Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River.
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.
The name Kiev is said to derive from the name of Kyi, one of four legendary founders of the city (brothers Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv and sister Lybid’). During its history, Kiev, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, passed through several stages of great prominence and relative obscurity. The city may have been founded in the 5th century as a trading post, perhaps part of the land of the early Slavs. It gradually acquired eminence as the centre of the East Slavic civilization, becoming in the tenth to twelfth centuries a political and cultural capital of Rus’, a medieval East Slavic state. Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1240, the city lost most of its influence for the centuries to come. It was a provincial capital of marginal importance in the outskirts of the territories controlled by its powerful neighbors: first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by Poland and Russia.
Modern Kiev is a mix of the old and the new, seen in everything from the architecture to the stores and to the people themselves. Experiencing rapid population growth between the 1970s and the mid-’90s, the city has continued its consistent growth after the turn of the millennium. As a result, Kiev’s “downtown” is a dotted contrast of new, modern buildings amongst the pale yellows, blues and grays 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 Raion or Obolon along the Dnieper.
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, 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 the Khreshchatyk street and the Independence Square. 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 jewelry for sale.
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 Kiev was the only CIS city to have been inscribed into the TOP30 European Green City Index (placed 30th).