Nestled around the Dnieper River in central Ukraine – about 160 kilometres south east of Kiev – Kaniv is an important river port city with historical roots stretching back to the 11th century. It was one of the largest cities in the Kyivan Rus Federation (or Kievan Rus), and the place where the old Russian Tsars and local militant tribes would hold their diplomatic meetings.
These days, Kaniv is known primarily as the burial place of the late Ukrainian poet and painter Taras Shevchenko. Chosen for its natural beauty and spectacular scenery, it was one of the late poet’s dying wishes to be buried on a hill overlooking the mighty Dnieper River. This wish was ultimately fulfilled, and now a statue and museum dedicated to the poet’s life stand guard on Taras Hill – part of the Shevchenko National Preserve.
Apart from its natural endowments, Kaniv is also home to a number of other interesting attractions, including a 12th century Orthodox Cathedral, numerous museums and an armored train right at the city’s entrance. Thousands of tourists visit Kaniv each year, making the city one of the most popular destinations in Ukraine.
Cruise ships dock in the heart of the city along the Dnieper River. From the port, it’s only a short walk into the city centre.
Alternatively, some cruise lines may provide a shuttle into town.
The port at Kaniv is rather basic and only equipped with minimal facilities. However, once in the city, passengers can find everything they need for a pleasant stay.
- Internet access
- Public toilets
- Restaurants and cafés
- ATMs and Foreign Exchange services
- Tourist Information Office.
Taxis can be flagged down once in town.
There are also a number of hotels scattered throughout the city.
How To Get Around
The city of Kaniv is actually quite small and can be explored on foot. Taxis can also be hired; however, it’s best to book them in advance.
Travel times from the cruise port:
- It is a 10 minute journey to the Kaniv History Museum
- It is a 10 minute journey to the Assumption Cathedral.
Currency – The local currency in Kaniv is the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 kopiyok (100 kopiyok equals 1 hryvnia) and 1 hryvnia denominations. Notes come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 hryvnia denominations.
Time Zone – Kaniv is on Eastern Europe Time (EET), which is just 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Kaniv experiences a rather cold climate, with significant rainfall throughout the year. During the warmer months of June to August, daytime temperatures average around 20 degrees Celsius. However, during winter (December to February) daytime temperatures average just -5 degrees Celsius. Kaniv sees about 550mm of rainfall annually, most of it falling during the warmer summer months.
Shevchenko National Preserve – Take a stroll around this beautiful nature reserve overlooking the Dnieper River and visit the burial site of Ukraine’s greatest poet and national figure, Taras Shevchenko. Created in 1925, this national park is dotted with towering trees and is a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The park also houses a 10-room interactive museum dedicated to Taras Shevchenko, displaying various works from the late poet. The Shevchenko National Preserve is open from 8am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
Kanev History Museum – Opened in 1991, the Kaniv History Museum contains over 7,000 exhibits and tells the story of the city from antiquity right up to modern times. The collection includes Stone Age ceramic artifacts and old coins from Kyivan Rus times. The museum is open from 9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
The Assumption Cathedral – Built in 1144, this impressive Christian Orthodox cathedral painted in white and green is a prime example of pre-Mongol architecture. Inside the cathedral gorgeous frescoes line the walls and ceiling, creating an atmosphere of reverence. History tells us that the body of Taras Shevchenko was kept here for two days before finally making its way to the Shevchenko National Preserve. Try and coincide your visit to the cathedral during the morning mass for an authentic Christian Orthodox experience.
Walking tour – Spend a few hours walking around the city and marvel at Soviet-era monuments, including the Motherland Monument and the monument to the Soviet hero Oleg Koshevoy, as well as a small folk-art museum and the lively Tricky Market. Kaniv is also home to a lovely city park that is the final resting place of the famous children’s author Arkady Gaidar.