Popular souvenirs include paintings, ceramics and jewellery, all of which can be purchased at galleries or direct from artists on the street. Other good and authentically Ukrainian souvenirs include hand painted eggs (pyansky), carved wooden items and matryoshka dolls, which are actually Russian in origin. Hand-embroidered clothes are another good bet, although the quality can be variable.
Religious artefacts can make a good purchase, but it should be remembered that it is illegal to take antique objects out of the country. Soviet-era souvenirs are another popular buy although many of these have actually been manufactured recently abroad in countries like China. The buying of fur products is not to be encouraged as these may come from endangered species.
Large state or department stores tend to open Monday to Friday 0800-1900, whereas small boutiques are generally open 0900-1800.Some shops stay open as late as 2000. Smaller shops may close for an hour at lunch, usually from 1300-1400 or 1400-1500.
Nightlife in Ukraine
Opera is performed in the ornate theatres of Kiev, Lviv and Odessa. Ukrainians have a deep-rooted musical tradition and singing is very popular. Most cities offer opportunities to experience live music performances (rock, folk and jazz) and some of the more upmarket restaurants, in Kiev and Odessa especially, stage live music at weekends. Most cities also have good musical comedy, puppet-theatre and troupes performing theatrical works in Ukrainian and Russian. Tickets are cheap by Western standards and readily available on the day of performance at the box offices. Prominent visiting artists most often perform in Kiev's vast Ukraine Theatre, where prices are higher. For party animals, Kiev has an animated nightclub and disco scene, some of which operates from barges on the Dnieper River.