnieper, near to Lipki. The ancient legend says, that in 882 year Novgorod prince Oleg enticed Askold and Dir, who were reigning in Kiev, to this place and killed them for the reason of "an ignoble origin", as they were not Rurik. After that Oleg ascended Kiev throne and promised to make Kiev the mother of Russian cities. It is known, that Askold was called to the throne by Kievers, was baptized in Tsargrad (Constantinople) in 860th, other annals say that probably Dir and Askold took the power over Kiev by force. According to the legend, Askold was buried at the place, where he was killed, and since then this area was called Askold’s grave. Prince Oleg justified himself in descendant’s opinion. He united the separate princedoms into the East Slavic state with the capital in Kiev. He defeated Great Byzantian Tsargrad and placed his shield on its gate. This moment was described by A. S. Pushkin in "Song about Oleg".
There is a legend that in 882 a boat of Prince Oleg, a successor of Novgorod prince Rurik, came to Dnieper coast. “The story of time years” tells us that variags Askold and Dir were Rurik combatants (under other version – the boyars), and had no lawful powers for Kiev board. Prince Oleg enticed them to Dnieper coast, killed with the help of his soldiers and took Kiev throne. Other annals specify, that Askold was the descendant of Kiev founder prince Kij. Some annals also say, that Dir was Askold predecessor and died long before Askold coming to Kiev. read more...


Pirogovo (Pyrohiv) Open-Air Museum of Architecture and Mode of Life

Pirogovo (Pyrohiv) Open Air Folk Museum, KyivThe Museum of Folk Architecture and Mode Life Pirogovo, that is located near Kiev, allows you to make a journey in time and see by yourself what view the different parts of Ukraine had a few centuries ago. Just during one day, you can walk the trails of all regions and to get the knowledge about the life of our ancestors, without leaving the national museum of Pirogovo (Pyrohiv). 
Traditions through the ages Pirogovo Museum is a historical part of the city of Kyiv that takes place on the hills (over 150 hectares) and presents to the tourists about 300 exhibits of a folk architecture in the last 500 years: air mills, wooden churches, apiaries, wells, farmland and simple country houses covered with straw.
Equally impressive are the funds of the museum, whose exposition includes more than 70,000 cultural and everyday objects: tools, clothing, weaving products, pottery, carving and musical instruments, which are often played by invited musicians. read more...


Holodomor Victims Memorial

Holodomor Victims Memorial, KievThe Holodomor (derived from морити голодом, "to kill by starvation") was a man-made faminein Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. It is also known as the Terror-Famine and Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, and sometimes referred to as the Great Famine or The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33. It was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932-33, which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country. During the Holodomor, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine by and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.
It was not until 2006 that the Holodomor, a devastating famine which took place in the Ukraine region of the Soviet Union, was recognized in the Ukrainian parliament as a deliberate act of genocide against the country’s people. The artificially introduced food shortage created under Stalin was at its peak in June 1933, with nearly 28,000 people starving to death every day. Estimates have put the total number of fatalities at approximately 7 million. read more...

Kiev  & Ukraine Private Tour Guides

Uzvar (dried fruit compote)
Ukrainian cuisine, UzvarAnother dish traditionally cooked for the Christmas Eve dinner was uzvar, or compote made of dried fruit and berries - pears, apples, plums, cherries, raspberries, bilberries, etc. After uzvar was removed from the oven, honey or sugar was added, which resulted in the compote having a particular fragrancy. Left overnight to brew, uzvar acquired a golden-reddish tint.


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