To provide meaningful architecture is not to parody history but to articulate it.
-Daniel Libeskind, modernist Polish-American architect
To better understand historic Ukrainian architecture, a visit to Kiev and Lviv's open air folk museums is a good place to start.
Buildings built from the late-1500s up to the 1950s have been brought to these sites from different parts of Ukraine, and here they have been carefully reassembled. Most buildings are open to visitors (each one has its own opening hours) and worth a peak inside, especially the more modern homes at Pyrohiv. Dark wooden churches look like dry docked ships but the lavishly-decorated altars inside make them popular wedding venues. Building interiors are cozy and display traditional household utensils, clothing, embroidery and paintings; museum employees watching the buildings sell beautiful handicrafts and play folk music. Museum entrance is only a few dollars, so it's well-worth the visit to experience traditional Ukrainian architecture and folk traditions.
Pyrohiv Museum of Folk Architecture in Kiev
This 370-acre (1.5 square kilometer) museum has a beautiful, dramatic cluster of wooden windmills on a hill as well as a section of modern homes from post-revolutionary times. Getting to Pyrohiv takes a bit of patience, as it's about 1.5 hours taking the metro and a bus then walking (much easier to get to than the Mezhyhirya Residence, though).
Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Lviv
Claiming to be one of Europe's biggest open air museums, this one is decidedly more rural and tucked into a thick forest just outside of the city center.