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Kiev The Capital City of Ukraine

Kiev is not only the largest city in Ukraine; it is also the capital city. Situated on the Dnieper River in the central part of the country, the city has a population of more than 2.5 million people, and it attracts over 1 million visitors every year. It is one of the most important industrial and cultural centers in Eastern Europe, and it is offers a perfect blend of modernity and historical charm. History of Kiev/strong It is believed that the city of Kiev was founded in the 5th or 6th century, but the exact date is unknown. It was initially a Slavic settlement, and it gradually became the most important city of the East Slavic civilization. It reached its golden age between the 10th and 12th centuries, but it went into decline after it was completely destroyed by the Mongols in 1240. In the next few centuries, the city became a provincial capital in the outskirts of territories ruled by its powerful neighbors, namely, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. Kiev flourished again in the late 19th century when the Russian industrial revolution was underway. Following the revolution, the city was caught in the middle of a number of conflicts, and it became the capital city of a few transient Ukrainian states. It fell under the control of Soviet Russia in 1921, and it became the capital city of Soviet Ukraine in 1934. Kiev was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but it managed to recover quickly to become the third most important Soviet city. Ukraine gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and Kiev has been the Ukrainian capital ever since. strongKiev as a Travel Destination/strong Kiev is fast becoming a favorite travel destination in Europe, especially for those who wish to travel off the beaten track. It boasts many interesting attractions and a vibrant nightlife, and it has all the modern conveniences to make your vacation a most pleasant experience. Whether you want to learn about Ukrainian history and culture, shop for interesting items, do some nature bonding, or enjoy great food, you can rest assured that you will find a place in the city that will impress you. Here are the most popular attractions in the Ukrainian capital: strongGolden Gates of Kiev The Golden Gates of Kiev is an ancient fortification that was built by the Grand Prince of Kiev, Yaroslav the Wise, in the 11th century. Presently, it houses a small museum and a tourist information center, and it offers spectacular views of the city. Pechersk Lavra/strong Also known as the Caves Monastery, the Pechersk Lavra is considered the top tourist attraction in Kiev. The monastery is divided into two sections, the Upper and Lower Lavra. In the Upper Lavra, you will find a number of museums and churches, including the Museum of Historical Treasures, Museum of Micro-Miniatures, and the Great Bell Tower. The Lower Lavra consists of caves and narrow passages, where you can see the mummies of monks whoved there in the past. strongSt. Sophia's Cathedral/strong Constructed in the 11th century, St. Sophia's Cathedral is one of the most impressive buildings in Kiev. It has 13 golden domes and beautiful ancient frescoes and mosaics, and it houses the tomb of Yaroslav the Wise, its founder. strongChernobyl Museum/strong This museum relates the story of the greatest nuclear accident in the history of the world, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It features a huge collection of artifacts, documents, photographs, maps and scale models that provide an interesting insight into the disaster. strongBabi Yar/strong In just two days, German troops murdered close to 34,000 Jews in Babi Yar, making it the site of the largest single Holocaust massacre. There are a number of memorials in Babi Yar to commemorate the Jews and Soviet citizens who died during the war. strongKhreschatyk Measuring about 1.5 km long, Khreschatyk is most famous street in Kiev. On weekends and public holidays, it will come alive with street musicians and performers. The most popular meeting place in the city, Independence Square, is located at the northern end of the street. At the southern end, there is a colorful indoor market called Bessarabsky Market, which offers an extensive selection of fresh produce. Andrew's Descent/strong Andrew's Descent is one of the oldest streets in Kiev, and it is the best place to shop for artworks. It isned with art galleries and souvenir stalls selling a wide variety of merchandise, ranging from Matryoshka dolls to Soviet paraphernalia. Some of the well-known attractions that can be found along the street include St. Andrew's Church, Museum of One Street, and Bulgakov Museum. strongSt. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery was originally constructed in the 12th century, but it was destroyed by the Russians in the 1930s. It was rebuilt and reopened to the public in 1999. Its notable features include a beautiful sky blue exterior, seven golden domes, and a splendid bell tower entrance. Gorodetsky House/strong The Gorodetsky House is also known as the House of Chimeras, and it is one of the strangest looking buildings in the city. It was constructed in the early 20th century, and it is features ornate decorations depicting a wide range of exotic animals, such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and dolphins. strongMariyinsky Park Situated along the banks of the Dnieper River, Mariyinsky Park is an excellent place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of cityfe. This beautiful park is home to the magnificent Mariyinsky Palace, the official residence of the Ukrainian president, and it has a bandstand for hosting outdoor concerts during summer.p Accommodation and Transportation Kiev is an affluent city that offers an extensive variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to apartments. Some of the recommended hotels and apartments in the city are the Cosmopolite, Intercontinental, Riviera on Podol, Podol Plaza, Opera, Bakkara-Art Hotel, Ukraine, Hyatt Regency Kyiv, and Senator Apartments City Center. The city also has a good public transportation system, and it is relatively easy for you to get around, even if you do not speak the local language. Transportation options that are available include buses, taxis, metro, and class=clearp

River Nile cruises in Egypt

For centuries, the magnificent Nile River has captivated the world. As the longest river, and the source offe for one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Nile is a sight to set your eyes on - and sailing on it is an experience not to be missed! Check out one of these Nile Cruise packages and embark on the trip of afetime! This article is not meant to be a review of specific cruise ships, though we have included pictures from boats that range from fairly standard, to luxury. Over the coming months, we will, however, attempt to provide specific reviews of Nile Cruisers. In preparing to write this article on Nile River cruises, I started out looking to see what I could find on river cruises outside of Egypt. I knew, for example, that there were certainly a few cruise ships that ply the Mississippi river in the US. And of course, I found out that there are numerous river cruises around the world, in places such as Europe, Russia, South American and a few other places. I even expected, and sought out, river cruises that might match the quality and sophistication of the Nile Cruisenes, but alas, that was not to be. I did find nostalgia riverboats boats on the Mississippi, barges in Europe, and even a few more modern looking vessels elsewhere, but nothing to match the Nile offerings. Of course, this is probably due to the fact that Nile Cruises have been an uninterrupted tradition in Egypt for hundreds of years, evolving and growing into a competitive, sophisticated industry, with facilities reflecting this. Of course, few other rivers can offer the scenery, much less the antiquities of a Nile Cruise, and most other cruises around the world are relatively simple and short in comparison. The Nile has always, and will probably always be a travel corridor for Northern Africa. While the River itself flows to the North, into the Mediterranean Sea, the prevailing winds along the Nile are to the South. Therefore, for at least the last 5,000 years, the Nile has been a great route, with boats drifting North, and raising their sails for the return trip upriver. And unlike many other rivers, the population and building activities are all concentrated along the Nile, as the land quickly becomes inhospitable only a few miles east or west of it, for the most part. So dominant is the river that the two ancient sections of Egypt are, confusingly for most people, called Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt is actually Southern Egypt, because it is up river, while Northern Egypt is Lower because it is down river. The fascination with Nile cruises is understandable. Actually, it is not the best way to see as much of Egypt as possible given a one or two week vacation, nor is it the cheapest. Certainly some of the attraction is romance and the allure created by writers such as Agatha Christie. For some, it might be bragging rights, being able to tell friends that they sailed up the Nile. For others, it may be the intimacy of a tour group, and getting to know fellow travelers which the confines of a boat trip creates. For many, and particularly for those visitors to Egypt taking a second cruise, viewing ancient Egypt in a highly comfortable and relaxing manner must be the main pull of the Nile Cruisers. While these cruisers may sometimes resort to a pharaonic design flavor, there is nothing nostalgic about most of the accommodations. New and grander boats are being built all the time, and overall, these are the best river boats in the world. This is not to say that there are exceptions. Strangely, the river boats one sees on the Nile range as much in quality as hotels in Egypt. So while my references in this article are to mainline tourist boats, beware that there are other, less desirable alternatives, and one should always check out the boat that they are booked on. All of the boats found in our Nile Cruiser section are mainline tourist boats, and while there may be extensive differences in their luxury accommodations, all of them are fine River Boats. Egypt Nile cruises