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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Olympic Stadium in Kiev is located at the foot of the city’s Cherepanov Hill, which is close to the city centre. The venue has previously had many names but adopted its current name in 1980 as the arena was used as part of the Moscow Olympics.
The latest stadium upgrade took place between 2008 and 2011 in preparation for the 2012 European Football Championships. The current capacity of the Olympic Stadium is 64,640 but its record attendance was set in 1977 when 102,000 watched a soccer game between Dynamo Kiev and Bayern Munich.
Today the stadium is home to the Ukrainian National Football Team and is also used to host Athletics events and pop concerts. Dynamo Kiev occasionally uses the stadium for their European Champions League games. The stadium is certainly impressive and its newly constructed transparent roof is its main attraction. The interior of the stadium is based on a two tier structure offering excellent viewing facilities from all seats.
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It's difficult to gauge a stadium's food and beverage pricing structure during major competitions like the 2012 Euro Championship that I attended, as catering is provided in this case by UEFA. However, for the tournament prices were extremely cheap and the food was also of good quality. Hot food ranges from chicken nuggets and fries to local pies and kiosks also sold a wide range of ice creams, sweets, confections, and crisps.
Large arenas with athletics tracks are normally not ideal for generating hostile atmospheres for soccer games. This cannot be said of the Olympic Stadium as the atmosphere for the game I attended between England and Sweden was excellent.
The stadium's new roof has helped retain the noise levels that are normally lost in venues of this nature. As the Olympic Stadium is home to the Ukraine National team, visiting the stadium for international matches is one which the opposition will not relish. Having watched Ukraine's game against Sweden on television during the Euro 2012 tournament, the high noise levels were transmitted to a world- wide stage.
I can do no more than highly recommend the city of Kiev to anyone who is looking for a city break. Flights to the capital are normally cheap as is accommodation. Eating and drinking is very reasonable with a pint of local beer costing in the range of 60p and a three course meal approximately Ł10.
Independence Square is the city's main attraction, but the area also boasts many churches, cathedrals and other buildings of Soviet architecture. There are also many museums with the Chernobyl Museum being one that is recommended. The main shopping area has all the high street stores as well as local markets.
For dining I can recommend the Oliva Restaurant, which is just a five minute walk from the station and also Muka, on Khreshchatyk Street. The city has hundreds of variously rated hotels located on both sides of the Dnieper River and I can recommend the Slavutych and Salute hotels from personal experience. A city with many sporting stadiums, Kiev is a city that I one day hope to return to.
Although locals have a huge interest in the English Premier and other top European leagues, the Ukraine national team have high attendance for home international matches. The scare mongering in the British press before Euro 2012 was totally unjustified. Ukrainian football supporters can be extremely proud of the welcome they gave to visitors during the tournament. They know their football and generated great atmosphere at not only their own games during the event but also at games involving other countries.
The Olympic Stadium is located right in the centre of the city so travelling in by car is not advisable. If you do so, then you will need to use one of the city centre car parks. Several Metro stations are located near to the stadium with Olimpilska and Palats Sportu being the nearest and a short five minute walk.
Buses are available to the centre from the railway station or if you prefer to walk it will take you about thirty minutes. Kiev has excellent train connections to all parts of the country and the new high speed trains purchased for Euro 2012 have reduced journeys by half. Kiev has two airports, Boryspil International and Zhulyany, both within easy reach of the city. These have very good connections using the local buses which are cheap and convenient. Beware if using taxis as unauthorised operators hang around airports and stations and can be expensive.
A visit to the Olympic Stadium is an excellent value for money and tickets for international football matches are cheap compared to many other European countries. An excellent arena in an excellent city is truly recommended and in today's age can be achieved without placing a heavy burden on your wallet.
The stadium offers comfort with very good catering and toilet facilities available within the stadiums concourse. Big screens are located at each end of the venue with televisions a plenty elsewhere within the stadium. Stadium tours are available and details can be found on the stadium website.
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Krasnoarmeyskaya str. 34
Kiev, Ukraine 03150
(+380) 44 463 75 92
Kiev, Ukraine 03150
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