Friday, July 23, 2010

Kiev in Summer

This is my second full day in Kiev and it is gorgeous but blazing hot. Staying at Hotel Rus near the center, a big place but with pleasant though small rooms and reasonable prices, about $75 a night for air conditioned room and a lovely big buffet breakfast. It is within walking distance of a lot of sites, including St. Sophia and St. Vladimir Cathedral. The former dates from the 11 th century and is a lovely place to escape the heat on its green lawns with big trees. Admission to the church itslef costs 40 hrvinas, about 4 euros, but who can say no to such an historic place? St. Vladimir church is much more recent, but also lovely and there is no admission charge. Caught a service there yesterday afternoon.

Kiev is where it all started for Russia, in the 9th century when some wandering Vikings decided this would be a good place to live. Kievan Rus was the origin of the entire country, and Russian is still the main language in this part of a more or less independent Ukraine.It is a hilly city on the banks of the Dnieper River, much bombed during World War II and the scene of one of the most horrific Nazi massacres of Jews and others at Babi Yar. Yevtushenko memorialized it in a poem.

Looking forward to a cruise on the Dnieper River starting Sunday.

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