I don't know who voted or how Kyiv received a ranking of 132 out of 140 capital cities but it my opinion it must have been rated by people who have never been here not only not lived here. And here are a 'few' reasons why Kyiv is a wonderful place to live based on my 25 years of living and working here:
1) where else in a capital city of Europe could you take a taxi at any hour of the day or night seven days a week from its international airport to the centre of the city, a journey of 42 km, for €10? And not Uber!
2) below are the photos of the sandy beach on the magnificent Dnipro River, that splits Kyiv into two halves, that is a 15 minute drive from the capital's city centre. And with 2200 km. of Dnipro shoreline is just one of hundreds of such sandy beaches where you can relax, swim, picnic with an open BBQ and park your car within meters and all for free. And check out the view on the opposite bank of the river of the magnificent Lavra monastery complex which is nearly a 1000 years old. I don't know of another capital city anywhere that can offer you all of this.
3) Kyiv is internationally renowned as a 'green city' because there are 100 parks, nearly 500 public gardens which in total means there is 20m2 of greenery per inhabitant. But it is not only parks and gardens which beautify this wonderful city but also the number of tree lined boulevards throughout the city, mostly chestnut trees, which when they come into bloom in May give Kyiv the nickname 'the pink city'.
In the supermarkets of Kyiv the diversity of products available is immense and could even put western supermarkets to shame. There seems little evidence of 'profit per square meter' which in some western supermarkets has considerably lessened the breadth of product availability. And due to the ever widening range of locally sourced products at low by international standards prices you eat at home or dine out at very affordable prices for some excellent products. For example duck or goose breasts, fois gras, Angus beef, goat cheese, wild mushrooms, snail caviar ( that's a new one), Black Sea oysters and mussels and an absolutely massive range of in-store baked breads. And all at prices of up to 50% less than in EU countries; for example a baguette for €0.30. These low prices are reflected also in restaurant prices: for example the TUCC hosts dinner events with a four course dinner with wines, aperitifs and with coffee and tea for only €40. And if you're a McDonald's fan a Big Mac costs €1.
5) the population of Kyiv are so friendly and welcoming to foreigners so that you 'feel at home' from day one. The majority of street signs are also in English as are all signs and announcements on the excellent Metro system where you can travel the length and breadth of the system for €0.16c per trip.I don't actually know of any other city whose Metro system is so welcoming. Another advantage is that you can stroll around the city centre day and night feeling safe and secure; in 25 years no one I know has ever been attacked or mugged.
6) during the summer we never leave Kyiv as the weather is usually as good or even better than anywhere you could travel to. Today as I am writing this article the temperature outside is a very pleasant 32° with a light breeze and a clear blue sky. It has been more or less the same since May and will most probably continue, although not quite so warm, until September. A very convenient aspect of the weather is that the majority of the rainfall tends to occur during the night. This gives maximum time to enjoy the beaches, parks, the pretty streets and monuments of this city which has had such a diverse history. But Kyiv has proper seasons which in turn produces diversity of dress, activities and hobbies such as wild mushroom picking, ice fishing, winter BBQs, skiing and skating.
7) politically and economically Kyiv and Ukraine have gone through the topsy turvy era just like most ex Warsaw pact countries and despite Putin's attempts to thwart it seems to have chosen to try and integrate with Europe rather than their eastern nieghbours. Consequently Putin's actions have tended to consolidate the people of Ukraine into a nation whether they are Orthodox or Catholic, Russian or Ukrainian speaking or old or young. They are now a nation of Ukrainians.
8) and finally there is a fairly substantial body of opinion that provided the leaders eventually stop screwing things up, which unfortunately they have propensity to keep doing, the future for Kyiv and the whole country could be very easily one of the most exciting in the whole of Europe.
For all of us that do love this country and its people we certainly hope so.
And as for Kyiv being one of the worst capitals in which to live: complete and utter rubbish.
|About the author: Terry Pickard has lived in Kyiv since 1992. He is Chairman of Pickard real estate agency and founder of The Ukrainian Connoisseur Club|