History of Kiev


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History of Kiev city

Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine and one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to more than 1500 years.

City of Kiev was founded in the 5th century and has always occupied a special place in the history of Eastern Europe, was also a political and cultural capital of Kievan Rus in the 10th and 12th century, was the cradle of Christianity in the Russian Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Kiev commercial rise during the late 19th century Industrial Revolution in Eastern Europe.

The capital of independent Ukraine - Kiev began in 1991.

Today, Kiev is undoubtedly the largest economic, political and financial centre of Ukraine.

According to the ancient legend, Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, was founded by three brothers, Kiy, Schek and Khoriv, and their sister Lybed, at the end of the 5th-beginning of the 6th centuries. The city was named after the eldest brother Kiy (from whom the name Kiev was derived). Kiev is a Ukrainian spelling and Kiev is Russian, more known worldwide since the Soviet times.

Prior to the formation of Kievan Rus in Kiev and Kiev region in the era of long lived many ancient peoples, Cimmerians, Scythians, and Goths, but at the end of the 9th century the city became the political and cultural center of the eastern Slavs. In the year 988 Christianity, introduced by Great Prince Vladimir, became the official religion of the Kievan Russia. This helped to establish political and cultural relations with such states as the Byzantium Empire and Bulgaria. At that time almost 50,000 people lived in the city; there were about 400 churches and 8 markets. When Vladimir Monomakh died in the year 1152, the mighty Kievan Rus began to decay. In 1240 Kiev was demolished by Baty-khan. Only in the 14th century Kiev began to revive. But in 1362 Great Duke of Lithuania captured the city. For more than one hundred years it was under the command of Lithuanian and Polish dukes. People's liberation war of 1648-1654 against the Lithuanian-Polish Yoke led to liberation. But Cossack armies, headed by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, couldn't manage to conquer the enemy without help from Russia. As a result, Ukraine plunged under a long period of domination by the Russian Empire. Since that time the history of Ukraine and Kiev was closely connected with Russian history.

Archaeological excavations show evidence of the first settlements on the territory of Kiev 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.

The early settlers of Kiev built their citadel on the steep right bank of the Dnepr River to protect themselves from Nomadic tribes. Later, Kiev's Grand Dukes built their palaces and churches on oldest Kiev’s Hill, while artisans and merchants settled next to the wharf on the Dnepr. By the end of the 9th century, when the Grand Dukes of Kiev united scattered Slavic tribes, Kiev became the political centre of the Eastern Slavs. The city maintained wide foreign and commercial trade links due to its favourable position in the middle of trade routes between the Vikings and the Greeks (strict way from Northern Europe and the Baltics to the Mediterranean). Kiev`s development accelerated during the reign of Grand Duke Vladimir the Great (980-1015). In 988 Vladimir established Orthodox Christianity as the official religion of the realm in order to strengthen the power of Kiev on the broader international arena. During that time the first stone temple in Russia, Desyatinnaya church, was constructed.

During the 11th and 12th centuries ancient Kiev Rus reached its greatest period of ascendancy. By the 11th century Kiev was one of the largest centres of civilization in the Eastern Christian world. At that time, there were about 400 churches, 8 markets and more than 50,000 inhabitants in Kiev. For comparison, at the same time the population of London, Hamburg and Gdansk was about 20,000 people. Kiev was among the most prospering craft and shopping centres of Europe. After the death of Kiev`s great Prince Vladimir Monomakh in 1125, Kiev Rus became involved in a long period of feudal wars. Foreign powers were quick to take advantage of this situation. In the fall of 1240, the Tatar-Mongols headed by Baty-khan, captured Kiev after series of long and bloody battles. Kiev fell into a prolonged period of decline. The Tartar-Mongols ruled for almost a century. Despite a foreign rule, Kiev retained its artisan, trade and cultural traditions and remained an important political, trade and cultural centre. In the 14th century, the Kiev region became the cradle for the modern Ukrainian nation.

Until the 14th century Kiev paid tribute to the Golden Horde. Then it passed under the control of Great Lithuanian Duchy, which in 1569 was united with Poland.

A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kiev was a tributary of the Khazars, until seized by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid 9th century. Under Varangians rule, the city became a capital of the Rus’, the first East Slavic state. Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1240, the city lost most of its influence for the centuries to come. It was a provincial capital of marginal importance in the outskirts of the territories controlled by its powerful neighbours; first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by Poland and Russia.

The long road to the independence of Ukraine began with Cossack military campaigns. In 1648-1654 Cossack armies, headed by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Ukraine's Cossack leader, waged several wars to liberate Ukraine. In 1648, when the Ukrainian Cossacks rose against Poland, Kiev became for a brief period the centre of the Ukrainian State. But soon, confronted by the armies of Polish and Lithuanian feudal lords, Bogdan Khmelnitsky sought the protection of the Russian Tsar in the Treaty of Pereyaslav. After Ukraine's union with Russia in 1654, however, the city was acquired by Moscow. During a long period of domination by the Russian Empire Ukraine in the 17th and 18th centuries managed to preserve and enjoy some of its rich political, economic, cultural, and religious achievements.

The city prospered again during the Russian Empire’s industrial revolution in the late 19th century. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kiev became its capital. And from 1921 onwards Kiev was an important city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and, from 1934, its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but quickly recovered in the post-war years, remaining the third largest city of the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian independence of 1991, Kiev remained the capital of Ukraine.

Strategically situated on the biggest waterway of Ukraine, the Dnipro River, much of Kiev’s progress has come from its advantageous geographical location: within its boundaries are about 448 bodies of water, with woody hills, ravines and slopes on the right bank part, sandy beaches and an abundance of greenery all around the territory.


Kiev now days

The city of Kiev is a well planned urban area. Its transportation network connects the city with all of Europe and Russia. It has two airports: Boryspil International Airport located 35 kms outside of the city which services mainly international flights and connects the city with more than 40 world capitals and the Kiev Domestic Airport which mainly services local flights. As well there are nine freight terminals that service cargo transit through the city. On land, Kiev boasts of a transport network that includes stretches of underground coaches and tram lines, trolley bus lines. The Kiev-Passenger is the city’s central railway station and its metro station, the Vozkalna links right to the railway station. Another mode of transportation which can be found in Kiev is the funicular which connects the Upper town and the lower neighborhood of Podil. Whilst its transportation system is capable of serving its more than 2 million commuters, the roads are in need of serious repair and improvement.

Kiev is also recognized as a scientific powerhouse, accounting for a number of Ukraine’s research and design institutes, higher and special technical schools as well as scientific institutions. In Kiev, more than 100 universities.

Historic areas such as the Andriievskiy Descent, the Kreschatik street and the Independence Square hold an array of cultural landmarks that speak of the city’s rich traditions and legacies from its churches, museums, castles, parks, military fortresses to its art centers and theatres.

The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is one of the city’s most important historic landmark built in 1051, the monastery serves as a historical and cultural symbol of Kiev, which creates spiritual and cultural value for the Russian nations and also as a spiritual center of the Christian world in the east Europe.

The Golden Gate are also one of the city’s most important historic landmark built in the mid-11th century and said to have been modeled after the Golden Gate of Constantinople.

Consistent growth and modernization has opened Kiev to more western influences, the influx of tourism is proving to be beneficial not only to the city’s economy but to the rest of Ukraine as well. The city’s landscape is burgeoning with new hotels, restaurants, office buildings and other recreational spots to cater to visitors coming from the Europe.

The climate in Kiev is moderately continental with winters that are relatively mild and summers temperately warm.