Ukraine is perhaps not the first destination that comes to mind when looking for a place to spend your vacation days this summer. At least this is what reading the news would suggest. But as all the Eurovision 2017 highlights have shown us, the country – and its beautiful capital city Kiev – is not as dangerous and unfriendly as some would like us to believe. Actually, the city has many hidden treasures and amazing experiences for first-time visitors and returning ones alike. Below, you’ll find five places you should visit on your next trip to Kiev.
1. Avalon Entertainment Center
Situated in the heart of the city, the Avalon Entertainment Complex is a place you have to visit during the summer. Aside from the parties and the food – that’s both good and abundant – this welcoming place has everything you might be seeking for, including the most respected and prestigious casino in Ukraine. With a local ban on internet gambling and no way to play at the Euro Palace and another similar online establishment, gambling is a thing of prestige in the country. Its security is very strict but the place is welcoming and the service is amazing. While its game variety falls behind the one at the Euro Palace (it doesn’t have to worry about physical space, after all), it can be a place where you can spend many great hours.
2. Mysteskyi Arsenal
Don’t let the name fool you – the Mystetskyi Arsenal has nothing to do with weapons unless they are part of an art installation. Located in the building of the old Kiev Arsenal, the National Cultural-Art Museum Complex is an architectural monument built in the late 19th century. After Ukraine obtained its independence, the Arsenal became the artistic and cultural institution known today.
3. Taras Shevchenko Park
The Taras Shevchenko Park is the smallest but perhaps most famous park in Kiev. Located in the heart of the city, it is a melting pot of generations of people, with elders sitting on its benches reading the papers and students from the neighboring Taras Shevchenko National University spending time there, and businessmen coming to have lunch under its trees. The Taras Shevchenko Park is a combination of colors, sights, and sound, with a ton of beauty packed into such small area.
Vozdvizhenka, also known as the “Millionaire Ghost Town”, is an area in Kiev filled with mock 19th-century houses that have been left empty for years because of the economic crisis. In the past, the Vozdvizhenka district was inhabited by potters and skinners before developers transformed it into a residential area in the early 2000s. Although it has over 250 lavish buildings, many of them are uninhabited either due to their price or due to their owners living abroad.
5. Kiev Zoo
The Kiev Zoo was one of the largest zoos in the former Soviet Union and is the only public zoo in Ukraine. Today, it has an area of 40 hectares (almost 100 acres), 2,600 animals from 328 species, and houses a research center working on acclimatization, preservation, and breeding of rare animals.