Kiev, a scenic city of close to 3 million people situated on the Dnipro River, is the bustling capital of Ukraine. The ancient state of Kievan Rus, which reached its greatest period of ascendancy during the 11th and 12th centuries, was a centre of trade routes between the Baltic and the Mediterranean. The city of Kiev and the power of Kievan Rus were destroyed in 1240 by Mongol invaders and the lands were divided into principalities located to the west and north: Galicia, Volynia, Muscovy and later, Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. Once a powerful force on the European scene, Ukraine’s fate in modern times has been decided in far-off capitals. As a result, modern Ukrainian history, for the most part, has been defined by foreign occupation.
The art and architecture of Kiev are world treasures. The Cathedral of St. Sophia, where the princes of Kiev were crowned in the years of Kiev’s grandeur, has outstanding mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 11th century. Overlooking the old section of Kiev, Podol, stands the Ukrainian Baroque church of St. Andrew, much beloved by Ukrainians. The Percherska Lavra, the Monastery of the Caves, a short trolley ride from the centre of town, has two 11th-century cathedrals on its grounds, in addition to its world-famous catacombs, bell tower, and museum collections. Close to the centre of town stands the Golden Gate, a structure which dates back to 1037. This recently reconstructed remains of the former fortified wall of the city defined the limits of the city in centuries past. Several blocks away, stands the magnificent 19th-century Cathedral of St. Volodymyr.
The modern centre with surviving parts of the old city are on the hilly west, or right bank, of the Dnipro River. The main street, Khreshchatik, runs between two steep hills. Parallel about half a kilometre west, is vulytsya Volodymyrska, the main street of the Old Kiev area (Staryj Kyiv). From the north end of Khreshchatik, vulytsya Hrushevskoho rises southeast along a ridge to the Caves Monastery at Perchersk. Woods and parks cover most of the steep right-bank slopes. The capital’s newer sections stretch out on the flat left bank. These are characterised by large housing developments and industrialised neighbourhoods.
So how to I combine Kiev and a cruise for this weeks Cruise Deal of the Week? As usual, there is always a way!
Viking Cruises have been pioneers of cruises down the Dnieper River, and next year they are back with a fantastic 11 day river cruise from Kiev to Odessa onboard the 196 passenger Viking Sineus taking in some stunning ports on the way. Cruising the Dnieper River from Kiev to the Black Sea, an ancient and splendid trade route lined with rich cultural treasures, onion-domed churches and rural folkways that recall the days of Vikings, Tatars and Cossacks. Learn about the Ukraine history and culture, marvel at the riding skill of Cossack horsemen and trace the footsteps of history at Odessa’s Potemkin Steps. The itinerary in full is:
Day 1 Kiev | Day 2 Kiev | Day 3 Kiev | Day 4 Kremenchug | Day 5 Dnipro | Day 6 Zaporozhye | Day 7 Kherson | Day 8 Odessa | Day 9 Odessa | Day 10 Odessa | Day 11 Odessa
All Viking Dnieper River Cruises include 11 included shore excursions with guide & headset, complimentary internet, complimentary beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner, 24/7 specialty coffees, teas & bottled water, all port taxes and fees and all prepaid gratuities. Experiences during your cruise include Viking’s “Culture Curriculum” which gives you the opportunity to attend lectures on the Dnieper River, history of Ukraine & current affairs, enjoy an on board concert of Ukrainian music, learn how to make your own Varenyky (Ukrainian dumplings), participate in a vodka tasting and even learn a little Ukrainian!
The cruise fare varies depending on departure date, but start from as low as just $5,595 per person, twin share for a deluxe cabin, or $7,695 per person for a Veranda Cabin. With under 200 passengers on the Viking Sineus each sailing sells quickly, so call the crew at Travel Masters on 1800 672 988 to grab your cabin…