Kiev bleg

You know the drill — where to go, what to do, and what to eat?  I thank you in advance for your wisdom and advice.

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The monastery complex is amazing. I also went to a Ukrainian food buffet where you pay by the pound, but I never thought to ask the name. But it was good!

It's a chain of restaurants called Puzata Chata (Пузата хата). And yes, it's very decent and reasonably priced.

That could be it. I was there 12 years ago, so things may have changed in the intervening time. The fact I can't read Cyrillic well makes remembering what anything was called even harder.

My wife's relatives frequent Puzata Chata. Locals enjoy it, and probably worth a visit.

I think it is a good exercise to internalize the city’s structure,” she said, adding that it makes you take notice more of the environment and people around you. The streamlink software in Kieve is small if you compare it with others around the world, but it’s characterized by being very supportive,” said executive director Johnny.
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-tips-artists-settle-new-city

1. I second the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery complex. In the complex grounds you can also visit the Museum of Microminiatures for 50 UAH ($2 USD).

2. The Ukrainian food buffet that Rochelle mentioned might be Puzata Hata, which is an affordable cafeteria-style restaurant where everyday Ukrainians go to eat. Their vareniki (dumplings) are quite good, and they have locations everywhere.

3. My favorite restaurant in Kiev is Gogi (a Georgian restaurant). They have more than one location but go to the one next to the famous red building of Taras Shevchenko University: Lva Tolstoho St, 13, Kiev 01034. There's a nice park across from the red building. At Gogi, try the Khinkali (think xiao long bao on steroids and you eat it with your hand) as well as the khachapuri (flaky pies with cheese/meats). Don't miss the chance to try Georgion wine. I read somewhere that some archaeologists believe wine originated from the Georgia region.

4. Visit the Bulgagov Museum, which was his childhood home and book an English tour. It's in the Andriivsky Descent/Padol neighborhood, which is nice for strolling.

5. Another museum worth visiting is the World War II Museum. Make sure to get an English-speaking tour. The exhibits will make much more sense, and they're great about fielding questions.

6. If you want to get the chills, visit the Holodomor Memorial that's walking distance from the WW2 Museum. I had a guide with me, and I recommend the same. If you don't want to pay, brush up on your history of the tragic famine that involved families turning against and eating each other.

7. Make sure to try the Metro subway when going around. The deepest underground metro station in the world is the Arsenalna (it's on the red line immediately after Kreshchatyk).

Great recs.

I visited the monastery "compound" in 1980. Of course, back in the day, the people who lived there - mostly good-hearted young people who wanted to pray and to live a good life - did not see it as a "compound", it was just a nice place where they lived and worked and prayed (of course, the gifted (that word - 'gifted' - can be read two ways) historian understands that there was too much cruelty there, but that is true of almost every place that you can name (Beulah Land, somewhere in Egypt, is an exception, as is the Garden of Paradise, and - trust me - I have seen a few side streets in places like Albany, and Madison, Wisconsin, and Gwynn, Michigan - which, as are quite a few other places that the happiest among us used to live in, places where cruel people are far away and not all that important (I never lived in one of those places, I am not anything like the happiest amongst us, but I can live with that)

If I could remember every word of the people who I visited with, that day in 1980 in the historical place where Kiev has its version of the Mountain of Athos, I would be very happy.

I remember about half, or maybe even about a quarter. maybe even less, but I remember a few beautiful words ....

Some day somebody is going to do for that monastery what poor Shakespeare did for the royal court of Macbeth or what Tolkien did for the graveyards of Gondor and it's neighbors. I won't be the person to do that, but someday somebody is going to do that.

Feel free to delete this, I say to whichever (whenever?) intern is on duty right now. I tried to explain how someone who has seen the salvation that God gives all of us might think about the historical places in Kiev that remind us that we are born to be less cruel, every day of our lives, and if you think that is worth deleting, go ahead and delete it. But I can picture what Beulah land looked like, and when you delete my comment, you delete the comment of one of the few people (are we a dozen? a hundred? more than that?) who might be the only person in the last two decades of the internet who might have said something like that.

Beulah land. Green trees, Blue skies. Nice weather. She loved him, He loved her. You have no idea how hard I worked to make somebody a little less cruel, as he aged, and as he grew older. Cor ad for loquitur ....

and no effort of yours to make someone else's life better will be unrecognized.

trust me. Beulah Land. Green trees, sad joyful fields, blue skies, almost white clouds, He loved her, she loved him. You have no idea of how hard I worked to make somebody less cruel, as that person aged into what could have been bitterness, if there were not friends to say: God wants us to love each other, cor ad cor loquitur ...

Kiev is a beautiful city. But be polite, that is always important. Don't pretend you know what their grandparents suffered. God loves us all and so so many of us suffer in order to make others safe. (Translated Into Ukrainian, that is exactly 25 syllables)

I-20 and MLK

In short, allocating extra time to the monastery might be worthwhile on any visit to Kiev. Feel free to delete any comments I make, it is not my website, and it is a good one, and I certainly don't think all my comments are all that useful! If you do leave the long comment from a few hours ago up, though, I just wanted to add that the old person I was talking about was half-Ukrainian ethnically (from the Lviv district), an old relative, and for the last few years of that person's life just me (a distant relative) and an aging spouse were the only people to speak long and patiently with that person, who was falling further into dementia every year. Also, I prayed a lot for that person, and gave lots of alms for that person's spiritual benefit (alms in the form of money to charities and charity cases). No more than that, but I think if that person had felt more abandoned in dementia, the last years (the 1990s, mostly) would have been a lot more bitter.

Visit the Chernobyl site?

Or just go to the Chernobyl Museum in Kyiv if you're feeling less adventurous.

Chernobyl museum has some memorabilia, but it is pretty crappy unless you have a guide who knows a lot about the accident and tell you what is what. The "modern art exhibit" in the big hall is execrable.

The Kinoneo site https://www.linkedin.com/company/kinoneo-ipx/ will be up soon: Made with Love on Earth...and the chez We Are TV has a funny video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQwyfMp3vyc

You must visit Viktor Yanukovych's house called Mezhyhiyya. It is the best example of official corruption in the world. It cost hundreds of millions to build; all of it stolen by Yanukovych. You will be amazed. It is a 21st century Versailles.
You will also be amazed how cheap things are. Well lower than so called cheap places like Poland and Hungary. Very few tourists. You will not find anything crowded. Very good food for no money. As a long time daily reader, I look forward to your comments.

"Museum of Corruption", an amazing scenery there though :)

Try the chicken.

Good job.

He’s here all week.

The Lavra. Go into the caves, be amazed by the small size of the medieval humans.

Sophia. Climb the bell tower for some really nice views.

Museum of the History of Ukraine is little known and seriously underrated. You will have to walk down Andriyivskyy Uzviz anyway, the museum is right at the top of it, so give it an hour or two.

Once you've walked down the Uzviz, climb back up on the funicular. Before you do that, you might want to walk over to Nikola, their khachapuri and khinkali are extremely properly made, though there are many other good Georgian restaurants - the only requirement for your trip is to visit at least one. You can skip Ukrainian cuisine - it's good but not significantly different from the rest of Eastern Europe - but Georgian is an absolute must.

If you do eat in an Ukrainian restaurant, be like Ukrainian, get yourself some cherry vareniki. Eat them dipping them into cold sour cream one at a time. Here's a video manual of the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlBLMpbTxk8

When walking down Khreschatyk, turn onto Bohdana Khmelnytskoho, on the left-hand side you will see a small window with a line to it. This is Kyivska Perepichka. It's just sausage in a dough, but this is an iconic street food place, so get one and walk on.

For a taste of a classic American diner done right, visit one of Zheltok locations for breakfast. And the already mentioned Puzata Hata is how you properly do fast food in general.

Find yourself an art cafe to have some good coffee and to watch the young IT workers lifting the Ukrainian economy on their shoulders.

Change your ticket to leave a couple of days later than originally planned. You'll want to do that after the first day spent there.

First time commenter, long time reader.

A lot of good suggestions above. My wife was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and we recently visited earlier this year. I would HIGHLY recommend Khutorets on the Dnieper for authentic Ukrainian cuisine:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294474-d1790363-Reviews-Khutorets_on_the_Dnieper-Kiev.html

You'll pay about $30-40 USD equivalent per person, but it was the best meal I've had in a long time.

Other tips:

1. I would recommend downloading the Foursquare app if you wander around the city. Should help you find eateries nearby that the locals frequent.

2. Be wary of the local water supply. I would recommend buying and drinking only bottled water just to be safe.

3. Use Uber. Ridiculously cheap to get around the city. Public transit is a mess. One time I was on a bus with my wife and the bus driver decided his shift was over, stopped the bus, and told us all to get out. In response, an old babushka muttered, "Kakoi kozel!" (translation: "What a goat!").

Two words: Chicken Kiev

Don't fall for the usual tourist traps. Go to the less frequented parts of Kiev, such as the Obolon district. Visit one of the tiny eateries near the old industrial complex there and order a large bowl of green bortsch (don't bother with the red one) and ask for pampushkas with extra garlic. If you have more than a day go north along the Dnipro to one of the local fish huts and ask for a wild caught trout, boiled not grilled.

Definitely concur on the value of a Dnipro river cruise.

Bessarabsky Market is possibly the best fresh food market east of Lyon.

How could I forget about the markets in summer. They are crazy good.

You will never find better tomatoes than those sold at Ukrainian markets. There's a reason most heirloom varieties you can get from American tomato geeks are Eastern European in origin - but in America, you have to make an effort to grow them, while in Ukraine that shit just grows like weeds and tastes like nowhere else.

Also: peaches, plums, Kherson watermelons, little cucumbers, maybe some of the earliest apples (they'll be green and therefore better than the ripe ones)... Unfortunately, a bit too late for currants and cherries (the ones sold now will be imported or stored and not as great as direct farm to market).

“I was wondering how to be a woman in my red pajamas, my striped sweater. I was wondering how, if the bell rang, I would run down the stairs a woman in clothes, as if someone had written a story about our day, where we stayed on this side of the snow that was falling, and the inside was our city.

Enjoy Ukraine before Trump gives it away to Putin.

Never gonna happen. The same people who stopped the Russians in 2014 can do that again in 2018 - with better training, discipline, and equipment. And they really don't give a fuck about what politicians might think or want.

As for the Crimea however .....

(Which in all fairness is not considered really part of the Ukraine by just about anyone - Tatars, Turks, Russians to name a few, but also other Eastern Europeans, at least the older ones who actually remember who the territory was transferred at the whim of a Soviet leader - who just happened, ever so coincidentally, to be a Ukrainian himself.)

"older ones who actually remember who the territory was transferred at the whim of a Soviet leader "
And the historically Polish Lwów and Wilno were transferred to Ukraine and Lithuania respectively and Stettin and Breslau were transferred from Germany to Poland also at the whim of a Soviet leader, are you implying that some of those other Soviet imposed transfers should be up for renegotiation?

Yes. a very reasonable argument can be made that changing any European boundaries for any reason can lead to real problems, and that quite convincing argument would certainly mean that the Crimea should be restored as Ukrainian territory.

However, most people consider slapping 'Ukrainian' on the Crimea was done at the whim of a Soviet leader, when it was all part of the Soviet Union anyways. That Putin ignored a treaty is beyond question, of course.

And you left out Kalinigrad, which is a source of serious concern in terms of the Baltic states. Strangely, almost as if the Russians feel extremely protective (rightly or wrongly is irrelevant) of military regions they consider very important to their defense - such as the region where the Black Sea fleet is located.

I thought of Kaliningrad a few moments later but absolutely. Calling it a Russian city is absurd historically.
There's an urban legend in Poland that around 1990-91 the Soviet Union or Russia was looking to sell it to Poland which declined since it didn't have any money and didn't want to have to deal with a Russian speaking minority.
But Crimea as part of Ukraine made sense in terms of infrastructure and there was no broad dissatisfaction with being part of Ukraine (especially for Tatars and those who had managed to successfully adapt to a Crimea without communism) until Russia invaded and made such dissatisfaction mandatory.
And Russia has still not given up its hope for a land bridge without which Crimea is a large white elephant (hence troop build ups around Mariupol)

To use the Presidential language of that time... if they had liked Crimea, they could have kept Crimea.

Kiev native here. From my visits to (Southern) Europe I've concluded that Ukrainian tomatoes are indeed the best anywhere I tried. Cucumbers and other local produce is also universally good, high quality every single time. So I guess try some basic salads, ignore the fancier ones, let the basic ingredients shine through.

When ordering meat go for pork, it's just the best pork anywhere (I'm not talking about "salo" pork belly, which can be worth a try as well and is the nominal "Ukrainian food" anyway).

That often recommended "Perepichka" place is a hole in a wall selling sausage in greasy dough, that's it, no twist to it. It isn't worth standing in a line for or eating in the first place. The place was there for decades so it found its way into every guide but not for the food itself.

You can pick any specific dish yourself but try something with sour cream as well.

+1 regarding tomatoes, cucumbers, and local produce

You may enjoy cottage cheese from a farmers market there, too.

There's a "secret" Maidan restaurant below the squaire. It's kitschy and touristiy, but quirky enough to be worth a visit:
https://www.kyivpost.com/lifestyle/food-clubs/secret-restaurant-ukrainian-tastes.html

"Nisbett’s second-favorite example is that economists, who have absorbed the lessons of the sunk-cost fallacy, routinely walk out of bad movies and leave bad restaurant meals uneaten." https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/09/cognitive-bias/565775/ Guess who is cited for leaving bad meals uneaten? You are correct: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/six-rules-for-dining-out/308929/

For traditional Ukrainian/Russian food done well with a modern twist, Kanapa is my favorite. It's "high end" but not too finicky, and prices are very reasonable by US standards.

http://borysov.com.ua/en/kanapa

Beyond food, there's an exhibition of memorials for soldiers who've died in the current conflict with Russia that I found moving at The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War. While there, you can climb to the top of the Motherland Statue if you'd like a little exercise and a view.

The monument/museum dedicated to Holodomor is interesting as well.

One last thing: in the unlikely event you need to seek serious/urgent medical care while you're there, going to a private medical clinic is vastly preferable to entering the third-world state health system.

I spent about a dozen years working in Kyiv but was last there about a dozen years ago. It is a pleasant city with likable people but without much in the way of world class sights or good food. Used to enjoy walking down Khryshatik, the main drag, on a Sunday when it was closed off to traffic. Highlights of the food are appetizers (pickled and marinated stuff), pelmeni/vareniki and any soup. Main courses are forgettable -- go for your typical Soviet shashlik or chicken tabaka. Find some local places and steer clear of the gangster and oligarch hangouts with overpriced faux French food. I never got to Baba Yar but think that would be worth visiting if only to see how the atrocity is now described.

St Sophia is lovely and evokes both Kievan Rus and the Cossack Republic.

The Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Art is a small bit fine collection of old masters and Asian art, plus some extraordinarily early icons.

>where to go

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_the_History_of_Ukraine_in_the_Second_World_War
https://artarsenal.in.ua/en/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sophia%27s_Cathedral,_Kiev
Alley of the Heaven's Hundred Heroes https://tools.wmflabs.org/geohack/geohack.php?language=en&params=50_26_52.1_N_30_31_45.4_E_scale:6000&pagename=%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%8F_%D0%93%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%97%D0%B2_%D0%9D%D0%B5%D0%B1%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%97_%D0%A1%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%BD%D1%96

>what to do

have fun

>what to eat

Borscht, chicken kyiv, varenyki and salo!

I grew up in Kiev in the 80s - early 90s but haven't lived there recently.

The main sites are obvious: the Lavra, St Sophia, Andriyivskiy Uzviz, St Andrew's church, St Volodymyr's. On my visit last year, the food at the Favorite Uncle (Любимый дядя) on Pankivska St was excellent. Definitely ride the metro.

I would most of all recommend going on a long walk around the city with some locals, which is what many of them do as a pastime. Go around the center, Pechersk, Podil, the parks above the river. Find someone who has lived there long enough to tell you what was there "before", since one of the most interesting things about the place is how it's changed in the last 30 years. Many of the old buildings are decrepit and all the new ones are ugly, but there is character.

I'd also certainly go to a farmer's market, again with a local. The fruit can be excellent. Even if you are staying in the center, avoid Bessarabka, locals don't go there.

Second the monastery complex and Chernobyl trips. You can spend a whole day at each.

The art is also pretty good. Pinchuk Art Centre is sponsored by one of Ukraine's biggest oligarchs, but the art inside suggests it's not a bad way for him to spend his money. You should also try and see IZOLYATSIA, which was a contemporary gallery in Donetsk that now exists in exile in Kyiv (it was one of the first things separatists attacked after they took over the city)

Food: Musafir do Crimean Tatar food (it's similar to Turkish)

Shoti do amazing Georgian food, get the khachapuri and anything that comes in pots

Kanapa does fantastic contemporary Ukrainian food

Puzata Hata is what ordinary Kyivites eat for lunch

Vagabond Cafe near Kyiv Mohlya University make lovely kasha for breakfast

I've never been to Pizza Veterano, and I dunno whether you're prepared to try Ukrainian pizza, but if you want to meet and chat to veterans of the War in Donbas, it's run by and employs them as a social enterprise

I was just in Kiev for my first time a couple weeks ago. Wonderful city. Below are a few recommendations.

There are two restaurants I'd suggest visiting. The first is called Pervak and serves wonderful borsch, meats, cheeses, and a variety of authentic Ukrainian dishes. Near Perfack is a (literally) colorful market called Bessarabsky Market where you can buy a wide variety of fresh fruits, spices, nuts, etc.

The second restaurant I'd recommend is called Ostannya Barykuda ("last bunker") or "Ob" which is a "secret" restaurant underneath Independence Square. To get there you have to go into the mall under the square, find an elevator, press the number for the "secret" floor, and you'll find yourself in a small area. They won't let you enter without the correct password. (Actually, they will but you'll go through some drama along the way.) I know it sounds very touristy, but the experience was unique, the ambiance incredible, and the Ukrainian food outstanding. Here, I'd highly recommend the green borsch, and berry and cheese salad, any of their main dishes, and Kiev cake for dessert.

For sure visit St. Sophia's Cathedral and Independence Square. They are not far from each other (15 minute walk). St. Michael's Gold Domed Monastery is just down the street from St. Sophia's and also worth a visit. St. Andrew's Church was closed when I was there.

For museums, the Homodor Genocide Musuem is worth a quick visit. It documents the man-made famines the Soviets inflicted on Ukraine. The exhibits are not in English, but they do have a movie in English interview survivors and family members who discuss their experience, and discuss how journalists who tried to expose the famine to the rest of the world had their reputations ruined.

Other museums worth a visit include the World War II Museum (under a huge Motherland Monument) and the National Art Museum of Ukraine (relatively small, but well worth a visit).

If you have the time, I'd strongly suggest doing the Chernobyl day tour from Kiev. Book early to make sure you can get in.

If you have even more time, a side trip to Lviv for a couple days is well worth the time. It is very different from Kiev in terms of food, culture, and architecture. Much more Polish influence. Delightful city.

Spell it 'Kyiv' Ukrainian spelling, not 'Kiev', Russian spelling.
Maidan square fascinating for its beauty, order, and peace. Was it true that just a few years ago Kyiv was a true battleground?

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