This past June my girlfriend and I took a 2 week trip through Europe, visiting (in order) Kiev, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Amsterdam. It was a fantastic vacation that I'll remember for a long time. Hopefully these pictures will give you a little glimpse of the character of each city.
Kiev (official population 2.5 mil, though various estimates put it closer to 4 mil), though not very well known to most Americans, is a notable city for several reasons. It is the political, economic and cultural capital of Ukraine. It is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, the original capital of the Russian state (Kievan Rus) and dates back to the 5th century. Most importantly, Kiev is the city where I spent the first 10 years of my life.
I have a ton of pictures, and I can add more if there is demand, so without further ado:
St Andrew's Church at the beginning of Andrew's Decent (Андреевский спуск)
Looking down Andrew's Decent (Андреевский спуск)
While walking down Andrew's decent, we found some random stairs that let to an awesome panorama of the city:
Kreshchatik (Kрещатик) is the city's main avenue, it is closed to vehicular traffic on summer weekends, it's a little sparse on a Sunday morning.
Soviet era department store (Центральный универмаг)
Kрещатик is the longest uninterrupted stretch of Stalinist architecture in the world, I actually quite like it.
Old school Zhiguli, like my grandpa used to have
A side street:
This literally reads "Mister Snack, Sandwich Bar" in Ukrainian letters. Gotta love capitalism.
Speaking of capitalism, here's a nice little contrast of cars parked next to each other. A soviet era Moskvitch
Next to a decidedly un-soviet Audi R8
An indoor market (Бесарабка, Bessarabka) at one end of Kрещатик
Next to a high-end mall (sorry for the crappy night picture):
Not a whole lot of highrises to post, but here's one:
Kotraktova square in Podol, a historic site that used to host traders as they established trading contracts with local merchants:
The city is split by the river Dnepr, the right bank is the older, more established part of the city, the left bank is more recently settled and is thus full of classic soviet apartment blocks as well as some more modern highrises. Housing remains a big problem.
Monument to city's founders
"Mother Homeland", a World War II memorial to the defense of the homeland (there are lots
of WW II memorials)
Postal square metro stop (right on the river port)
The most awesome funicular connecting the port to Podol (an high-end residential neighborhood)
Kiev has the some of the deepest metro stations in the world:
Metro stops in their marble encased glory
Ukrainian national opera house:
More pictures further down.