Euro 2012 travel guide: Kiev

Welcome to the second part of our Euro 2012 away fans’ guide. After looking at Donetsk earlier in the week, we're now focusing on Kiev, the other city where England will play in Polkraine. DID YOU KNOW? There is no such place as Polkraine. Keep reading for more top travel tips than you can slop a borscht at.

Fixtures
Monday, June 11 – Ukraine v Sweden
Friday, June 15 – Sweden v ENGLAND
Tuesday, June 19 – Sweden v France
Sunday, June 24 – 1st Group D v 2nd Group C
Sunday, July 1 – Final

Stadium: Olimpiyskiy (capacity 65,000)
Ukraine’s national stadium contains a transparent roof, a raised pitch, a retractable stand, and inflatable grass. Closed for redevelopment in 2008, it re-opened in 2011, to the relief of Dynamo Kiev, whose form had suffered considerably while they were forced to play home matches inside a locked building site.

History of Kiev
Kiev can claim to be one of Eastern Europe’s oldest cities, if you overlook the many occasions when it was razed to the ground and rebuilt in a different place. First founded in the 9th century, the city was devastated by Khazars, Varangians, Pechenegs, a Mongol horde passing westwards, Lithuanians, Kipchaks, Rus warlords, the same Mongol horde returning eastwards, Tatars, and snow.

In 1482, city elders moved to replace Kiev’s outer wall, traditionally made of jelly, with a new stone one. Many historians consider this a crucial turning point in the city’s development. Indeed, the city would be razed to the ground a mere two further times, not counting the 20th century.

What to see
A short drive from Kiev, the Chernobyl Museum contains a life-size model of Chernobyl’s famous power station and a mocked-up ghost village. Visitors can climb inside an actual decommissioned nuclear reactor, and handle replica plutonium. Warning: may not be safe. May not in fact be a museum.


Careful, or you know what will fall off

Where to eat
Kvas Khata offers a range of traditional dishes at excellent prices. Some evenings it turns into a nightclub, often with no warning and when you least expect it. Clubbers often complain that it can just as suddenly turn back into a restaurant.

Where to stay
The rooms of the quirky, boutique Hotel Metropolitan are each decorated to resemble a different epoch of Ukrainian history. Prices are good, but there is a small chance your room will be invaded and razed to the ground. Satellite TV is included.

Famous resident
Kazimir Malevich, the pioneer of abstract geometric art, was born in Kiev in 1879. His works were banned in the USSR after he moved away from depicting heroic proletarian rhomboids and began experimenting with bourgeois isosceles trapeziums.

Safety tip
Beware of thieves, who will be on the lookout for easy pickings during Euro 2012. Avoid wearing trousers, as they contain vulnerable pockets, and before going to a match, make sure your ticket is safely locked away in your hotel.

Useful phrase
Shevchenko ne mih rozrizaty na krashhyj lihy V sviti.
– Shevchenko couldn’t cut it in the best league in the world.

More from Back of the Net

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Group A:
Poland – It's Not All Fun & Games
Russia – Excellent Control There
Greece – Cautious Football, Reckless Spending
Czech Republic – Might Not Surprise A Few People

Group B:
Netherlands
– Together As One, For Now
Germany – Herr There or Thereabouts
Portugal – It's Not All About Him, You Know
Denmark – Poulsen, Poulsen & Poulsen Aim For Glory

Group C:
Spain – So Good, They Might Not Even Bother
Italy
– The Bookmakers' Favourites
Croatia – Like A Game Of Chess. No, Really...
Rep of Ireland – Oh Yeah, Lucky As Anything

Group D:
Ukraine – No Definite Article
England – Struggling To Meet Low Expectations
France – Sane Coach Proving A Novelty
Sweden – Loveable Fans, Workmanlike Team

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