Historical note

Foundation of Kyiv

         The area on which Kyiv arose was attractive for settlement of people from ancient times. Archaeologists have studied the parking of ancient hunters, Kyrylivska is the most famous of them.

         Subsequently, due to its unique geographical location, territory of Kyiv became a place of settlement of different tribes and a major trading center.

         Remains of villages and settlements of almost all known archaeological cultures in the Middle Dnipro were explored in the area between the Dnipro and Lybid. However the Slavic tribes that were part of the Polianska association, were real founders of Kyiv. Commonly known legend (regarding the founding of Kyiv by Kyi, Prince Poliansky, and his brothers) was recorded in the undated annals.


         Most scholars indicate the date of this event – the end of V – the beginning of VI century. Actually, the legend regards the establishment of the fortified residence of the prince (archaeologists explored the remains of “settlement of Kyi” on the north cape Starokyivska mountain). However, there is no less reasonable assumption that Kyiv as the administrative center of Podniprovia arose simultaneously with the Rus state at the VIII-IX centuries.

Kyiv – the mother of Russian cities

In the first third of the IX century, the city was paying tribute to the Khazars Kaganate, but soon was freed by Varangian Squad, headed by Princes Askold and Dir. Since then, Kyiv became a place where gathered all merchant fleets of Rus and assembled troops on their way to Byzantium. The first attack of Prince Askold on Constantinople in 860 did not have great international publicity. Almost in 882 Kyiv was treacherously seized by Novgorod Prince Oleg. He united the northern and southern Rus in one state for the first time and proclaimed Kyiv it’s capital – "mother of Russian cities". At that time, city consisted of two separate parts – the Hora with the residences of prince and boyars and Podil, that was commercial and manufacturing center of the city. Kyiv outskirts of villages, countryside residences of the officials, agricultural lands of townspeople complemented the urban structure. From the beginning the population of Kyiv varied as in the ethnic composition, as in religion. By the end of X century, most of the Kyiv population worshiped Perun and Veles, Slavic gods. But in the IX there already existed a Christian community, since X century – Jewish, later – Armenian, German, etc. Baptism of Rus by Prince Volodymyr in 988 has gained importance of epochal public and political act. Kyiv became the capital of one of the largest Christian countries of Europe, the center of Russian Metropolia. Building of Desyatynna Church of stone (990-996 years) initiated the development of Old Russian monumental art.




Ancient Kyiv reached the greatest blossom during the reign of Yaroslav the Wise (Mudryi) (1019-1054) and his sons.



Monument to Yaroslav the Mudryi (Wise) in Kyiv


Yaroslav constructed a vast system of fortifications of the city with festive Golden Gate and the majestic St. Sophia Cathedral, famous for its mosaics and frescoes.







St. Sophia‘s Cathedral today


Literature, various arts and crafts are rapidly developing. In the city itself and around it there are many monasteries, among them Pechersk Monastery, one of the first centre of chronicles, gains the most religious and cultural importance.




In old Rus times tens of monks were named saints (among them Sts. Anthony, Theodosius, Agapit, Alipio, Nestor the Chronicler, Ilya of Murom, etc…), more than 50 bishops came of the monastery. During the XI-XIII centuries Kyiv became one of the largest cities of medieval Europe. Its territory reached 400 hectares and a population – 35-50 thousand people.




At the same time the city was constantly exposed to raids by nomads – first Pechenegs, and later Polovtsy.

After the death of Volodymyr Monomakh strife between autonomous princes intensified, and during the XII century the capital status of Kyiv gradually reduced to nominal. City was twice subjected to devastation of Rus princes: in 1169 – Andrei Bogoliubskyi army, in 1203 – Riurik Rostislavich. December 6, 1240 was one of the most dramatic days in the history of the city, when the Mongol horde of Batu Khan won the city by storm and almost completely destroyed it. After that Kyiv lost its significance for a long period. The decline of economic and political life of Kyiv strengthened the transfer of residence of Rus metropolitans (which, however, retained the title of Kyiv) to Northeast of Rus in 1299.

Kyiv under the authority of the Lithuania and Poland

The city began to revive only in 1360's, having fallen under the power of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Kyiv became the capital of autonomous Princes of the family Gedimin, who carried out large-scale reconstructions, and layed foundations of the wooden castle. During a certain period own coins were minted in Kyiv. In 1471 the Kyiv principality was abolished and transformed into the province. Damaging attacks of Tatar hordes in 1416 and in 1482 became an obstacle to normal development of the city. However, in 1499 Kyiv dwellers got self-government under Magdeburg Law, and during the first half of the XVI century Kyiv monasteries and Pecherske township around the Uspenskyi monastery (which was named and got privileges of the lavra) were rebuilt.

Owing to the Union of Lublin Kyiv became a member of the Kingdom of Poland in 1569 and economic growth began.


         In 1648 the population of the city reached 15 thousand people. However, harassment of the Polish nobility led to several Cossack uprisings at the end of the XVI century. During the national liberation war, led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, urban population was considerably reduced. In 1654 due to Pereiaslav Agreement Kyiv was annexed to Muscovy. The city was occupied by troops of the Moscow Tsar. A period of calm began.


Kyiv – the capital of the province of the Russian Empire

         In 1797 Kyiv became the capital of the province of the Russian Empire, and its revival began. The leading place in industry of the city was taken by state manufactory companies. At the same time transport network was developing. At the same period the city was divided into four separate parts: Pechersk, Verkhnie Misto, Podil and Ploska Sloboda.


         In 1834 Kyiv management was transferred to City Duma (Council). The city was building quickly, leading to unification of Pechersk, Verkhnie Misto and Podil. There was built a new large area, named – Nova Zabudova.


         In 1840th years the population has reached 50 thousand people. The administrative centre moved from Pechersk to Khreshchatyk.


Soviet Kyiv

         In 1917-20 took place the revolution and civil war. The government changed many times: Kyiv was the capital of the Ukrainian People's Republic, the Ukrainian State of Skoropadskyi, Soviet Ukraine. In June 1920 Bolsheviks established themselves in Kyiv. The capital of the Ukrainian Republic moved to Kharkiv. In 1934 Kyiv becomes the capital of the Ukrainian SSR again. Famine of 1932-33 had its echo in Kyiv: villagers were fleeing here from starvation. Stalin's repressions 30th years also caused significant losses to Kyiv: many citizens were tortured to death by false accusations and without them; Bykivnia memorial on the outskirts of the city is an eternal monument of these events.

         During the Second World War the city also suffered enormous human and material losses: its central part was almost entirely destroyed, more than 100 thousand civilians and prisoners of war were shot at Babyn Yar, and the Battle for          Kyiv in 1943 became the most tragic pages of military chronicle.

Post-war reconstruction of Kyiv required tremendous efforts and victory of labor. At the end of 40ies the capital of Soviet Ukraine returned to the pre-war level of industrial production. In the 50s the rebuilding of Khreshchatyk ended, in 1960 opened the first line of the Kyiv Metro, mass housing construction started, and again Kyiv got features of beautiful and elegant city. In 1956 the population reached 1 million. Some weakening in the political regime was marked at the time: in the wake of "Khrushchov thaw" appeared talented young artists, public figures, scientists (V. Symonenko, I. Drach, L. Taniuk, A. Horska, I. Mykolaichuk). But after a brief liberalization in the 70's it was time of Brezhniev stagnation and "tightening of the screws," which eventually led to the final degradation of the existing system and its destruction.


Kyiv – the capital of the Ukraine


         Following independence of Ukraine on August 24, 1991 Kyiv gained a new status – capital of a great European country.







Kyiv today

         During the first years of independence, Ukraine has experienced a severe economic crisis, these processes have not omitted Kyiv: a significant part of the city stopped its work, and people lost their livelihoods. But slowly the capital, together with all the state, began to emerge from the crisis and Kyiv came on the path of dynamic development. Revitalization became the sign of improving economic conditions: the late 90th Kyiv was experiencing a construction boom, many expensive cars and shops of prestigious brands appeared in the streets. Today, the most dynamic industries Kyiv are: food, printing, construction industry, mechanical engineering. Kyiv hosts industrial giants, known far beyond Ukraine, first among them is, of course, the plant "Antonov".



         The sign of the growing authority of Kyiv and Ukraine's role in the international arena was the important economic, cultural and public forums, including Eurovision (2005), Championships in various sports and, of course, Euro 2012 the final of which will take place in the capital of Ukraine.