Kiev, capital of Ukraine, on both sides of the Dnieper River; 2,611,000 residents (2002). The country’s largest city and most important industrial center. Particularly important are the electrical, fine mechanical and chemical industries, but also the mechanical, rubber, food and food and wood industries. Road and rail junction. Dnieper is passable for approx. nine months a year. International Airport (Borispal). The city is a leading educational and cultural center, and is the seat of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, University of Shevchenko (founded 1834), agricultural academy, architecture academy and a host of institutes and museums, large library, opera, etc.
Many of the city’s beautiful historic buildings were destroyed during World War II, and Kiev today exhibits an interesting blend of ecclesiastical architecture from the 11th to 11th centuries and completely modern building architecture. The city extends for a length of over 50 km on both sides of the Dnieper, but with the bulk of the settlement on the hilly west bank. Here lies the old “Upper Town” with, among other things. Sofia Cathedral (c. 1031, later rebuilt in Baroque style), the oldest preserved building from the days of the Grand Principality of Kiev. Founded by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, it was the former target of numerous pilgrimages. Nearby is the Golden Gate, the city’s main gate from the 11th century, reconstructed after the devastation of the war, and the Church of Andreev from the 18th century. The main street Kreschatik, with terraced park facilities, forms an axis through the old city center. North of the city center is the Podol district with, among other things, river harbor. To the south, in the district of Petsersky, is the Monastery of Petsjerskjaja Lavra, the ‘Cave Monastery’, dating from the 12th century with underground caves, where Yury Dolgoruki, the founder of Moscow, is buried. New districts and satellite towns are spreading out on both sides of the Dnieper. The transport system includes a modern metro.
Kiev was founded in the 400s at the junction of the north-south (Norden-Byzants, by rivers) and east-west intersection. It was conquered 864 by Wards (Nordic Vikings) and made the capital of the Grand Principality of Kiev. The city became a major commercial and cultural center and from 988 seat for a metropolitan. In the 12th century it went back, and with the destruction of the Mongols in 1240, Kiev’s position of power ended. In 1362 the city came under Lithuania, 1471 under Poland, 1654 under Russia. In the 19th century it became a center for the Russification endeavors. The Jews, who had been displaced in 1495, regained access, and Kiev was, until 1920, the scene of a series of bloody pogroms. The city was the center of the Ukrainian independence movement and the 1917-19 capital of the national government. In those years it was very contentious and at times occupied by Bolsheviks, Germans, Belarusians and Poles. 1934 replaced the city of Kharkiv as the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. September 1941 – November 1943, it was on German hands and capital of the State Commission Ukraine. A large part of the Jewish population was killed. After the reconstruction, the population increased rapidly, and the city has seen strong growth since the 1960s.