FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Kiev: Power To Change

Oct 1, 2005
2005 / October 2005

As the cradle of Slavic civilization for the past 1,500 years, Kiev might be expected to be a stodgy old grandfather of a city, but Ukraine’s capital refuses to act its age. Even on a weekday, the heart of the city, Independence Square, ripples with rock music as drunken teenagers stagger between monolithic Soviet buildings and vendors do a brisk business selling “Orange Revolution” T-shirts.

They’re all still reeling from the events of last winter, when the Orange Revolution — a popular uprising — shocked Europe, changed the face of international politics and proved once again that it’s impossible to take anything about Kiev for granted.

Today, Ukrainians are ambivalent about their country’s 1,000-year relationship with Russia (as Kievans point out, Russia was originally part of Ukraine, not the other way around). At its best, that partnership brought about achievements such as the Allied victory in World War II, commemorated by Kiev’s enormous Museum of the Great Patriotic War. Here, artifacts from Nazi prison camps and photos of a devastated city bear witness to a generation’s suffering, even for visitors who do not speak Russian. At its worst, the Soviet Union’s domination of Ukraine brought its own kind of misery. The breaking point came in 1986, with an accident at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant, a disaster now documented at the small but powerful Chernobyl Museum. Its mix of exhibits — religious paintings and radiation suits — may seem obscure, but watch the faces of the children whose classes are touring the museum, and you’ll understand how the devastation helped bring a nation together.

Since Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Kiev has reasserted itself as the home of the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the first Orthodox kings, Yaroslav the Wise, modeled his 11th century Cathedral of St. Sophia after the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. On the other side of Sofia Square stands St. Michael’s Monastery, whose sky-blue walls are capped with gilded bulbs and whose walls resound with Orthodox chanting. The entire cathedral complex has been restored in the past decade, after the original 12th-century structure was demolished by the Soviets.

Kiev’s most famous religious site is the Kiev-Pechers’ka Lavra, a hillside monastery that sits above a network of caves. For the price of admission ($2), visitors receive a candle — there are no other lights underground — and a tour through the eerie chambers. Magnificent icons rest there in smoky grottoes, while the bodies of the monastery’s venerated dead lie, perfectly preserved, in glass coffins.

Some Kievans claim that the city’s hills are the source of its positive energy. You can decide for yourself after walking up Andriyivsky Uzviz, a curvy cobblestone street lined with artisans’ shops and carts selling matryoshki (nesting dolls), spiky wooden maces, lacquer boxes and embroidered goods. If that journey doesn’t restore your youth, ask any roadside vendor for a glass of kvass, a sweet brown liquid that tastes like gingerbread and is virtually the only thing you can drink in Kiev that won’t leave you with a three-day hangover. The food, however, is excellent: as a capital at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Kiev offers a terrific range of cuisine from both continents. But don’t bother checking your menu for chicken Kiev — no chef here would be foolish enough to try to capture the history, mystery and ever-changing nature of the city in a single dish.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


Insta Feed

Hit the High Notes in Nashville

Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.

Jun 7, 2023

art’otel Brings Boutique, Art-Inspired Hotels to Zagreb, London and Rome

Contemporary lifestyle hotel brand art’otel expands throughout Europe with the launch of three new properties in Zagreb, London’s Hoxton and Rome, all slated to open between fall 2023 and early 2024. These three hotels join the brand’s existing boutique hotels in Berlin, Amsterdam, Cologne and another London property.

Jun 7, 2023

New Resident Art Concierge Comes to Cape Town

The Royal Portfolio, with a collection of hotels, resorts and safari lodges in South Africa, recently announced the appointment of a new art concierge and guest liaison at Cape Town’s The Silo Hotel: Michael Tsepo Jacobs.

What Business Travel Looks Like Now From Those Who Know It Best

Pack your bags, traveling for business is making a comeback — and the role of the corporate travel manager is more important than ever.

Jun 6, 2023

Hyatt’s Best Rooftops, Experiences for Summer 2023

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts invites travelers to enjoy the summer season with a lineup of fun activities and rooftop experiences.

Destinations / North America
Jun 5, 2023

6 Reasons to Put Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with us.

Plan Your Escape to Arizona

Indulgent escapes are made even more enjoyable by fast, easy access — and that’s what Arizona offers. Quick, non-stop and direct flights to one of two international airports put all the luxury of The Grand Canyon State within easy reach.

Jun 5, 2023

Rafael Nadal’s ZEL Mallorca to Open July 1

ZEL, the new lifestyle hotel brand from tennis superstar Rafael Nadal and Meliá Hotels International, is set to open its first hotel. Located in Mallorca, Spain, the hometown of both Nadal and Meliá, ZEL Mallorca debuts July 1.