Route: the funicular – Monument to the Princess Olga – the belfry of the St. Michael’s Monastery – St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery – park alleys – Kokoryevska pavilion – Monument to the Prince Volodymyr – arch and steps to the lower monument – lower Monument to the Prince Volodymyr.
Duration: 3-4 hours (foot excursion)
The starting point: Poshtova Ploshcha Metro Station – the funicular.
The funicular is one of the symbols of Kiev and an unusual kind of transport. The funicular was built in 1905 as a lift to the monastery. Today, it is used by both Kievers (as a kind of transport) and by tourists providing them with a romantic way to view picturesque sights of the city. The funicular moves with the speed of 2 meters a second. When going up to the Volodymyrska Hill Park by the funicular, you will be definitely moved by the view of the beautiful banks of the Dnieper River. It connects Poshtova Ploshcha with the Volodymyrska Hill Park, St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, and the building of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
The token fees: 2 UAH.
The square in front of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and St. Michael’s Cathedral is decorated by the Monument to the Princess Olga built in 1911. Nearby, there is the Monument to St. Andrew Apostle, who blesses the city, as well as St. Kyrylo and Mefodiy. In 1919, the Soviet government destroyed the monument. In 1996, the monument was rebuilt.
Here on the square, one can see a light-blue Michael’s Monastery, which is commonly called as a “temple of lovers”, because it’s one of the most popular places of the newly-married couples. At the entrance to the cathedral, there is a golden-domed belfry, which is 49 meters high, and plays a role of the major entrance to the cathedral. It has a festive gate decorated with paintings. Before going up the belfry to get a wonderful view of the city center, you can visit the museum of history of Michael’s Monastery, which tells about vibrant life of the Ukrainian cathedral, as well as about the times of its decay and flourishing. After viewing the interesting exhibition of the museum, you can climb to the very top where the bells are located. Every hour, the bells play a famous Ukrainian melody. Visitors are not allowed to play the bells so you have to be careful as the penalty for unauthorized play is 100 UAH.
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral was founded in 1108 by a Kiev prince Svyatopolk Zyaslavovich. The imposing building of the cathedral was crowned with one large dome, covered, instead of the traditional lead, with gold. That’s why the cathedral is called “Golden-Domed.” It’s most important sacred place is the relic of the Great Martyr Varvara.
After visiting the cathedral, we precede to one of the most favorite recreational places of Kievers – the Volodymyrska Hill Park – full of green plants and sculptures of modern artists.
And here is the famous pavilion, which is not only an extremely romantic place but also is known for its interesting history. In 1863, a Russian entrepreneur and sponsor, Vasiliy Kokoryev, after visiting Volodymyrska Hill, decided to bestow the city with 1000 Karbovanets to build the pavilion, in which one can enjoy the beauty of Kiev and its suburbs in any weather.
On the middle terrace of the park, against green downslopes of Volodymyrska Hill and the blue sky, there is an imposing monument to the Prince Volodymyr, which bears the honor to be the symbol of the city and the face of the capital. The height of the great sculpture is 25 meters and it is located 70 meters above the Dnieper River level. The impressive statue of Volodymyr with a cross in his hands symbolizes the baptizing of Kievers.
These areas used to be called “Palestine” because a hotel of the same name had been located there. From there, up the steps built back in 1915, people walked to the Kiev “Jordan”, the place where Kievers had been baptized, to the Khreshchatyk Stream. The 18-meters tall column of the lower Monument to the Prince Volodymyr is located there.
When in the XVIII century Alexander I bestowed Kiev with the Magdeburg Right, on the place of the holy stream, where the Prince Volodymyr baptized his sons, the Column of the Magdeburg Right has been constructed. It is the oldest monument in Kiev.
Note: The beauty of Volodymyrska Hill has been often described in works of Ukrainian and Soviet writers and poets. Bulgakov and Paustovskiy used its sights in their works, many artists have been inspired by its colors, and Taras Shevchenko enjoyed walking along it as well. So, you should definitely come here too, to get rested spiritually and to be filled with unlimited source of energy and beauty.