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Paper tour guide
8O pages, detailed map, tour guide, walking tour map, directory, in English.
Kiev history began 1500 years ago. “Tale of the Bygone Years” reports that brothers Kiy, Schek and Khoriv with their sister Lybid were its founders.
First, each of the brothers laid the foundations of a separate fortified settlement at the hills of the right bank or the Dnieper river. This is where the names Kiev hills come from – Khorivitsa I Shekavitsa. In some time “they did establish a small town and in honor of their eldest brother named it Kiev”. “The small town” became a capital of an eastern Slavic tribe – Polyany, the residence of their prince. Due to the favorable geographic location, in 7th – 9th centuries Kiev turned into international trade center. The steep Borychiv descent joined “Kiy’s settlement” with Podol – the second oldest part of Kiev after the Upper city. Artisans and merchants settled there.
After Kiy, the first known by names rulers of Polyany were Askold and Dir who were killed by Varangian Prince Oleg in around 882. The later became small Igor’s regent. Thus, according to the chronicle, a new family – Rurikides – became enthroned; In the time they ruled the city became the capital of united Easter Slavic state – Kievan Rus. In 988 Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles proclaimed Christianity the religion of his county. The city becomes the Orthodoxy center of all Eastern Europe. In 11th century the most famous Rus cloister – Kiev-Pechersk Lavra – was founded not far from the prince’s suburban residence in Berestove. The dwelling place gave its name to the entire area – Pechersk – that became an important part of Kiev in time. In 1240, one of the most beautiful and heavily populated European cities was ravaged by Mongolian invaders.
A new era began when Kiev Appanage Principality 1362-1470 was formed within Lithuanian-Rus state. New Kiev prince, offspring of the Lithuanian Great Prince’s house of Gediminas, learned the local language and culture and actively restored what the Mongols ruined. As a result of devastating Tatar forays and appanage principality abolition the city fell into decay again. Somewhere between 1494-1497 Kiev was given Magdeburg low – self-governance and some other benefits. This improved the city’s economy to some extent. After the Lithuanian possessions in Ukraine passed to the Polish Kingdom, Catholic Church expansion to traditionally Orthodox lands increased. The ancient Rus capital was playing an important role in a fight between Greek and Roman Catholics with the Orthodox that began in 1596.
In 1632, the Kiev Collegiums was created that later became Kiev-Mohyla Academy – the first higher educational facility in Eastern Europe.
In 1654, as a result of national Liberation war of the Ukrainian people under Bogdan Khmelnitsky’s leadership, Kiev entered the Russian Commonwealth. Owing to the war, city population decreased from 15 000 people in 1648 to 3000 in 1654.
After the discord of the war, in the middle of 17th – beginning of 18th centuries quiet times came. Since 18th century the number of pilgrims coming to warship Kiev sacred places and object had greatly increased. This led to intensive church construction. Culture bloomed, but economic development was slow. Rather modest population growth was observed. The situation started changing closer to the end of 18th century when Right-Bank Ukraine joined the Russian Empire. Kiev, being sub-boundary outpost, became the center of large region. In 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries, Kiev became a significant industrial center. Since 1830s, a new large-scale Kiev district was constructed to the south from the Upper City and to the west from Pechersk, it was named “New Quarters”. By that time the city population was about 50 000 people for the first time since 13th century. The population continued to increase until it stood at around 600 000 in 1917.
In 1917 - 1920 Kiev became involved in Ukrainian national revolution and the events that led to the founding of the Soviet Union. After the victory of the Bolsheviks victory, Kiev became the leading scientific and industrial center of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic republic, and in 1934, its capital. In 1923 the first territories on the Dnepr river left bank were affixed to the city. In 1941 the population exceeded 900 000. During war with Nazi Germany, Kiev was attacked and captured by the German army and suffered immense human and property losses. During the Great Patriotic War, the central area of the city was completely destroyed. In 1943 Kiev was released and started reconstruction of the city's main street - Kreschatik.
In 1991 Kiev became the capital of the new independent state of Ukraine.
The city that has been famous for its ancient churches, monuments, museums and theaters has become a major tourist destination and continues to live up to its reputation as one of the most green and beautiful in Europe.