Kyiv has always been a photogenic place. From lush parklands and rolling hills to sandy beaches and the meandering majesty of the Dnipro River, the Ukrainian capital boasts the kind of natural riches befitting Europe’s famously fertile breadbasket. The city’s eclectic architectural ensemble and graceful boulevards add to the effect, combining with a seemingly endless supply of fairytale golden domes to make Kyiv one of the most visually appealing capitals on the planet.
A recent ranking of the world’s most photographed cities confirmed Kyiv’s reputation as a head turner, with the Ukrainian capital featuring in fifteenth place globally despite enjoying far less international prominence than any number of larger and more frequently visited rivals. Released in August 2018, the ranking is the work of international stock photo community Dreamstime.com. Officials trawled through the stock photo archives and crunched the numbers in order to identify the most photographed cities across the world.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York City took first place. Other ranking cities included global capitals like London, Paris, Beijing and Moscow alongside tourist favorites such as Barcelona, Istanbul and Bangkok. Despite finishing last among the top fifteen featured cities, Kyiv was arguably the standout entry in the ranking. The Ukrainian capital is neither a megacity in its own right nor a well-established international tourist destination. Instead, it seems that Kyiv earned its place in this elite company by virtue of sheer good looks alone.
We can expect to see even more Kyiv images appearing in stock photo databases in the coming months as the Ukrainian capital’s international profile continues to rise. The city has generated considerable positive attention in recent years by hosting major international events such as the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest and the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final. This has led to a slow but steady stream of enthusiastic reports in the international media profiling Kyiv as one of Europe’s few remaining undiscovered tourist treasures. Meanwhile, budget airline Ryanair’s autumn 2018 Ukraine market entry will make Kyiv significantly more competitive as a city break destination at a time when the city’s airports are already reporting unprecedented passenger growth figures.
The impact of this increased exposure and improved accessibility is already evident, with Kyiv city authorities expecting to establish a new annual record of over two million foreign guests by the end of 2018. As more visitors arrive, the number of photos testifying to Kyiv’s ample charms will also continue to rise. The Ukrainian capital city’s effortless elegance is the perfect antidote to tired old stereotypes of drab Soviet brutalism, and in Kyiv’s case, a picture really is worth a thousand words.