Ukraine has had a troubled recent history and the situation still remains very turbulent today. So what’s actually happening? Is it safe to travel? And why visit Kiev? This post will help answer those questions
During a visit to Kiev for 4 nights in October 2018 there was absolutely no trouble and it felt as safe as any other major european country!
In 2014 protesters clashed with riot police in the center of Kiev leading to the overthrow of pro-Russian president Yanukovych. Sadly, the protests were deadly with the revolution killing over 82 people and injuring over a thousand. Since then Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea and war broke out in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as pro-Russian separatists backed by Russian military forces fight to control these areas. Below is Maidan square in 2018, four years after the violent revolution.
Is Kiev safe?
Kiev is safe, there was no trouble during a trip in October 2018. There were no signs of conflict or unrest, it felt as safe as any other major European city. The people are friendly, welcoming and go out of their way to help you. Tourists still visit Kiev but in Donetsk and Luhansk there is fighting, so these are the places to avoid. Below is the Friendship of Nations monument depicting the union between Russians and Ukrainians, which feels rather ironic with the ongoing conflict between the nations.
Between Russia & Europe
Kiev is an extraordinarily unique city where you really get the feeling you’re somewhere between Europe and Russia. Whilst many cities to the west of Ukraine have a district European feeling, Kiev certainly doesn’t! Exploring the city you are surrounded by towering buildings and colourful orthodox churchs. In fact, there are over 950 cathedrals and churches in Kiev exhibiting architectural styles such as Baroque, Byzantine and Gothic.
Ukraine’s capital is full of history. The city was actually founded in the year 482 A.D, so this is not a surprise. There is a number of impressive monuments around the city, these help piece together the many different periods of Kiev’s past. A great way to do this is take the free walking tour which starts at Maiden Square or grab a sightseeing map and explore yourself. Below is an image of the 335 ft, 569 ton Motherland Monument, which is a must see!
World Heritage Monastery
Probably the most impressive place to visit in Kiev is the Pechersk Lavra monastery. Being one of the most sacred places in Eastern Europe for the orthodox religion it attracts people from all over the world. There is a large number of monks on site who you can see walking around and the area is home to some of the most beautiful churchs in Europe. There is a small entry fee of around 2 euro, but the visit is worth every penny!
The Time is Now
With the situation being calm in Kiev this certainly marks a good time to visit. Food and drink is incredibly cheap and there aren’t huge numbers of tourists either. In the future if the conflict escalates inwards from the eastern border then visiting Kiev would probably out of question.
It’s such a tragedy what happened to the people of this city in 2014, but it seems the scars are healing, slowly at least
So the reality of Kiev is not what you might think. Images of the revolution four years ago shouldn’t paint the defining image in our minds as to what this city is about. Kiev is not only safe, it’s warm and full of character