Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kiev: Golden-domed city of Eastern promise

The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is a riverside city that boasts streets lined with onion-domed churches and lively summer beer gardens.

Founded over 1,500 years ago, it can legitimately claim to be one of Europe's oldest cities -- and it has the monuments to prove it.

Modern-day Kiev is an unusual mix: Part historic Slavic, part Soviet, part Ukrainian-nationalist and part cosmopolitan European. Shiny office blocks mix with medieval statues and examples of bold Soviet-era constructivist architecture.

It is a 24-hour city, bustling with friendly, busy locals. Travelers from the West need to bear in mind that few people speak English, and nearly all the signs are in Russian or Ukrainian script.

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