A scenic city of close to 3 million people situated on the Dnipro River on trade routes between the Baltic and the Mediterranean.
Known as the " Mother of Russian Cities," Kyyiv was probably settled by the 4th century AD and soon developed into an important commercial center located on a major trade route.
Kiev became the capital of independent Ukraine, following the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991.
The largest city of Ukraine, it is a major industrial, transportation, and cultural center. Among its leading manufactures are machinery, machine tools, chemicals, motor vehicles, processed food, textiles, clothing, forest products, and printed materials. The city also serves as the market for an agricultural region producing grain, fruit, sugar beets, and other commodities.
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A beautiful city with many parks and historical structures, Kyyiv is built mostly on hills overlooking the Dnepr.
The old section of the city, on the right bank of the river, includes hills surmounted by churches and the remains of ancient castles and fortifications. The newer quarters, on the left bank, were mostly built after World War II (1939-1945). During World War II Kyyiv was occupied by German forces from 1941 to 1943 and suffered great damage; as many as 200,000 of its inhabitants were killed. After World War II the city was reconstructed and resumed its place as one of the chief Soviet economic and cultural centers.
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The city is served by a subway system.
In the 18th century Kyyiv was heavily fortified, and in the 19th century it grew as a trade and industrial center. Kyyiv was held by German troops during World War I (1914-1918), and it was the scene of much fighting (1917-1920) following the Russian Revolution. In 1934 the city replaced Kharkiv as the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. During World War II Kyyiv was occupied by German forces from 1941 to 1943 and suffered great damage; as many as 200,000 of its inhabitants were killed. After the war the city was reconstructed and resumed its place as one of the chief Soviet economic and cultural centers. Following the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991, Kyyiv became the capital of independent Ukraine.
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Kyyiv was one of the foremost religious centers of Russia, and several noteworthy old church buildings survive. The most famous of these is the Cathedral of Saint Sophia (also known as the Hagia Sophia of Kyyiv; founded early 11th century, largely rebuilt 17th-18th century; now a museum); the oldest cathedral in Ukraine, it is noted for its frescoes and mosaics. The large Perchersky, or Cave, monastery (founded early 11th century), known for its catacombs, is one of the most sacred edifices of the Russian Orthodox church. Other striking religious structures in the city include the baroque-style Church of Saint Andrew (1744-1753) and the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir (late 19th cent.). Also of interest are the ruins of the Golden Gate (11th cent.), once the main entrance to the city. The city is the site of a large university, the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, several research institutes, a music conservatory, an opera house, the Gallery of Russian Art and other museums, and a large sports stadium.
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In 882 the city was captured by Varangians led by Oleg, who made it the capital of the first significant Russian state, called Kievan Rus. In 988, during the reign of Vladimir I, also known as Saint Vladimir, the inhabitants of Kyyiv adopted the Greek Orthodox faith, and the city became the initial center of Christianity in Russia.
Its exposed position near the Russian frontier made Kyyiv a constant prey to attack. The armies of the Mongol leader Batu Khan sacked and destroyed it in 1240, and the city remained under Mongol domination until the 1360s, when it came under Lithuanian rule. In 1482 the city was invaded by Crimean Tatars, and in 1569 it was incorporated into Poland. In 1648 Bohdan Khmelnytsky led a cossack revolt against Polish rule, and he made Kyyiv the capital of a short-lived independent Ukrainian state. In 1686 the city was annexed by Russia.
Major cities near Kiev:
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