FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Architectural adventures in Kyiv

Posted in Kyiv, Ukraine by folkestonejack on February 25, 2008

The morning started out with a self-guided tour of the city to find some of the more interesting architecture in the city, starting with the remarkable House of Chimeras which is decorated with all manner of sculptures from frogs to lizards which struck me as a little disconcerting – not least the snake sliding down the wall! I’ve never seen anything quite like it, though a little later I saw equally bizarre and creepy decorations at Richard’s Castle on Andreyevsky Spusk.

The house of chimeras

A snake descends from the house of chimeras

Detail from Richard's Castle

After leaving behind the unusual sights of these buildings I headed out of the city centre towards the other major attraction in the city – the Kievo Pecherskaya Lavra. Along the way I passed the distinctive Hotel Salyut which is a great example of Soviet architecture, even if it has seen better days! The intriguing design extends to the interior as the rooms of this circular building are accessed off a spiral ramp.

Hotel Salyut

The lavra is an amazing complex awash with churches and shrines, as well as a series of underground chapels in caves that are accessed by tunnels running underneath the complex. I bought a candle to light the way and followed some locals into the cave system, though many areas are now restricted to true pilgrims as an understandable reaction to the increasing numbers of tourists (like me!).

Lane inside the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra

Kievo Pecherskaya Lavra

Troitskaya Church

After leaving the lavra I headed on to the Golden Gate, the heavily restored fortification that was built in 1017-1024 and which was once served as the main gateway into Kyiv. Although the museum was shut I grabbed a couple of shots in full tourist mode!

Golden Gate, Kyiv

Finally, I headed to the last attraction of the day – St Sophia’s Cathedral – and spent some time inside the church admiring its decorated walls and mosaics. I was exhausted by the time the sun set but felt I’d got as much as I could out of the day.

St Sophia's Catherdral, Kyiv

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