Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and I had the opportunity to go in 1997, six years after they gained independence from Russia . I was there about three weeks volunteering at the Archaeological Museum in Pereyaslav, a village about four hours away from the capital. My hope, at that time, was to find a country for so many years been under Communism and was excited about the future.
In Kiev I was surprised that there were almost no tourists and I was amazed because the beauty of the city was breathtaking. Just at that time, they were restoring many of the historic buildings that had been destroyed by previous rulers of their country. Even then, you could see the immense tourism potential of this great country and I highly recommend a visit. In Kiev, visitors will find a large city of about 3 million people. The area is very green as it is full of trees and has a large park. It is, thus, a very nice city to visit and to get to know walking around. Also, there are many English churches to see, much of them are Orthodox. Their golden domes are visible from various parts of the city.
The statue of the Russian mother forms part of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Kiev.
Here is some Trivia:
1) It measures 62 meters tall
2) Its made of steel construction
3) the base measures 102 feet
4) It weighs 560 tons
5) She is holding sword in her right hand that is 16 feet long and weighs nine tons, while in the left hand has a shield with the emblem of the Soviet Union, which measures thirteen meters and weighs eight tons.
6) At dawn the sun illuminates her correnating the city
The train station in the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is beautiful. It was built in the communist era with typical characteristics of this period, slightly more Baroque than its contemporaries. The outside is white and the inside white and mint green with lots of arches and embossed ceilings. What is most striking inside is the medallions dedicated to relevant communist figures, such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin ... An unusual Communist decoration, really. The decoration on the ceilings is beautiful and very elaborate. The stand out feature outside is the clock tower, topped by a red star and with a red border. It is one of the most beautiful train stations in Eastern Europe, and is extremely well looked after.
Novyy Svit, literally means New World, and it is a population of Crimea, which is very near Sudak. This tourist resort, is know for the beauty of its shores, as it is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty where many Soviet films have been filmed. It boasts quality beaches, a couple of hotels, a tunnel several miles inside a mountain with shops and a large forest of Junipers. There is a restaurant whose windows overlook the beach, it is a wonder to be sipping on a drink while enjoying the views. Although the beach has pebbles, it is a very nice place, you can go hiking in the mountains, to see coves and other places of the place. This is a beautiful place that you will surely enjoy.
This monastery is home to churches, caves, underground tunnels, crypts and ecclesiastical objects, Historical Treasures Museum of Decorative Art, and Ukrainian printed books. There are several guides in various languages that go along with the tour, so communication will be smooth.
The Potemkin Stairs are the famous steps that can be found in Odessa. They connect the city center with the port. The steps were named after the movie "Battleship Potemkin." In 2007 the Potemkin stairs were recognized as one of the most beautiful sights in Europe. There are currently 192 steps and the ladder length is 142 meters and is one of the attractions of Odessa.
The stadium in Kiev, while not as impressive as others in Europe, is close to a large park and is dedicated to the memory of one of the most important figures of Ukrainian / Russian football, Colonel Valeriy Lobanovskyi. There are some statues, pictures and monuments here.
A bronze statue to Armand Emmanuel du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu, who made a strong contribution to the development of Odessa. The monument is directed towards the sea, in front of is the Potemkin Stairs. Richelieu became Governor of Odessa in 1803, thanks to the governor, the city became an important trading port. With the return of the Bourbons to the throne, Richelieu returned to France, where he died in 1822 and the people raised money to make a statue.
The port the city of Odessa was founded in the year 1794, by a decree of Catherine the Great as a maritime gateway of the Russian Empire for its southern part. People lived here since the Stone Age. Since the year 2000 it has been considered freeport tax legislation and has a more relaxed rule than normal. The figure of the woman and the child land fishermen who are about to leave, with the sounds and voices of the building of the boats. It was once one of the most important ports in Europe. There is also an Orthodox church in the same port and can walk to the ocean in the area where people can access boats. It is primarily industrial is a must if we are to Odessa, as the history of this city is linked to it.
It is an historic town of Crimea, founded in the 13th century by the Mongols who made it the capital of the Emirate of Crimea. It was so prosperous that it became known as the second Baghdad. Today, it has 9000 inhabitants. The Mosque and Madrasa were constructed in 1314. The city lost its grandeur and population when the Khanate of Crimea Bakhchisaray moved its capital. Much was destroyed by Russian communism. I really liked this place, the people are very friendly and are surprised when you tell them who you are, because there are not many tourists. The imam told us the history of the place as they were trying to rebuild the Madrassa through donations, but it is very rare.
In Stary Krym there is a house museum of the Crimean Tatars. It is the private home of a woman descending from them and she tries to preserve and display their lifestyle. The Crimean Khanate was the State of the Crimean Tatars from 1441-1783, when it was annexed by Russia. The War of 1853 and the laws of 1860-63 and 1874 caused an exodus of Tatars. After World War II they were exported en masse and many died. Currently only 250,000 live there many of whom have returned to their ancient homeland from Asia and Turkey. The house was very large and had photos of clothing, kitchen utensils and work tools. I found it very interesting as I didn't know much about them. The woman spoke Russian but so did one of our group so he translated.
Both in Crimea and the Ukraine, Lenin is everywhere. There are statues and sculptures of the historical figure in the city's most important places, and the most representative and common image is the one where he is standing with papers in his hand. Opposite the train Simferopol station, there is a very nice statue in which Lenin is casually sitting on a bench looking into infinity. Behind it, there is a garden, which looks like a post card.
It's a castle near Yalta. It was built between 1911 and 1912 and is 40 meters high on the Aurora Cliff. Your view of the Castle from the sea is beautiful and the expectations rise as you approach. It sits on the cape of Ai-todor. It was built in neo-Gothic style by the Russian architect Leonid Sherwood. In 1927, the Swallow's Nest endured an earthquake of more than 6 on the Richter scale. The building was not damaged, except for some small decorative elements that were fell into the sea along with a small part of the cliff. However, the cliff itself did developed a huge crack. For a long time, the Swallow's Nest was closed to the public due to damage sustained in the earthquake. Now it is a European food restaurant, mainly Italian food, what a shame!
The Khan's Palace or as it's also known Hansaray, in Bakhchisaray, Crimea, Ukraine. This impressive structure was built in the Sixteenth century and became home to a succession of Crimean Khans. Inside the incredible walled enclosure there is a mosque, a harem, a cemetery, houses and gardens. The interior of the palace was decorated with the beautiful architecture and decorative Sixteenth century Tartar. The palace complex and minaret were built by Russian and Ukrainian slaves under the command of Ottoman architects, who were of Persian and Italian decent. It was rebuilt more recently, as many of the structures did not survive beyond the Eighteenth century.
The city of Yalta is situated on the south of Crimea and is well known for holing the famous "Conference" (from Yalta). This was the meeting held during the Second World War, from 4 to February 11, 1945. Attendees were Stalin, F. W.Churchill, and Roosevelt, as heads of government of the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States respectively. With just over 80,000 inhabitants, Yalta is found along the Black Sea coast. It is a summer resort for wealthy Russians, and its spa is infamous. Without a doubt it is worth taking one of the boats which take you along the coast. This way you have the option to see all the palaces, such as the "Livadia" among others (this is where the conference was hosted).
The cemetery is logically Hansaray Muslim Palace. Inside the enclosure, behind the mosque. Not very big, the graves are very old, there is a path of trees that leads to them. It exudes peace and tranquility and is one of the places that most retains its original state. The tombs have inscriptions and reliefs and are really nice.
One of the things that I like about the area of Crimea is bread. Thier bread is totally different from what I thought it would be, there is a "kink", flat edge, and with a characteristic smell. This delicious bread is better when warm. it's so tasty ... uhmmmm. Delicious! Crimea is mostly Muslim and this is seen in their diet, including bread. Fantastic!