Our first and lasting impression of Kiev is that it is a "green" city. It has lots of parks and trees everywhere. It is a pretty city but still has a lot of Soviet influence. First on the agenda was an overview tour the afternoon we arrived.
We met our tour guide, Elena, at the hotel and began with a short walking tour in that vicinity. On the left is a picture of Granny and Elena in front of our hotel. In the background is St. Michael's Cathedral which we will get to later. On the right, We are standing in front of one of the statues that is supposed to bring good luck.
An early stop on our city tour was the People's Friendship Arch. This is a Soviet era monument built to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union and the 1500th anniversary of Kiev. Among other things, it offers a great view of Kiev on the left bank of the Dnieper River.
Kiev is a very old city and goes back before the 11th century. The Golden Gate was one of the main entrances to the fortified city and was constructed about 1017-1024.
A couple of interesting architectural places in Kiev. On the left is the House of Actors and in the center is an historial house on Yaroslaviv Val Street. On the right is the office of the President of the Ukraine.
Across the street from the Presidential Administration building is another architecturally interesting building - House of Chimeras. The original owner was an avid hunter so it is decorated with various animals and other creatures. That's a snake crawling down the wall in the picture on the left and the picture on the right has various sea creatures including mermaids.
On one walk, we were told we would see three cats. The first one is pictured on the left and is a new sculpture made out of plastic forks. I don't have a picture of the second cat, but on the right is the superstitious traveling duo following the custom of patting this cat for good luck. Below is another, brand new, sculpture by the same artist that did the cat. This time a tile piano. That's Maria, our guide for the day, admiring the piano with Granny.
Maria also took us to the Kiev Metro. This is one of the deepest stations in the world at 105.5 meters (346 feet) below the surface. It's a LONG way down (or up). Once you are down, you can see the beautiful mosaics that decorate the walls and arches.
Another stop was the synagogue. The structure is very unimposing on the outside and very simple on the inside.