Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kiev

The Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is one of the city’s best known landmarks.  This magnificent cathedral, a World Heritage Site, is named after the famous Hagia Sophia that was built in Constantinople in the 6th Century.  Kiev’s version was laid down in 1037 and finished twenty years later.  (Kongo visited Hagia Sophia in Istanbul in 2000)  Built in the Byzantine style the cathedral still has mosaics and frescos from the 11th Century. Advertisements

“Over the river and through the woods…”

Actually, it’s more like take the 101 to the 405, then the toll road to I-5, and scoot down the coast to grandmother’s house but there aren’t that many rivers and woods in Southern California.  Nevermind that, the grand girls are coming for Thanksgiving and they will have a surprise waiting for them.  There’s a bit of a story here so please read on. 

Babi Yar

In a quiet park near the Dorohozhychi metro station in Kiev lies a ravine named Babi Yar.  In places the ditch is filled in by streets, apartment buildings and and spoil from construction of the nearby underground subway.  In 1941 this ravine was well outside the city limits of Kiev and there was no urban development.  The ravine ran for miles.  Along the park paths today mothers walk their babies in strollers and lovers sit on benches holding hands.  But during the period between 1941 – 1943 as many as 150,000 Jews, Soviet POWs, communists, and gypsies were brought to…

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

The picture above shows Kiev’s St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery overlooking the Dnieper River at night.  Like the complex at Pechersk Lavra, St. Michael’s is a functioning monastery.  Originally built in the Middle Ages  in the  Byzantine style, it received a Ukrainian Baroque facelift in the 18th century.  The Soviets demolished the original cathedral in the 1930s but it was reconstructed following independence in the 1990s and reopened in 1999.

Monkeys Don’t Eat Fatback!

Kongo paid a quick visit to the Besarabsky Rynok food market in Kiev.  It is the most famous indoor food market in Kiev and if you’re used to shopping at your local Safeway or Vons in the USA, this will be a treat for you.  The market has all kinds of meats, fish, caviar, sausages, fresh vegetables, and fruit.  It’s a cornucopia of enticing smells and eye raising opportunities.  If you go to Kiev you have to put this on your must see list of things to do to truly experience Kiev.

Monkey Milestone

Kongo’s blog just passed a major milestone.  One year ago yesterday Kongo put up his first blog post on WordPress.  Since then there have been 192 posts, more than 12,000 visitors, 224 subscribers, and more than 750 comments.  In the past year Kongo has logged more than 240,000 air miles, visited six new countries, and scratched one item off his bucket list (Prague).  Best of all he has met many, many new friends from all over the world. Many thanks to all the visitors and subscribers! Travel safe.  Have fun. About Kongo

Andrew’s Descent and Chasing Rabbits

Known as the “Montmartre of Kiev” this famous street connects the Upper Town with the commercial Podil neighborhood.  It is a steep street filled with quaint shops, cafes, museums, and spectacular views.  The neighborhood attracts artists and writers and is a very fashionable place to live in Kiev.  The area draws its name from the dramatic and very baroque St. Andrew’s Church that was built by the Russian Tsaress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1754.