Kiev is home to the most incredible museum I’ve ever seen: the Mykola Syadristy Microminiature Museum.

After eating an apple puff and a hot chocolate for 15 hryvnias (~$0.60), I took a bus over to the Pecherskyi District which is home to a multitude of amazing museums, churches, and caves. Though I was only expecting the Microminiature museum, I was continually surprised by the buildings I walked into.

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I’m not even sure what the above was, as no one was there. I just wandered into the building, looked my fill, and walked out–it felt haunted, as though the artists had suddenly abandoned ship.

None of the museums allowed photography, but all were amazing. I particularly loved the Museum of Ukrainian Folk Art for the old clothing and gorgeous sculptures it contained.

Finally, I made it to the awaited microminiature museum and wow. Just wow. There were about thirty pieces set up with microscopes in front of them, and I wasn’t really expecting much until I looked into the first microscope, looked away to see the whole piece, and looked in again and gasped.

There was a hair that had been polished until it was clear with a rose inside it. There was a violin with hairs that were a 40th the size of one human hair. There was a chessboard on a pin. A chessboard. On. A pin. There was sheet music 600 notes long on one of 99 petals that were 2x5mm, smaller than a grain of rice. There was a flea with golden shoes. It was all absolutely stunning and incredible and everyone should go to Ukraine just to see them. I’m still reeling.

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After leaving the area around the one church, I set off searching for caves–there had been signs about caves, and a place that had tour guides to the caves, so I knew there had to be some caves somewhere.
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This was kind of like a Ukrainian souk or market of some sort. All the way down the hill there were vendors selling handcrafted items and bibles and icons and a few selling homemade honey and other foods. I loved the bustle and the narrowness and how friendly everyone seemed.

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I don’t know what’s up with this tree, but it’s super cool!

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And finally, I found the caves. Actually, I didn’t. I followed someone into what I thought was a shop. He went into a place marked “prayer only” in English, so I went to the shopkeeper and asked “caves?” and she pointed me after him. Okay, I thought. The caves are apparently more of a monastery, and the public was only allowed into one section, and this had one of the most religious feelings I’d ever experienced in a place. I followed a few people holding candles down a series of stairs and into a narrow passageway, so narrow that I could have touched both of my elbows to the walls. There were various coffins and people praying over them, and though I wished I knew more about what I was experiencing, the atmosphere was really touching.WP_009170

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On my way back, I encountered a protest of some sort in front of a government building. Speaking no Ukrainian, I have no idea what was going on…but it was almost cool.
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The best statue ever!

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Paintings literally littered the footpath–gorgeous, gorgeous paintings.

I spent at least an hour searching the streets for the legendary Hedgehog Monument to no avail. If anyone ever finds it, please tell me where it is!

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The sunset from the airport.