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General information about Kiev, Ukraine capital

Once one of the famous Ukrainian actors said: “Do you love Kiev the way I love it?” and it is not occasionally as every person, who comes to the capital of Ukraine, falls in love with it forever. If you want to understand what is so mesmerizing in the main city of the country, learn general information about it.

general information about kiev

Being a capital city of Ukraine Kiev is considered to be one of the largest European cities perfect for guiding and located on the banks of the Dnipro river. It is a center of Kievan region in the north of the country with 3 million population, an exciting history and interesting culture and traditions.

Facts about Kiev

There are several facts worth learning about Kiev:

  1. Kiev was founded over 1,500 years ago by three brothers and their sister.
  2. Spelling “Kiev” is commonly used in English in city guides, but according to the official data and governmental decision the word “Kyiv” must be spelled in this way.
  3. The area of the capital of Ukraine is 840 square kilometers and it constantly grows joining new territories.
  4. Kiev location is very pleasant. It is divided into 10 administrative districts, 7 of which are on the right bank and 3 on the left one.
  5. Most of Kiev population speaks two languages: Ukrainian and Russian and 83% of them are Ukrainians.
  6. Ukrainian capital offers a brilliant opportunity for guiding and sightseeing as it houses two World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO such as the St. Sophia Cathedral and the Kiev Pechersk Lavra as well as other numerous sights including Andriyivskiy Uzviz, Golden Gate, Khreshchatyk, an abundance of churches, cathedrals, museums, theatres, parks etc.
  7. The capital city of Ukraine can boast the deepest underground station in Europe called “Arsenalna”.
  8. The city is a developed educational center with such renowned educational establishments as Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Kyiv Polytechnic University etc.
  9. It is one of twelve world cities that has received an honorary title of the hero City after World War II.
  10. The most popular souvenir brought from this hero city is a famous and incredibly delicious Kiev cake that is relatively young and produced since 1956.
  11. The highest monument of the capital that belongs to top five of world’s highest sculptures and Ukraine interesting facts is Mother Motherland that is 102 m.
  12. Kiev is one of the greenest cities in the world with such zones covering 43,600 hectares and offering 168 sq. meters per each resident.
  13. Time in Kiev is two hours later than standard GMT/UTC.
  14. Another interesting fact mentioned in Kiev info is the fact that is the starting point of the Russian Christianity introduced in 988 by Prince Vladimir.

History of the city

Despite the fact that documented history of the capital is a bit over 1,500 years according to the archeological findings and researches the settlement on this place was founded about 20,000 years ago. The most widely spread legend about the founders of Kiev is such one: three brothers known as Kyi, Schek and Khoryv together with their sister Lybid founded a city of the Dnipro banks between the 5th and 6th centuries and named it after their eldest brother. There were many different tribes living in the suburbs of Kiev and by the 9th century it had become a Slavic political center and a capital of the Kievan Rus, one of the most powerful states in Western Europe. With the acceptance of Christianity and development of the city in the 9th-10th centuries, Kiev reached its cultural and political significance which is called Golden Age by historians. Numerous competitions of the Rurik dynasty representatives have weakened the political power of the capital and resulted in the fact that it was captured and almost completely burnt in 1203 by Rurik Rostislavich and 37 years later by Tatar-Mongol forces.

Photo of old Kyiv
Photo of antient Kyiv
Photo of soviet Kyiv

The period between 1241 and 1362 is characterized by the dependence on the Golden Horde and the obligations to pay tribute to it. In 1362 as a result of the Battle at Blue Waters Kiev became one of the parts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and by 1471 had been ruled by princes from this state. It has also undergone attacks of Crimean Tatars and in 1569 its territories were given to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and it was a capital of Kiev Voivodeship.

Ukrainian people have suffered from Polish influence until in 1648 Cossacks headed by Bohdan Khmelnytsky have triumphantly returned authority over Ukrainian territories and established Cossack Hetmanate there. Constantly attacked by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Cossacks had to turn for military support to Tsardom of Russia and as a consequence of numerous treaties Kiev fell under the Russian control and lost its autonomy in 1775 according to the order of the Catherine the Great. Despite the great influence of Polish and Russian cultures Ukrainians were willing to revive their origins and created secret societies that struggled for this objective. One of such renowned political societies is the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius who put forward an idea of federation and ceasing of suppression of everything Ukrainian.

The 19th century is characterized by the industrial revolution in the Russian Empire and Kiev became a significant trade, educational and industrial center with the foundation of new cultural and infrastructure facilities shown to visitors of Kiev by a guide even today. The beginning of the 20th century allows Ukrainians to get rid of Russian suppression and Ukrainian autonomy (1917) and later independent republic were declared. But all the hopes were diminished by Bolshevist troops and the Germans who occupied the city. After several efforts to create an independent state the Ukrainian SSR was established in 1922 and Kiev lost its title of the capital, though has undergone reconstruction and development.

The 1930s were quite difficult years for Kiev and Ukrainian population as they suffered from Holodomor and controversial Soviet policy: Ukrainian people were executed and cultural monuments were destroyed or vandalized. With the beginning of World War II in 1941 Kiev has experienced the most severe times as it was a center of mass murders and was completely burnt by the Nazi soldiers.

Post-war period features a tremendous positive socio-economic growth with significant achievements in science, building, and technology. At the same time, the oppression of everything pro-Ukrainian has not stopped. Only in 1991, Ukraine managed to announce its independence and Kiev became the capital of this new state. Since that time it has constantly developed and now flourishes for its citizens and does not stop on its achievements.