Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Aug 3, 2013


This morning, after unsuccessful attempt to hire an English speaking guide, the hotel staff helped us to hire a taxi driver to take us to various city sights on our list.

We passed by the elegant building of the National Opera House. Opened in 1901, it has witnessed many impressive opera performances, as well as the murder of the then prime minister during the intermission on September 14, 1911.

National Opera House
Our first destination was the Golden Gates of Kiev, a historic gateway in the 11th century city fortress. It was one of the three entrances to the walled city.  Currently it serves as a museum.

Golden Gates of Kiev
A statue of Yaroslav the Wise stands in front of the Gates. In this sculpture Yaroslav is shown holding a model of the St. Sophia Cathedral, which was built around the same time.

Yaroslav the Wise
 Next we went to the Sophia Square, so named after the Saint Sophia Cathedral which stands on one side of the square.  The major feature of the cathedral is its tall bell tower.

Saint Sophia Catheral

The Cathedral is one of the city's best known landmarks and is recognized as the World Heritage site. Its 1000th anniversary was celebrated in 2011.

St. Michael's Monastery
Then we visited St. Michael's Monastery. It has a golden dome and includes a cathedral. Demolished by the Soviets in the 1930s, it was reconstructed and opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence.

Bohdan Khmeinytsky Monument

A monument to Bohdan Khmeinytsky stands in front of the monastery. Khmeinytsky was a leader of Ukrainian Cossacks, who announced Ukraine’s union with Russia in 1654.
 Next on our list was the blue-domed, 20th century St. Andrew Church.  According to a legend, before the settlement of Kiev, Apostle Andrew found a cross on this site, and prophesied beginning of a city here.

Then we went to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). Located at the city center, it is a historical square. Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, it has been the site of student protests and hunger strikes as well as the world-famous Orange Revolution. Such events led to the resignation of a prime minister and an additional round of presidential elections.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti
The square has a glass-domed, underground shopping Mall as well as many important monuments like those to the kobza-playing national folklore hero Cossack Mamay; Kiev’s founding brothers Kyi, Schek and Horeb, and their sister Lybed; and

Kiev’s Founders
Goddess Berehynia
Slavic home-and-hearth-protecting goddess Berehynia.

Finally we headed to the River Dnieper Embankment.

River Dnieper Embankment
From there on the top of a hill, we could see the Mother Motherland monument. This monumental statue is a part of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. It displays marble plaques with carved names of about 12,000 soldiers and others who had been honored during the war with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor.

Mother Motherland Monument
Like the Independence Square, the embankment also has a monument to the legendary Founders of Kiev –

brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid.

Nearby is the Tree of Wishes, which is frequented by newly-married couples.

Tree of Wishes

By now we were tired. We headed back to our hotel for dinner, and prepare for our 6:25 a.m. flight to Amsterdam, on the way back home via Reykjavik and Seattle.




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