ZOLOTI VOROTA (GOLDEN GATES)
There is a popular, small, leafy park next to a pedestrian walkway at the foot of the Zoloti Vorota (Golden Gates) in Old Town. On spring-like days it was enjoyable to sit there and do some people watching. The tourists visiting the Golden Gates and professionals walking briskly around were an interesting mix of people.It was especially entertaining when a street flower market was set up nearby which attracted more locals.
Zoloti Vorota (Golden Gates) was the main gate in the 11th century fortifications of Kyiv, the capitol of Keivan Rus. It was completely demolished in the Middle Ages and rebuilt by the Soviet authorities in 1982. The other two city gates, Ladski and Shydivski (Polish and Jewish) have not survived.
One day near the Golden Gate I noticed an inviting restaurant sign on the street next to an open door with a photo of a Ukrainian band. I descended a steep, relatively-dark, narrow staircase and found a lovely underground restaurant. It was decorated with fine, colorful weavings and hand-carved wooden furniture. The local business crowd packed the place. I couldn’t say no when a gracious hostess in traditional dress directed me to a table. The Ukranian red borscht soup with homemade bread was superb. The music? I would have to come back some evening for that, she said.
A PERFORMANCE AT THE OPERA HOUSE
I had heard that opera and ballet performances at theTaras Shevchenko National Opera Theatre were lavish productions, well priced, and shouldn’t be missed. The grand theatre was built in 1901.
I attended both a ballet and an opera, purchasing tickets at different prices in order to experience balcony as well as orchestra seating. US$10 bought me a good orchestra seat. The evening I attended the wonderful Swan Lake Ballet, I was entertained beforehand by young twins in the balcony where I was sitting. They were having a fun time trying to get a good photo of their Mother with her Smart Phone. The acoustics in the theatre were superb.
A LOCAL FLEA MARKET
Searching for local markets is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. I just happened to be in Kiev the weekend the huge monthly Kurazh Bazar, a flea market on Kiev’s left bank, was taking place.
Over 400 vendors sold new and used clothing, antiques and various trinkets. People were rummaging through piles of clothing with seemingly great patience. The street food was plentiful, but too deep fried for my taste. The farmer’s market was extensive. Upon inquiry,I was told many kinds of oranges they were selling came from Greece. I bought a kilo of juicy oranges and enjoyed eating them while listening to some good street music.
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