Resonance Consultancy’s exclusive ranking recognized Kyiv as the Honorary Best City of this year — 2023.
"The historic Ukrainian capital is the urban beacon of courage and resilience leading a defiant nation against a murderous aggressor. It is, like the rest of Ukraine, a place of inexhaustible courage in the face of daily tragedy," Best City.
The editors of Best City highlighted several key features of Kyiv. It is an ancient city that combines centuries-old buildings with modern minimalist urban gems. The city is immersed in greenery, and ancient churches and monasteries can be seen through the foliage of chestnut trees, one of which is the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra: this monastery complex was founded in the 11th century, which means that it is older than Moscow. The city is divided into 2 banks by the mighty Dnipro — one of the largest rivers in Europe. Dnipro is part of Ukraine's national heritage, home to dozens of stunning beaches, a resource for dozens of hydropower plants, and a source of drinking water for Kyivans. You can get from one bank of the Dnipro to the other by metro, which costs only 20 cents.
On the Dnieper, there is a large and cozy Trukhanov island — one of the favourite places of Kyiv youth. Next — the historical district of Podil with ancient frescoes and hidden courtyards; in the city centre — a glass bridge, Mariinsky park and the parliament building, as well as luxury restaurants where you can try not only the famous borscht but also a dish of "edible bees" with acacia honey, black pepper and berry sauce. The Landscape alley is a place where, while walking in the open air, you can simultaneously enjoy works of contemporary art and sculptures. After dinner, Kyiv invites you to dance. One of the most popular rave underground clubs is near the city's Muslim cemetery. However, the best clubs and bars in Kyiv do not have signs, and only local residents know about their existence.
"Not to worry, though, Kyivans are friendly and happy to take their foreign friends to their favourite places," Best City.
The city has changed. As for the capital, which they tried to capture in 3 days, and for almost a year they are bombarded with rockets and drones every day, Kyiv looks great.
"Remarkably, cinemas, restaurants and theaters remain open; stylish young people drink their filter coffee with their dogs and laptops; during rush hour, traffic jams once again clog the city’s arteries."
After the start of the illegal and criminal Russian war, almost half of the inhabitants left the city. However, over time, the Ukrainians returned, and this is not the first revival of Kyiv. The infrastructure of the city has improved: parks, squares, squares and buildings have been repaired, bike paths and more space for walking have been created, and transport has been replaced with a more modern one.
"The city's history is full of wars and revolutions—after each of which it inevitably blooms again in a 1.500-year cycle of devastation and rebirth."
The very spirit of the people of Kyiv and the entire Kyiv people was called a separate phenomenon of Best City. In particular, when developers try to demolish beautiful ancient frescoes and sculptures and build a modern building, the people of Kyiv do not let them do it. One example is the Landscape alley on the banks of the Dnipro. When developers wanted to build another building on this site, activists and artists united, decorated the alley with their works and made it a destination.
"Such conflicts between local residents and developers are a common story in the Ukrainian capital: in order to save their neighbourhood from unwanted development, its residents must tap their creativity and resourcefulness. That spirit is something the Russians didn't know about, or didn't want to believe in. And that's why they never had a chance."
And it was this force that brought the Ukrainians to the Maidan — the main square of the city and overthrew the pro-Russian regime of president Yanukovych. This is what makes Kyiv Kyiv.