The name of Kiev comes from the name of Kyiv, the legendary founder of this great city.
Throughout history, Kiev which is one of the oldest cities in all of Eastern Europe,
transformed through several stages of great prominence and relative obscurity. Kiev is
considered to have been founded in the fifth century as a trading post. It then gradually
acquired prominence as the center of the East Slavic Civilization, becoming in the tenth
to twelfth centuries a political and cultural capital of what at the time was Russia.
Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 13th century, 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 neighbors:
first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
and, finally, Russia. The city prospered again during the Russian industrial revolution
in the late 19th century. After the turbulent period following the Russian Revolution
of 1917 from 1921 onwards Kiev was an important city of the Ukraine and in 1934 became
its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but quickly
recovered in the post-war years becoming the third most important city of the Soviet Union.
oday, Kiev is a bustling capital of Ukraine, full of beautiful architecture, museums,
delicious restaurants, cozy cafes, vibrant nightlife and much more. It is also home to
over 4 million inhabitants (although the official figure is around 3 million, it is
widely believed the city is well beyond the 4 million figure). The art and architecture
of Kiev / Kyiv are world treasures. The Cathedral of St. Sophia, where the princes of
Kiev were crowned in the years of Kiev grandeur, has outstanding mosaics and frescoes
dating back to the 11th century. Overlooking the old section of Kyiv, stands the Ukrainian
Baroque church of St. Andrew, much beloved by Ukrainians. The Percherska Lavra, the
Monastery of the Caves, a short trolley ride from the center of town, has two 11th-century
cathedrals on its grounds, in addition to its world-famous catacombs, bell tower, and
museum collections. Close to the center of town stands the Golden Gate, a structure which
dates back to 1037. These recently reconstructed remains of the former fortified wall of
the city defined the limits of the city in centuries past. Several blocks away, stands
the magnificent 19th-century Cathedral of St. Volodymyr.
If one is a theater lover, you will find much to choose from in Kiev. Most performances are
in Ukrainian or Russian but occasional shows are conducted in Italian or Latin. The recently
renovated Kiev Opera House has world renowned opera as well as a broad repertoire of ballets.
The Kiev Young Theater is very popular among drama buffs and stages various plays in Ukrainian
or Russian. The Ivan Franko Theater is the center of Ukrainian drama, comedy, and musicals.
This repertoire has just opened a brand new season with new adaptation which includes
brilliant versions of Aeneid and Teve Tevel, the original version of Fiddler on the Roof.
Kiev 's modern centers with surviving parts of the old city are on the hilly west, or right
bank, of the Dnipro River. The main street of Kiev is Khreshchatik which runs between two
steep hills. Parallel about half a kilometer west, is vulytsya Volodymyrska, the main street
of the Old Kyiv area (Staryj Kyiv). From the north end of Khreshchatik, Hrushevskoho Street
rises southeast along a ridge to the Caves Monastery at Perchersk. Woods and parks cover
most of the steep right-bank slopes. The capital's newer sections stretch out on the flat
left bank. These are characterized by large housing developments and industrialized
neighborhoods. Everyone visiting during the summer will notice the abundance of parks in
Kiev, making it one of the 'greenest' cities in all of Europe. No one should leave Kiev
without getting at least one souvenir and Ukrainian handmade crafts, pottery and embroidery
are available throughout the city, particularly in shops on Andrievsky Uzviz, at Percherska
Lavra, and St. Sophia's church. Quality and quantity will vary from shop to shop.
Not surprisingly, given Ukraine's recent entrance into the capitalistic arena its nightlife,
particularly in Kiev is widely getting reputation to be 2nd only to Moscow. World renowned
DJs, singers and bands make Kiev their routine stop on various tours. The selection and
diversity of the nightclubs and restaurants in Kiev is impressive to say the least, ranging
from small & intimate venues like to large entertainment centers. These large entertainment
complexes cater for all tastes from exquisite to exotic. Most, offering a quality restaurant,
striptease bar, dance floor, variety show, cafe and luxurious casino.
Above is just a small taste of the city's offerings. Kiev is a capital emerging on the world
arena and right now is a perfect time to plan a visit. No matter what your interests are
now is a perfect time to make plans to visit this magnificent city - you will be glad you did!