The capital of Ukraine is one of eastern Europe’s oldest cities. Ancient landmarks and churches abound. Yet one of the best attractions of Kiev, Landscape Alley, is barely a decade old.
Located behind the remnants of the millennium-old Church of the Tithes and the National Museum of the History of Ukraine, Landscape Alley was established as a protest against planned development in one of Kiev’s most iconic and ancient locations. I’ve heard a couple stories about whether it was a shopping mall or a skyscraper they were going to build. You’ll have to ask the tour guide of the Free Walking Tour for me when you go. Either way, what ended up getting built is a true work of art.
The alley was originally established in the early 1980’s by architect Miletsky Abraham. Then in 2009, it received a massive upgrade by sculptor Constantin Skretutsky. It now contains dozens of murals, statues, sculptures and an Alice in Wonderland playground.
One of the first art pieces to go up in Landscape Alley was the 92-foot-long caterpillar-cat, reminiscent of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. The mouth of the cat is probably the most Instagrammable selfie spot of Kiev. A few feet from this is a small statue few people recognize from The Little Prince.
Further on is the playground, complete with tea cup, white rabbit and Cheshire cat. A later addition of Alice can be found underneath, with an expression on her face suggesting that the mushroom she ate didn’t just make her bigger.
There are many more statues and sculptures to catch your attention. Perhaps one of the most interesting ones was four boys providing rather unique arcs to walk under.
Landscape Alley continued to be threatened with development even after the park was established, but in 2012 it received designation as a complex natural monument of local importance under the protection of the city.
The alley is just one of the many attractions to see in Kiev. While you can always explore on your own, my personal recommendation would be to take the Free Walking Tour. Maryna is a charismatic guide who really knows her city, and is passionate about her tours. They leave from Independence Square beneath the globe monument everyday at noon and 4 p.m., rain or shine. Bring a bottle of water, especially in the summer. The tour lasts about two and a half hours, and includes quite a bit of walking, including uphill. Say Hi to Maryna for me!