St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
The St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the city of Kiev and is one of the most sough-after religious sites in the world for its historical, cultural, and aesthetic values. This historical attraction was named after the archangel Michael, who is revered as the saint guardian of Ukraine’s capital.
The awe-inspiring monastery was established after the death of Saint Michael, the first metropolitan of Kiev. It has since captured the admiration of spectators, with its magnificent ancient architecture and enormous gold-coated dome, striking façade, elaborate parapet walls, historical mosaics and paintings displayed inside the church, and carillon.
As an active Soviet republic during the chaotic periods of constant conflict, Ukraine hosted small settlements for Cossacks, or USSR cavalrymen. The most famous replica of these Cossack villages in Ukraine is the open-air village-museum, the Mamajeva Sloboda, located at the city of Kiev near St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.
The 9.2-hectare site sits at the heart of an isolated cherry plantation protected by interwoven pole fences. Built in 2009, this museum is a breathing record of ethnic Ukrainian culture, ways of life, traditions, expertise trade, art, and architecture.
The village-museum houses ancient military buildings such as legation offices, Cossack force stations, lodging and feeding buildings, cellars, cart houses, and even a marketplace. Along twin water lily-laden lakes are figures depicting the order of Cossack village personnel: from the potter, blacksmith, soothsayer churchwarden, Cossack-dzhura or armor carrier to the Sotnuk or troop superior.
At the heart of the village stands a magnificent wooden church established in honor of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin.
Apart from the unusual church, the ancient settlement also features a Scythian monument of Mamaj, which greets guests at the main entrance to the site. Moreover, a windmill representing serene crop growing, a watermill, and a small beekeeping house are major tourist attractions in Mamajeva Sloboda.
Museum of National Architecture and Life
The Museum of National Architecture and Life is one of the most famous and heavily visited attractions in Ukraine, as it showcases actual architectural buildings depicting the life of Ukrainian people since the 17th century.
Established in Pirogovo in 1969 and eventually opened to the public in 1976, this unique outdoor museum features over 200 unique structures representing different Ukrainian regions, ethnicities, and historical time periods. The site is also teeming with authentic appliances used by Ukrainians over the course of their long and proud history.
To even more accentuate the museum’s distinctness, the site offers theatrical performances presented in Ukrainian indigenous music and colorful national costumes. During festivals and special holidays, carnivals are set up inside the museum and campfire rituals and dances are executed.
Bakhchisaray Palace, or Khan’s Palace
Khan’s Palace, or the Palace of the Crimean Khanate, is the prime and sacred shrine of the Crimean Tatar people.
Boasting of traditional Crimean royal architecture, it is one of the three revered palaces that symbolize the settlement of the ancient Middle Eastern civilization in the European continent. The other two are in Turkey and Spain.
Established in 1532, this palace located in Bakhchisaray in the autonomous Crimea served as the central residence of the Giray dynasty, which governed the land for 342 years. During their reign, the ancient palace remained at the heart of the Crimean culture, politics, and spirituality.
Presently, Khan’s Palace is valued as the greatest testament of the Crimean Khanate’s contribution to the history of Ukraine. The palace’s historical value is cemented after being listed in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The old castle in the Pidhirtsi village was constructed in the late 1630s. The palace featured a moat and drawbridge, iron cannons, marble floors and fireplaces, trout pond, apiary, vineyard, and hundreds of paintings.
During the 1900s, the castle suffered much damage from the Polish-Soviet War and, later, a fire that lasted for three weeks.
The fire consumed many of the paintings and nearly everything else inside the castle. Only the walls were left standing. Many of the artifacts that could be salvaged are now in the Lviv Art Gallery and the Lviv Historical Museum. Others are in museums in Krakow and Tarnow.
Today, the castle is under the custody of the Lviv Museum of Fine Arts. It is still badly in need of restoration, as funds for such a project are still lacking.
Nonetheless, it remains a interesting architectural object and a popular site to visit, as some of its former glory can still be seen from the features it has retained.