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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Ukraine

31st May 2012

Why Kyiv is brilliant

Central Kyiv (about 5 minutes’ walk from the Embassy)

The view is astounding.  Below, a mighty river winds through a brilliant green landscape.  A steep bluff studded with golden domes tumbles down to the shore.  Below me are several hundred tonnes of stainless steel.  Welcome to one of the world’s great – and least-known – cities.

After years of writing blogs about visits to interesting corners of Ukraine, I sometimes worry I do not write enough about the qualities of Kyiv.  A city of three and a half million, Kyiv has a vibrant arts and cultural scene; a dramatic city centre landscape full of hills, parks and beaches; and more museums and monuments than any would-be tourist could ask for.

But all this pales into insignificance next to the Kyiv way of life.  The inhabitants of the city are experts in the art of enjoying the outdoors, whether sitting in the numerous beer-gardens or open-air restaurants, strolling down the main street of Khreshatik (pedestrianised at weekends and for the whole of Euro 2012) or mucking about in or on the river.  In the winter the parks are alive with sledges and skiers.

All this adds up to what is potentially a great tourist experience.  It’s also a terrific place to live, as the many Brits who live here will testify – even if, as in any other major city, there are some rough edges.  I hope that the enthusiastic band of England fans who come here either in transit to Donetsk, for the England-Sweden match in Kyiv on 15 June or (if England do well) for either the quarter-final on 24 June or the final on 1 July will find time to check out one of the secret splendours of Europe.

Courtesy of Mary and Detlef Golletz

3 comments on “Why Kyiv is brilliant

  1. Good afternoon, Mr. Turner.
    Recently I’ve read your article about Kyiv. I can agree with you that Kyiv is a beautiful city. I live not far from it and I was there many times. Of course, Kyiv has a bad sides too, but its centre is really great and similar to famous European cities.
    But most of all I like your native country. I have never been to Great Britain, I read a lot about it, saw pictures with England and watched movies about this country. England with its landscapes, cities and villages charmed me. London is wonderful city, inimitable in its beauty beauty and architecture.
    Can you agree with me? What do you think about my opinion?

  2. Kyiv is a vibrant and beautiful city, I hope many Brits will vista this month and in the future

  3. Yes,Kiev is beautiful place to visit,especially its central part and everything is cheap.

Comments are closed.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.