Skip to content
Home ยป Beautiful Kyiv-Forever in my Heart

Beautiful Kyiv-Forever in my Heart

Share this on:

Introduction

The golden domes of the Saint Sophia Cathedral glittering in the sun. The snow-white flowers crowning the mighty chestnut trees in the spring. The gorgeous lilac and peonies blooming in the vast parks and gardens, their incredible aroma making your head spin. The bright lights of the magnificent Khreschatyk street illuminating the night sky. The steep Andriyivsky Descent with a myriad of shops, art galleries and cafes giving a warm welcome to the tourists and locals. The children riding their bikes in the yards, their carefree laughter filling everyone’s hearts with joy.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv

These are some of my memories of the beautiful Kyiv during the peacetime.

Seems like a hundred years ago.

Beautiful Kyiv under attack

When Russia just invaded Ukraine, Putin and Russian commanders were intending to capture Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, within three days. Quickly and painlessly. Like ripping a band aid. Install the puppet regime in Kyiv, loyal to Russia, and live happily ever after.

Needless to say, this didn’t happen. Not even remotely.

Kyiv’s defenders were ready to fight till the last drop of blood. Nothing scared them–not even a long, threatening column of Russian military vehicles.

The resistance was so fierce that capturing Kyiv became nothing more than a pipe dream for the Russians. They eventually retreated and focused their efforts on the East of the country.

Although Russia realized that capturing Kyiv was not a possibility and turned its army away, bombardments still go on. For months, the Ukrainian capital has been under constant attack by the merciless Russian missiles and drones which are destroying buildings and killing people. Just before the New Year, Russian missiles again struck Kyiv, killing one person and injuring twenty. This time, Russians were not trying to hit infrastructure or military targets, but targeted purely residential areas.

On a positive side, with more experience, Ukrainians have gotten a lot better intercepting the drones and missiles using the advanced defense systems. The hope is that with the new Patriot system, one of the best air defense systems in the world, Ukrainians will now be able to protect its airspace even better.

How Ukrainians are protecting cultural heritage during the war

In an effort to preserve Kyiv’s rich cultural heritage, the authorities have shielded many of its landmarks from Russian bombs using sandbags and scaffolding. If you walk around Kyiv today, you might not be able to see some of the famous monuments, as they are well covered.

One of the monuments which has been shielded from Russian bombardment is the Bohdan Khmelnytsky monument in the Sofiyska Square. This monument was built in 1888 and is dedicated to the famous Ukrainian military commander and the first Hetman of Zaporizhian Host.

Bohdan Khmelnytsky Monument

The monument to Ukraine’s famous author and painter, Taras Shevchenko, has also been covered. Taras Shevchenko, the founder of the modern Ukrainian language and literature, was born to the family of serfs in 1814. Thanks to his tremendous talent, he gained great fame in his native country and throughout the world. The author wrote over two hundred poems and also created almost a thousand of various paintings and engraved works.

Monument to Taras Shevchenko

The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

Another important landmark which has been shielded from the bombs is the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the famous Orthodox monastery with many structures (monuments, cathedrals, caves, bell towers) which was founded in the 11th century.

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery

The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra already suffered significant damage during the World War II. Back in 1941, a few months after the Nazis occupied Kyiv, the Dormition Cathedral was destroyed by an explosion. Only one seventh of the cathedral survived and many historical artifacts disappeared.

Historians are still debating who was behind the explosion–the Nazi Germans or the Soviets–and there are valid arguments on both sides. The Soviets claimed that the cathedral was destroyed by the Nazis, while the Nazis denied this claim and put the blame on the Bolsheviks who practiced the tactic of “scorched earth” while withdrawing (destroying all of the important objects which could be valuable to the opponent).

The reconstruction of the Cathedral started in 1998 and was completed in 2000. One dome is different from others, reminding the visitors of the sad history of this beautiful masterpiece. On the bright side, during the excavations, the archeologists discovered a settlement of the Trypillian culture, one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, indicating that the history of this area goes back thousands of years.

With the war raging in Ukraine, we can only hope that all the buildings of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra will remain undamaged.

Dormition Cathedral

By now, a lot of religious sites in other cities of Ukraine have been damaged and destroyed. In particular, the Sviatohirsk Lavra Monastery, the historic wooden church in Donetsk, was destroyed by fire. The All Saints Shrine in the village of Tetianivka burnt down due to heavy shelling.

Kyiv- the 2023 Honorary Best City in the World

In 2023, Kyiv was named the Honorary Best City in the Best Cities ranking and described as the beacon of courage and resilience. Best Cities is the Resonance Consultancy’s exclusive ranking of the world’s top urban destinations. The Resonance Consultancy scores cities along the following six metrics, the 6 Ps: place (weather, outdoor activities), programming (cultural activities, shopping), promotion (available recommendations for travelers), people (diversity), prosperity (employment rate, presence of large corporates), product (attractions, infrastructure).

Some of the advantages of Kyiv highlighted by the authors include a cheap and efficient system of transportation, many options for housing in both the right (historical) and left (residential) bank of Dnipro river, a large number of shopping malls and restaurants, multiple recreational opportunities (Trukhaniv Island, Hidropark beaches), as well as the availability of many parks and concert venues.

In conclusion

The war isn’t going to last forever. With Western support, the Ukrainian army is already making significant advances. Ukrainian victory gets closer with every coming day.

As soon as the war is over, tourists will again stream to the beautiful Kyiv. The locals who chose to find the refuge abroad will also return. The children’s laughter will fill up the air. The shields will come off the architectural masterpieces, and the whole world will be able to admire their tremendous beauty all over again.

It will be a new beginning for the beautiful Kyiv. The start of a new life.

Central Kyiv
Share this on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

en_USEnglish