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Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev (aka Kyiv) is a very old city. The ancient capital of the Slavonic world, the city was founded in 482 ad and long been popular as an attractive destination by visitors and travellers. Once the centre of Kyivan Rus the city enjoyed tremendous growth and prestige following adoption of Christianity by Prince Volodymyr in 988-989 AD. Kiev rivaled other historical centers in Europe throughout the fist half of the second millenium. Having remained a cultural and political centre at the crossroads of historical trade routes, it is currently the capital of Ukraine.

The defining feature of Kiev's skyline are the numerous gold-domed churches and monasteries. The main sight is the golden-domed St. Sophia Cathedral. Over 950 years old, this site includes a cathedral, a bell tower and the Metropolitans residence.

Along the right bank of the Dnipro you find the Pecherska Lavra Monastery. Other sights include the Cathedral of St. Volodymyr Vydubich Monastery and St. Andrews Church.

Kyiv has a distinct European atmosphere. Although the city was nearly completely destroyed by advancing German and then Soviet forces during World War II it was rebuilt with none of the charm lost. Aside from spectacular architectural delights there are many cultural things to do: good museums, good ballets, music and a lively night scene.

Nearby Babi Yar has a monument to remember the massacre of more than 100 000 Ukrainian Jews and many others during World War II.