Kiev's Main Square
Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) is the city's main square and one of the most popular places for meetings. On weekends the traffic is blocked on Khreschatyk Street and visitors can enjoy a pleasant walk down the middle of the street. Ukraine's independence movement, from Moscow, began in this square when hundreds of university students went on a hunger strike in 1989, which led to the demise of the Communist Party in Ukraine. At that time stood a huge red marble statue of Lenin. When the statue was torn down, many of Kiev's citizens took part in its demolition.
The reconstruction of Independence Square was finished in 2002 and profoundly changed the city's image. During the reconstruction the Lyads'ky Gate was found, underground, on the square. It was the same gate which was assaulted by Batu Khan in the 13th century, having lost any hope to force his way through the Golden Gate. He managed to destroy the Gate enough to allow his numerous troops to break into the city. You will see the gate as a backdrop to fountains, which gather people around. If you have a chance, visit the underground shopping center "Globus" right under the square, where you will be able to have a rest from the noisy and crowded street. "Globus" consists of hundreds of western shops, boutiques and fast-food outlets.
Independence Square is Kiev's main square and one of the biggest and most interesting squares in Europe. It is composed of an eastern and western side with Khreschatyk running in between. Though the rear of the western side is marred by advertising signs and a McDonalds. The square's center has glass domes, fountains and green spaces. In the summer, food and beer tents are set up towards the rear and souvenir and book sellers put up their tables along the side walkways. The square is full of all sorts of people from teenage skaters to babushkas collecting empty beer bottles. Definitely the place to come to hang out and people watch, especially the hundreds of beautiful Ukrainian girls that gather on the square, every day.
Epicenter of the Orange Revolution
Ukraine's Orange Revolution of 2004-2005 was a series of protests and political events that started on Independence Square and mushroomed throughout the country in response to allegations of massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud during Ukraine's Presidential Run-off Election of November 21, 2004, as reported by numerous domestic and foreign observers. The run-off was called to give one of the two finalists of the presidential election held on October 31 a clear mandate to become the country's third president since its 1991 independence following the demise of the Soviet Union. Orange was adopted by the protesters as the official color of the movement because it was the predominant color in opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko's election campaign during his run for president.
Independence Square became epicenter of the revolution which included a large tent city on Khreschatyk Street - the action was highlighted by a series of nationwide protests, sit-ins, and planned general strikes, organized by supporters of opposition candidate Yushchenko following the disputed results of the November 21 run-off election. At times the demonstrators on Independence Square swelled up to 1 million people.
Due in large part to the movement's efforts, the results of the original run-off were annulled and a second run-off election was ordered by Ukraine's Supreme Court for December 26. Under intense international scrutiny, the official results of the second run-off proved to be virtually problem-free, legally valid and clearly in Yuschenko's favor. He was declared the official winner and with his inauguration on January 23, 2005 in Kiev, the Orange Revolution reached its successful and peaceful conclusion.