|Enchanting city: Kyiv (or Kiev), one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, is known as a green city with two botanical gardens and numerous large and small parks. — Photo courtesy Ukrainian Embassy
To mark Ukraine's Independence Day on August 24, the Viet Nam News features an article by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Viet Nam, Oleksiy Shovkoplias
Everything here is genuine. Summer gives you sunshine, autumn showers you with rain and in winter the snow covers the ground in a white blanket. Kyiv – is, probably, the "greenest" city in the world.
Trees grow in yards, along streets and in huge parks, making it hard to distinguish where they end and the city begins. It is spacious and its people are beautiful and kind.
Kyiv is open to all who are interested in it. Kyiv has a soul, and more importantly – it has character. Sometimes it is mysterious and incomprehensible, sometimes - simple and joyous. From the old pre-WW2 streets of the historical districts to the newer residential ones resting under the shade of the chestnut trees, it makes you want to stay here longer just to explore its wonders.
Kyiv's rhythm of life is fast, but not enough to compare with London or Moscow. In the turbulent flow of Kyiv's daily life, you still have the time to admire the city's beauty.
Separating the city into two parts, magnificent in the rising or setting sun, lies the river Dniepr. It is incredibly broad, clean and a fantastically beautiful river with many bridges connecting not only the left and right banks of the city, but also the left bank and right bank of the Ukraine.
And even when you go down into the subway and the beauty of its streets, you still find comfort in Kyiv's metro stations. Connecting almost all the remote corners of the city together and transporting millions of people daily, from one part of the city to another, the Kyiv subway is also clean and comfortable.
The central and most active street in the city is Khreschatyk Street. Its stately architecture and scope fascinates everyone. The people you meet there will surprise you with their sincerity and friendly demeanor. With their kindness and down to earth attitude, beauty, openness and inexhaustible energy, they did not plan to meet you, but you are friends already!
The heart of Khreschatyk is, of course, the Maidan Square. It is hard to just pass it by. You will most likely feel the need to see it, experience it and perhaps take a picture to remember it by.
Close by on a small street adjacent to the Maidan, named after Taras Shevchenko, you can find a memorial house museum to the poet. Here you can see an interesting collection of paintings by T Shevchenko and by the artists of his era.
You will, of course, like the Lypky. This is one of the city's central districts. To some people it reminds them of the streets of Geneva, or a luxurious and measured life of the bourgeoisie in Paris Neuilly.
In Kyiv there is another such district – Obolon, which has already caught the fancy of Kyiv's residents and tourists. This is a new comfortable and very cozy area with lots of cafes and restaurants that crowd the Obolonska waterfront .
Here you can enjoy Ukrainian borsch and not even realise that it is not a soup, but very special, just an incredibly delicious, unique Ukrainian national dish.
The road from Obolonska waterfront to city centre takes you literally five minutes by taxi or 10 minutes by subway. And then you're back in the city centre.
One of the favorite destinations for tourists and local people is Andriyivskyi Uzviz. Here you can buy expensive paintings and quite inexpensive colorful national souvenirs for your friends. And, of course, on Andriyivskyi Uzviz you can admire the Andriyivska Church. This amazingly beautiful temple in the Ukrainian Baroque style was built by Ukrainian masters in 1754 according to the famous architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The church is named in honour of the Apostle Andrew. At this same place, according to legend, St Andrew built a cross on his journey to the North.
Here at Andriyivskyi Uzviz you can find house number 13, which was once home to Mikhail Bulgakov and his wife and now is a literary and memorial museum to the great writer.
Tired of wandering on Andriyivskyi Uzviz? Go to a cafe! The Olgyn Dvir is at the top of the street. A cup of coffee after the magic of your walk is very pleasant.
Andriyivskyi Uzviz, which connects the upper city to the lower, leads you to Podol – the historical part of the city.
Here you will find its special architectural style, unlike anything you've seen before. And should you feel unsure on your feet, you can rest in the Lviv Chocolate Workshop, enjoy a hot cup of coffee, or have a snack, perhaps with handmade chocolate. This place will give you the opportunity to feel the fullness of life, as well as its special charisma. — VNS