For the perfect socially-distanced day out, Kyiv’s finest open-air museum is waiting
According to scientists, the risk of contracting that nasty virus is highest when spending extended periods of time in enclosed spaces with other people. To minimise that risk, it stands to reason that we should seek out the exact opposite: wide open spaces.
There is no shortage of space at the Pyrohiv National Museum on the outskirts of Kyiv. This living open-air museum doubles up as one of the city’s largest and most interesting parks, covering an area of 370 acres. The park is home to over 300 old buildings, gathered from across Ukraine and meticulously reconstructed. There are homes, churches, windmills, and even a school house. The oldest church dates back almost 300 years.
A walk around Pyrohiv is a trip back to a simpler time. Be prepared to walk a lot (if you don’t fancy tackling all those acres on foot, bicycles can be hired next to the entrance – just make sure you bring a form of ID with you).
The exhibits tell stories of the lives that were lived in Ukraine from decade to decade and region to region: based on the different construction styles, you can picture what life was like in hill or dale, on arable land or pasture. Most of the buildings are accessible to visitors, so you can take a peek at the interior decoration too. Early summer also sees the gardens in full bloom, making a visit to Pyrohiv a treat for the eyes as well as the brain.
As with most state facilities in Ukraine, the entrance fee is easy on your wallet. Lunch is similarly inexpensive (and good-quality). You’ll find a stretch of stalls selling a range of mouth-watering food, much of which is cooked over open coals. These days, it’s served with a new kind of professionalism: in light of the present hygiene requirements, the park management have installed a thick plastic barrier between customers and servers. The staff are masked and wearing gloves, and everything looks very clean.
Alongside the food stalls is a seating area next to a large open field with a stage. It is here that Ivana Kupala is usually celebrated in early July. Don’t forget to pack a blanket for your visit: after lunch, spread your blanket out on the grass and stare up at the clouds (if there are any). It’s also a great place for people-watching: you’ll see families larking about, men picking flowers for their dates, and friends photographing each other in front of the windmills that line the top of the hill.
Visitors looking for the perfect gift will be spoilt for choice, from established stores selling wooden swords to makeshift tables piled high with vinoks (traditional flower wreaths). You may even stumble upon a stall selling fruit at half of the price of the bazaar.
Though you may not want to head back to the city afterwards, all that open space and fresh air will surely have done your soul a world of good.
National Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine
Akademika Tronka 1
Monday to Sunday 09.00 – 18.00
+380 98 913 8007