A Capital Affair in Kiev, Ukraine, Part 1

As that pesky, proverbial Murphy would have it, my sightseeing time in Kiev was filled with rain, only proving sunshiny and beckoning on days that I had to be inside for our English language education conferences. Exploring Ukraine's capital city was actually quite fun nevertheless! There are so many twists, turns, and comically rude service workers to encounter, and the rain just gave me an excuse to work on my hand-camera-umbrella coordination:

St. Sofia cathedral is not only one of the prides of Kiev's downtown scene, it's also one of its World Heritage sites as well. Construction began on this relic in 1011, making this year the church's 1000th Anniversary! 1000! That's a seriously old church, people! It miraculously survived the Soviet church-purging of the 1920s (in which most old churches were torn down to be replaced by drab war monuments or parks), and is truly a beautiful visual of centuries of Orthodox presence in this part of the world:

Perhaps one of the most impressive parts about St. Sofia is its colorful frescos and mosaics, most of which are the originals dating back to the 11th century. As photographs within the church are strictly forbidden, you can check out some of my stealth-photography work:

The streets of Kiev are a vivid mixture of beautiful architecture, Soviet reminders, urban decay, modern amenities, and a little bit of nature thrown in:

Nighttime on the imposing Kreschatik (Kiev's main boulevard) and Independence Square is particularly pretty.

Part II of Kiev up next...