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The Square of Lenin Komsomol marks the beginning of Kyiv central business district and most popular people watching street the beautiful tree-lined Boulevard Khreshchatyk. It is hard to believe that here there was once a valley, surrounded by a thick forest, with abrook across it. The valley's name was Khreshchata (Crossed) because of the many ravines that crossed it.

At the Square of Lenin Komsomol there is a large building with red granite steps which was once the Lenin Museum. Erected in 1982, in 1991 the museum was closed and converted into the Ukrainian House, which serves as a cultural centre with concerts and art exhibits.

Just up the hotel Dnepr is the Museum of Ukrainian Fine Arts (18971899). Built in the style of a Greektemple with a 6-column portico, the museum's 21 galleries contain valuable collections, generally unknown in the West, of Ukrainian icons, paintings and sculpture from the 14th to early 20th centuries. Works of T. Shevchenko, K. Kostandi, H. Narbut are among the exhibits of the museum. The beautiful pink-and-lavender building on the opposite side of the street down from the museum is The National Parliamentary Library of Ukraine. To the left of it there is the main entrance to the Central Park of Culture and Rest, where Kyiv's Dynamo Stadium is located. Return to the Lenin Komsomol Square and take the underpass below the square to the opposite side. The structure here is Kyiv's Philharmonic Society (1882). On your right is a broadstairway, which leads to a huge stainless steel arch commemorating the Reunion of Russia and Ukraine. As you face the arch, on your left there is Volodymyr Hill and the Monument to the Great Prince Volodymyr. The 20-metre (66-foot) monument depicts the pagan ruler who brought Christianity to Russia. It was erected in 1853.

One block west of Lenin Komsomol Square is the Independence Square, Kyiv's main square. It's the most popular meeting place of Kyivites and visitors. Not far from it, at the top of the hill, is a pre-revolutionary building with a classical colonnade, the Palace of Culture. Built by the architect Vikenty Beretti in the early 1840s, it was originally a finishing school for young ladies of the nobility. Today it is one city's largest concert halls. As you return to the Independence Square, turn left to Karl Marx Street. The impressive grey column building on the corner of Karl Marx Street and Khreshchatyk is the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Directly across Khreshchatyk Kyiv's main Post Office is located.

At the opposite end of Karl Marx Street there is Ivan Franko Square and the Ivan Franko Ukrainian Drama Theatre. Here you will see Ukrainian, classical and contemporary dramas, but only in Ukrainian. To the right of the theatre and up a modest hill on a winding foot path is one of the most interesting buildings in Kyiv, the Horodetsky Building (190203) built by Kyiv architect V. Horodetsky.

Back on Khreshchatyk, continue past numerous boutiques, several large department stores and administrative buildings. Turn right on Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Street. On your left there is the Lesya Ukrayinka Russian Drama Theatre. Although the theatre is named after the famous Ukrainian poetess, the repertoire of both classical and contemporary works is strictly Russian.

Further, at the corner of Volodymyrska and Khmelnytskoho Streets, is the beautiful home of the Taras Shevchenko National Opera of Ukraine (1901).

From the Opera turn right on Volodymyrska Street go one block to Taras Shevchenko Boulevard. This wide street is named in honour of the 19th century Ukrainian poet and artist, Taras Shevchenko (18141861). One block to your left (down the boulevard), and on your left is the Taras Shevchenko State Museum. The museum's collection, composed of more than 4,000 exhibits, displays personal belongings of the great poet, his manuscripts and paintings.

From the Museum walk up Shevchenko Boulevard on the same side of the street. Here, across from the University Metro Station, Saint Volodymyr's Cathedral is located. This Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1882. The final design belonged to Alexander Beretti.

The structure is a traditional Slavic six-column, three- apse church, crowned by seven cupolas. The murals of the church interior, done by famous Russian painters V. Vasnetsov, M. Nesterov and M. Vrubel, are of considerable artistic significance.

Now, let's go out of the Cathedral and turn left towards Khreshchatyk Street. At Volodymyrska Street turn right and cross Shevchenko Boulevard to the deep red building of National University (also known as Shevchenko University). This is Kyiv's most prestigious institution of higher education. The building is another classical structure created by Vikenty Beretti in 18371843. Directly opposite the University is the Shevchenko . In its centre stands a statue of the Ukrainian writer erected in 1939 on the l25tli anniversary of his birth. On the opposite side of the park cross the road. This is the home of the Russian Art Museum, one of the largest repositories of Russian art outside Moscow and St. Petersburg. The building was constructed in the 1880s and belonged to the wealthy Tereshchenko family. The museum was founded in 1922 on the basis of the Tereshchenko collection and other private collections confiscated and nationalized by the State.


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