Euro 2012: Things to see in Ukraine’s host cities
LONDON, May 28 — With Ukraine hosting its first UEFA European Football Championship, sharing responsibilities with Poland, the Eastern European state will draw millions of football fans in June and July.
Ukraine’s four biggest cities, Kiev, Donetsk, Lviv and Kharkov, have been chosen to host a number of games. Relaxnews looked into their most famous landmarks to help you take in the sights when the action stops on the field.
Ukraine’s capital and largest city (839 sq km) boasts a population of 2.82 million. It’s also the country’s political, scientific, academic and industrial centre. Tourists in the city centre flock to Maidan Nezalezhnosticity (Independence Square) to admire its famous column and six fountains. On the Dnieper embankment, the monument to the founders of Kiev (brothers Kyi, Schek and Khoryv and their sister Lybidof) is also a must-see: it was chosen as a symbol of the city on Kiev’s official UEFA Euro 2012 logo. Kiev’s numerous cathedrals — especially Saint Michael’s and Saint Sophia’s — are also a major tourist draw.
Founded by a Welsh businessman in the 19th century, Donetsk built its reputation on the strength of its steel and coal industries and cemented it with roses, earning the nickname “City of a Million Roses” thanks to the 180-plus varietals of the flower planted across the city (which spans 358 sq km). Donetsk was built on the banks of the Kalmius river and is famous for the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus and its pedestrian-only bridge.
Located 70km from the Polish border, the city of Lviv was founded in the 13th century. The legacy left by the Austro-Hungarian Empire bestowed the city’s architecture with a Western European feel. Its nickname, “The City of Lions,” explains the proliferation of depictions of the feline across the city landmarks. Tourists can also admire the opera when the sun sets on Svobody avenue, as well as Rynok square, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ranking among the most important centres of higher education and research in Eastern Europe, Kharkov spans 310 sq km and is the home of 1.4 million people. Its numerous campuses attract some 12,000 foreign students every year. The Dzerkalnyi Strumin (literally “Mirror Stream”) fountain, which was erected in Pobedy Park (“Victory Park”) in 1947, is one of the city’s main tourist attractions along with Saint Eugene Chapel. — AFP-Relaxnews