Volunteer in Ukraine :: Kiev
Kiev
  • Київ (Kyiv)
  • Киев (Kiev)

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Kiev
 
Map of Ukraine with Kiev highlighted
Coordinates: 50°27′00″N 30°31′24″ECoordinates: 50°27′00″N 30°31′24″E
Country  Ukraine
Municipality Kiev City Municipality
Founded 5th century
Raions
Government
 • Mayor Halyna Hereha (acting)[1]
 • Head of City State Administration Oleksandr Popov
Area
 • City 839 km2 (324 sq mi)
Elevation 179 m (587 ft)
Population (1 January 2010)
 • City 2,797,553
 • Density 3,299/km2 (8,540/sq mi)
 • Metro 3,648,000
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 01xxx-04xxx
Area code(s) +380 44
License plate AA (before 2004: КА, КВ, КЕ, КН, КІ, KT)
Website www.kmv.gov.ua

Kiev or Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київ (Kyiv) [ˈkɪjiw] ( listen); Russian: Киев (Kiyev)) is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300, though higher numbers have been cited in the press.[2]

Kiev is an important industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of Eastern Europe. It is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions and world-famous historical landmarks. The city has an extensive infrastructure and highly developed system of public transport, including the Kiev Metro.

Geography

Kyiv Oblast has a total area of 28,100 km2 (10,849 sq mi) (approximately 35 times the area of Kyiv city) and is located in north-central Ukraine. On the west it borders theZhytomyr Oblast, on the Southwest – Vinnytsia Oblast, on the South – Cherkasy Oblast, on the Southeast – Poltava Oblast, on the East and Northeast – Chernihiv Oblast, and on the North – Homyel Voblasts of Belarus.

The oblast is equally split between the both banks of Dnieper River (Dnipro) north and south of Kyiv. Other significant rivers in the oblast are the Dnieper's tributaries: Pripyat(Prypiat) (R), Desna (L), Teteriv (R), Irpin' (R), Ros' (R) and Trubizh (L).

The length of the Dnipro River within the boundaries of the oblast totals 246 km (153 mi). The oblast has a total number of 177 rivers intersecting the region; 13 reservoirs (the most notable ones being Kiev Reservoir and the Kaniv Reservoir), over 2000 ponds, and approximately 750 small lakes

Points of interest

The following historic-cultural sites were nominated for the Seven Wonders of Ukraine.

  • Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi museum of folk architecture
  • Liutych platzdarm
  • Ivan Kozlovsky villa
  • Dobranychivka settlement
  • Saint Pokrov Church (Parkhomivka)
  • Museum-villa of Ekaterina Bilokur
  • Landscape garden Oleksandria
A panoramic view of Podil, one of Kiev's central districts, as seen from the Uzdykhalnitsa hill viewing platform on Andriyivskyy Descent.
The Saint Andrew's Church at sunset

Modern Kiev is a mix of the old (Kiev preserved about 70 percent of more than 1,000 buildings built during 1907–1914[34]) and the new, seen in everything from the architecture to the stores and to the people themselves. When the capital of the Ukrainian SSR was moved from Kharkiv to Kiev many new buildings where commissioned to give the city "the gloss and polish of a capital".[34] In the discussions centered on how to create a showcase city center the current city center of Khreshchatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) were not the obvious choices.[34] Some of the early, ultimately not materialised, ideas included a part of Pechersk, Lypky, European Square and Mykhailivska Square.[34] The plans of building massive monuments (of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin) where also abandoned; due to lack of money (in the 1930s–1950s) and because of Kiev's hilly landscape.[34] Experiencing rapid population growth between the 1970s and the mid-1990s, the city has continued its consistent growth after the turn of the millennium. As a result, Kiev's central districts provide a dotted contrast of new, modern buildings among the pale yellows, blues and greys of older apartments. Urban sprawl has gradually reduced, while population densities of suburbs has increased. The most expensive properties are located in the Pechersk, and Khreshchatyk areas. It is also prestigious to own a property in newly constructed buildings in the Kharkivskyi Raionor Obolon along the Dnieper.

A public concert held on Maidan Nezalezhnosti during Kiev's 2005 Eurovision Song Contest

Ukrainian independence at the turn of the millennium has heralded other changes. Western-style residential complexes, modern nightclubs, classy restaurants and prestigious hotels opened in the centre. Music from Europe and North America started appearing on Ukrainian music charts. And most importantly, with the easing of the visa rules in 2005,[35] Ukraine is positioning itself as a prime tourist attraction, with Kiev, among the other large cities, looking to profit from new opportunities. The centre of Kiev has been cleaned up and buildings have been restored and redecorated, especially Khreshchatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Many historic areas of Kiev, such as Andriyivskyy Descent, have become popular street vendor locations, where one can find traditional Ukrainian art, religious items, books, game sets (most commonly chess) as well as jewellery for sale.[36]

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 Kiev was the only Commonwealth of Independent States city to have been inscribed into the TOP30 European Green City Index (placed 30th).[37]

Buildings on Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Kiev's most famous historical architecture complexes are the St. Sophia Cathedral and theKiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), which are recognized by UNESCO as aWorld Heritage Site. Noteworthy historical architectural landmarks also include theMariyinsky Palace (designed and constructed from 1745 to 1752, then reconstructed in 1870), several Orthodox churches such as St. Michael's Cathedral, St. Andrew's, St. Vladimir's, the reconstructed Golden Gate and others.

One of Kiev's widely recognized modern landmarks is the highly visible giant Mother Motherland statue made of titanium standing at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War on the Right bank of the Dnieper River. Other notable sites is the cylindrical Salut hotel, located across from Glory Square and the eternal flame at the World War Two memorial Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the House with Chimaeras.

Among Kiev's best-known monuments are Mikhail Mikeshin's statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky astride his horse located near St. Sophia Cathedral, the venerated Vladimir the Great (St. Vladimir), the baptizer of Rus', overlooking the river above Podil, the monument to Kyi, Schek and Khoryv and Lybid, the legendary founders of the city located at the Dnieper embankment. On Independence Square in the city centre, two monuments elevate two of the city protectors; the historic protector of Kiev Michael Archangel atop a reconstruction of one of the old city's gates and a modern invention, the goddess-protector Berehynia atop a tall column.

Culture

Kiev National Opera House

Kiev was the historic cultural centre of the East Slavic civilization and a major cradle for theChristianization of Kievan Rus'. Kiev retained through centuries its cultural importance and even at times of relative decay, it remained the centre of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity of the primary importance. Its sacred sites, which include the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves) and the Saint Sophia Cathedral are probably the most famous, attracted pilgrims for centuries and now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Siteremain the primary religious centres as well as the major tourist attraction. The above mentioned sites are also part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine collection.

Kiev's theatres include, the Kiev Opera House, Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theatre, Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater of Russian Drama, the Kiev Puppet Theater, October Palace and National Philharmonic of Ukraine and others. In 1946 Kiev had four theatres, one opera house and one concert hall.[38] But most tickets then where allocated to "privileged groups".[38]

Ivan Franko Ukrainian drama theatre

Other significant cultural centres include the Dovzhenko Film Studios, and the Kiev Circus. The most important of the city's many museums are the Kiev State Historical Museum,Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the National Art Museum, the Museum of Western and Oriental Art, the Pinchuk Art Centre and the National Museum of Russian art.

In 2005 Kiev hosted the 50th annual Eurovision Song Contest as a result of Ruslana's "Wild Dances" victory in 2004.

There are numerous songs, paintings, photos dedicated to the city. Among them there is an extensive Russian, Ukrainian, Polish folklore, less known are German and Jewish. One of the better songs are called "Without Podil, Kiev is impossible" (poet L.Dukhovny), "How not to love you, Kiev of mine?" (poet Dmytro Lutsenko), Khreschatyk (poet Yuri Rybchynsky), and many others. Renowned Ukrainian composer Oleksandr Bilash wrote an operetta called "Legend of Kiev".

Attractions in Kiev

It is said that one can walk from one end of Kiev to the other in the summertime without leaving the shade of its many trees. Most characteristic are the horse-chestnuts (Ukrainian: каштани, kashtany).

Kiev is known as a green city with two botanical gardens and numerous large and small parks. The World War II Museum is located here, which offers both indoor and outdoor displays of military history and equipment surrounded by verdant hills overlooking the Dnieper river.

The monument to Bohdan Khmelnytsky on St Sofia's Square.

Among the numerous islands, Venetsianskyi (or Hidropark) is the most developed. It is accessible by metro or by car, and includes an amusement park, swimming beaches, boat rentals, and night clubs. The Victory Park (Park Peremohy) located near Darnytsia subway station is a popular destination for strollers, joggers, and cyclists. Boating, fishing, and water sports are popular pastimes in Kiev. The area lakes and rivers freeze over in the winter and ice fishermen are a frequent sight, as are children with their ice skates. However, the peak of summer draws out a greater mass of people to the shores for swimming or sunbathing, with daytime high temperatures sometimes reaching 30 to 34 °C (86 to 93 °F).[citation needed]

Lilacs in the National Botanical Garden, with the Vydubychi Monastery, Darnitskiy Rail Bridge and left-bank Kiev visible in the background.

The centre of Kiev (Independence Square andKhreschatyk Street) becomes a large outdoor party place at night during summer months, with thousands of people having a good time in nearby restaurants, clubs and outdoor cafes. The central streets are closed for auto traffic on weekends and holidays. Andriyivskyy Descent is one of the best known historic streets and a major tourist attraction in Kiev. The hill is the site of the Castle of Richard the Lionheart; the baroque-style St Andrew's Church; the home of Kiev born writer,Mikhail Bulgakov; the monument to Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of Kiev and ofNovgorod; and numerous other monuments.[39][40]

A wide variety of farm produce is available in many of Kiev's farmer markets with theBesarabsky Market located in the very centre of the city being most famous. Each residential region has its own market, or rynok. Here one will find table after table of individuals hawking everything imaginable: vegetables, fresh and smoked meats, fish, cheese, honey, dairy products such as milk and home-made smetana (sour cream), caviar, cut flowers, housewares, tools and hardware, and clothing. Each of the markets has its own unique mix of products with some markets devoted solely to specific wares such as automobiles, car parts, pets, clothing, flowers, and other things.

At the city's southern outskirts, near the historic Pyrohiv village, there is an outdoor museum, officially called the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine It has an area of 1.5 square kilometres (1 sq mi). This territory houses several "mini-villages" that represent by region the traditional rural architecture of Ukraine.

Kiev also has numerous recreational attractions like bowling alleys, go-cart tracks, paintball venues, billiard halls and even shooting ranges. The 100-year-old Kiev Zoo is located on 40 hectares and according to CBC "the zoo has 2,600 animals from 328 species".[41]

A panoramic view of Mykhailiv Square (central Kiev). From left to right: the Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (behind the monument to Princess Olga) and St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery.

Museums and galleries

Museum of the Great Patriotic War andMother Motherland monument

Kiev is home to some 40 different museums.[42] In 2009 they recorded a total of 4.3 million visits.[42]

The Museum of the Great Patriotic War: is a memorial complex commemorating theGreat Patriotic War located in the hills on the right-bank of the Dnieper River in Pechersk.

The museum has moved twice before ending up in the current location, where it was ceremonially opened on 9 May 1981, Victory Day, by then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. On 21 June 1996, the museum was accorded its current status as a National Museum by a special decree signed by Leonid Kuchma, the then President of Ukraine. It is one of the largest museums in Ukraine with over 300,000 exhibits, and is centered around the 62-meter tall Motherland statue, which has become one of the landmarks in the city. The museum has been visited by over 21 million visitors.

Painted T-64 at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War

The memorial complex covers the area of 10 hectares (approximately 24.7 acres) on the hill, overlooking the Dnieper River. It contains the giant bowl "The Glory Flame", a site with World War II military equipment, and the "Alley of the Hero Cities". One of the museums also displays the armaments used by the Soviet armypost World War II. The sculptures in the alley depict the courageous defence of the Soviet border from the 1941 German invasion, terrors of the Nazi occupation, partisan struggle, devoted work on the home front, and the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper.

Kiev fortress is the 19th-century fortification buildings situated in Ukrainian capital Kiev, that once belonged to western Russian fortresses. These structures (once a united complex) were built in the Pechersk and neighbourhoods by the Russian army. Now some of the buildings are restored and turned into a museum called the Kiev Fortress, while others are in use in various military and commercial installations.

The National Historical Museum of Ukraine

Having lost their military importance in the 20th century, the buildings continued to be used as barracks, storage and incarceration facilities. However, some of them played independent historical roles. The Kosyi Kaponir ("Skew Caponier") became a prison for the political inmates in the 1900s (decade)–1920s and was later turned into a Soviet museum. Now it is the center of the modern museum. A small fortress built in 1872 on the legendary Lysa Hora(Bald Mountain) in 1906 became a place of executions for convicted political inmates. It is now a landscape reserve and part of the museum complex.

Constructed in 1898 by architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, the building was originally designed as the museum for the local society of patrons of arts and antique lovers. The façade of the building conveys a classic architecture form – precise reproduction of a six-column porch ofDoric order with entablature, triglyphs, metopes and frieze decoration depicting the Triumph of Arts. The architectural composition featuring figures of gryphons and large concrete lions at the top of the stairs were created by an Italian sculptor, Emilio Sala.

National Art Museum of Ukraine

The National Art Museum of Ukraine is a museum dedicated to Ukrainian art. Originally called the Kiev City Museum of Antiques and Art, the founders set out to put together a collection of pieces representative of Ukrainian fine art. Ranging from medieval icons to portraits of military and church leaders during Cossack times, some depicting caricatures ofMamay. Works include those of Taras Shevchenko, Ilya Yefimovich Repin, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Vasily Andreevich Tropinin, Mykola Pimonenko, Mikhail Vrubel, Nikolai Ge, and Oleksandr Murashko. Today, the museum continues to expand its collection. Some new additions include a unique icon relief of St. George and works by the international Kiev born pioneer of Geometric abstract art Kazimir Malevich.

Kiev's famous Golden Gate is now a museum.

The current exhibition includes over 20 thousand pieces. Among many are works by theconstructivist, Vasiliy Yermilov, and Cubo-FuturistAlexander Bogomazov. The Ukrainian side is represented by works by artists such as David Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster, Vadim Meller, Kliment Red'ko, Solomon Nikritin, Victor Palmov, Maria Sinyakova, Mikhail Boichuk and Mykola Pymonenko.

The Golden Gate: is a historic gateway in the ancient city's walls. The name Zoloti Vorotais also used for a nearby theatre and a station of the Kiev Metro. This gateway was one of three constructed by Yaroslav the Wise, Prince of Kiev, in the mid-11th century. It was reputedly modelled on the Golden Gate of Constantinople, from which it took its name. In 1240 it was partially destroyed by Batu Khan's Golden Horde. It remained as a gate to the city (often used for ceremonies) through the 18th century, although it gradually fell into ruins. In 1832 the ruins were excavated and an initial survey for their conservation was undertaken. Further works in the 1970s added an adjacent pavilion, housing a museum of the gate. In the museum one can learn about the history of construction of the Golden gate as well as ancient Kiev. In 1982, the gate was completely reconstructed for the 1500th anniversary of Kiev, although there is no solid evidence as to what the original gates looked like. Some art historians called for this reconstruction to be demolished and for the ruins of the original gate to be exposed to public view. In 1989, with the expansion of the Kiev Metro, the Zoloti Vorota station was opened nearby to serve the landmark. What makes it unique is that its architectural ensemble is very much based on the internal decorations ofancient Ruthenian churches.

The small Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum acts as both a memorial and historical center devoted to the events surrounding the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and its effect on the Ukrainian people, the environment, and subsequent attitudes toward the safety ofnuclear power as a whole.