Kiev is Ukraine capital.
"The Jerusalem of the lands of Rus" for centuries was one of the largest centers of civilization in the Eastern Christian world.

The exact time of Ukraine capital Kiev foundation is hard to determine. Archeological excavations show that the first settlement on the territory of Kiev appeared 15,000 - 20,000 years ago. The first written evidence about Kiev foundation can be found in the famous chronicle "The Tale of Bygone Years", which was written by Nestor, a Kiev chronicler and monk of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, in 1113.


Ukrainian Capital. The city of Kiev was founded by the brothers Kiy, Schchek, Khoriv and their sister Lybed.

Ukrainian Capital.
Monument to the founders of Kiev.

According to Nestor's chronicle: "There were three brothers: the first had the name of Kyi, the second — Shchek, the third — Khoryv, and their sister was Lybed. Kyi settled on the hill where Uzviz Borychiv is today, and Shchek settled on the hill that is now called Shchekovytsia, and Khoryv — on the third hill, which is now called Khorevytsia after him. And they created a city in the name of their elder brother and gave it the name Kyiv."

The problems is that Nestor's chronicle doesn't contain any information either about the period of rule of Kyi, one of the first Kyivan princes, or the date of Kyiv’s founding. It caused numerous debates around the real age of Kiev, today Ukraine capital.

However, most of well-known historians acknowledged that a legendary Kiev's founder Kyi really existed and ruled in the Kyivan Principality in the 6th century. Ukraine capital the city of Kiev celebrated its 1,500th anniversary on may 1982. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) included this day into the International List of significant dates of the world's history.

The first settlements in Kiev were built on the hills of the right bank of the Dnipro river. The steep river banks were a good protection from marauding nomadic tribes.

Later, the main part of the Kiev's palaces and churches were built on the Starokievska hill, where the National Historical Museum is located now. It was exactly the place, where the Apostle Saint Andrew, a few centuries earlier had erected a cross and predicted that one day a great city would rise here to the glory of God. His prophecy was fulfilled.

By the end of the 9th century, Kievan Rus princes Oleg, his successor Igor (r. 912-945), Igor's widow Olga , and Olga's son Sviatoslav (r. 945-972) managed to turn the scattered Slavic tribes into the powerful state. Kiev became the political center of the Eastern Slavs.

Under the rule of one of the most glorious Kiev's princes Vladimir the Great,(r. 980 -1015) the central part of the young city became several times bigger. At that period Kiev totaled more than 50 000 inhabitants, about 400 churches, 8 markets. The first stone temple - "Desyatynna church" has been constructed.

Due to its position in the middle of trade routes between the Vikings and the Greeks Kiev maintained wide foreign and commercial trade links. Fortification line was built at the cross-road of modern Volodymyrs'ka and Velyka Zhytomyrs'ka streets. Vladimir introduced Christianity as the official religion of the Kievan Rus.


Great Gate of Kiev.

Golden Gate. Constructed in 1017-1024.
Served as a main gala entrance to Kiev.

Under the rule of prince Yaroslav, the Wise (r. 1019-1054) the city was quickly growing and developing. Due to Yaroslav's politic Kiev significantly improved relationships with the rest of Europe. At the same time Kiev gained its military power. A modern fortification line (16 meters height and 27 meters wide) has been built in Kiev. Its central official entrance to the city Golden Gate (Great Gate of Kiev) is located not far from the cross-road of Prorizna and Volodymyrs'ka streets .

Upon the directive of Yaroslav the Wise the grandiose St. Sophia Cathedral built in 1036. It was the Golden Age of Kiev. After the death of Kiev`s great Prince Vladimir Monomakh in 1125, Kiev Rus became involved in a long period of feudal wars. As the result, in the fall of 1240, the Golden Horde headed by Baty-khan, captured Kiev and ruled Kiev for almost a century.

Until the 14th century Kiev paid tribute to the Golden Horde. After that it passed under the control of Great Lithuanian Duchy. Cossack military liberation campaigns and the Treaty of Pereyaslavl signed by the Cossack leader Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky , brought Ukraine capital Kiev under the long lasting rule of Russian Empire. The Ukrainian National Republic proclaimed its independence in January 1918 after the fall of Russian Empire.

On December,11,1917 one strange thing happened to Ukraine capital Kiev. Being a Ukrainian capital for centuries Kiev lost its status. The city of Kharkov was proclaimed the Ukraine capital. Kiev obtained its status again only in 1934.It is hard to say, that Kiev as an ancient historical and cultural center got some advantages due to this change. It was not a lucky change for Kiev.

Here is the story. It strikes imaginations by its cynicism. Ukrainian Government arrived from industrial Kharkov to ancient Kiev in 1934. Certainly, Kiev with all its golden domes of numerous cathedrals, churches and monasteries didn't look like a proper place for the capital of the Soviet Social Republic. That's why an "important" decision has been made: "Kiev has to match to the modern spirit of life."

The government announced a competition for the best architectural project to change Kiev's downtown. The winner was chosen. According to the project, the jewels of Kievan ecclesiastical architecture since the 12th century St Michael's Cathedral and St.Sophia Cathedral, the statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Vasilievsky Church and many other monuments of architecture dated to XI - XX centuries had to be demolished.


KIev History. The St. Michael's Cathedral.

Kiev History.
The St. Michael's Cathedral (1108)
Has been reconstructed from scratch in 2000.

During this period more than 100 hundred of religious objects in Kiev were either demolished or used like warehouse facilities. By some miracle the St.Sophia Cathedral managed to survive. The St. Michael's Cathedral has been reconstructed from scratch in 2000.

The cynical architectural project has never been fulfilled. World War 2 brought its corrections to those plans. An ugly building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine located on Mykhaylivska Square is the only reminder about that "project of century".

Today, Ukraine capital the city of Kiev similar to many large cites of the former Soviet Union still saves the flavor of old Soviet style - bad roads, Lenin statues in the streets, outdated tiny apartments. But everywhere in the streets you will see signs of changes - new businesses, foreign cars outnumbering the Ladas in the streets, Western-style new buildings, classy restaurants, prestigious hotels, and nightclubs.


Ukraine Capital. Bridge over Dniepr river.

Ukraine Capital.
Bridge over Dniepr River.

The area of Kiev is more than 800 sq. km. Only 350 sq. km or 42,3% are typical urban "stone jungle" with concrete and asphalt. All the rest is the area of the woodlands, rivers and clean lakes with water-lilies and steppes with feather grass and flowers.

The modern city of Kiev has two airports, railroad station, subway and funicular. There are more than 30 museums and the same number of theaters in Ukraine capital. Practically all Kiev's churches are not museums but are used as houses or worship. Kiev has a lot to keep you busy for days.

During its 1500 year history Ukraine capital the city of Kiev six times was completely burned out. Two times it was totally ruined due to wars. First time it happened in 1240 when the Golden Horde headed by Baty-khan, captured Kiev. Seven centuries later Kiev was ruined again. During the Second World War the Dnepr River was a major German defence line prior to the general retreat of 1944. Ukraine capital suffered prolonged siege.


Ukraine Capital Kiev.
A Time Line History.

Year Historical Event
482 The city of Kiev was founded by the brothers Kiy, Schchek, Khoriv and their sister Lybed.
862 According to the Russian Primary Chronicle Kievan Rus was founded by the Varangian (Swedish Viking) Oleg.
912 Death of Prince Oleg.
945 After the death of Igor Rurikovich, his wife Princess Olga takes rule from 945 to 969 as a regent for her son Sviatoslav
980 Prince Vladimir Sviatoslavich (The Great), the illegitimate son of Sviatoslav, takes the throne.
1019 Yaroslav The Wise came to rule.
1037 Yaroslav The Wise ordered the construction of the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Sophia .
1051 Foundation of the Pechersk Lavra (Cave Monastery).
1240 The Golden Horde headed by Baty-khan, captured Kiev.
1362 Annexation of Kiev to Lithuania
1569 Kiev comes under Polish rule.
1648 Hetmanship of Hetman Bohdan Khmel'nitsky.
1654 To secure a military ally against Poland, the Cossacks signed an agreement with Muscovy in 1654, known as the Pereiaslav Agreement.
1870 Beginning of railway communication in Kiev.
1917 Mikhail Grushevsky is voted as the president of the Ukrainian Central Council (UCC).
1922 The Ukrainian Socialist Republic (UkSSR) became the part of the USSR.
1932-33 Due to force collectivization over seven million Ukrainians perished in a forced famine.
1934 The Ukrainian Government moved back from Kharkov to Kiev.Kiev became a Ukraine Capital again.
1941-43 1941-1943. Germany invades Ukraine capital Kiev and take up occupation for 2 years
1960 The first Metro line in Ukraine capital was opened.
1991 The Act of Independence of Ukraine was proclaimed.
1996 Introduction of the Ukrainian national currency - Hryvnia (UAH).
2004 "Orange Revolution." In late December, after a few election tours Victor Yushchenko became the new President of Ukraine.




The Pechenegs, Goths, Tatar- Mongol hordes, Polovtsy... There were a lot of invaders, who came to Kiev. Where are they? Nobody can tell. But Ukraine capital city of Kiev is still alive. It has survived all invaders. It will survive all of them.



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