History of Kiev
Kiev is a city with more than 15-century history. It had a very hard way and from a settlement of the Polanian’s Slavic tribe it became one of the largest cities in the world.
City-Hero Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine since 1934. History of Kyiv started at the end of the V and the early VI century AD, when the three brothers Kyi, Schek, Khoriv and their sister Lybid’ founded it on the right bank of the Dnieper River and named it Kiev in honour of the elder brother. For the first time Kiev was mentioned in 862, and the first settlement on its territory at Starokievskaya hill refers to the ancient Stone Age. The Historical Museum is situated there now.
The place for founding the city was very good. The high banks of the Dnieper River defended the citizens from nomadic tribes’ attacks. Prince of Novgorod Oleg conquered Kiev in 882 and declared it the capital of Old Russian state, the cradle of the three fraternal peoples – Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian. Kiev was situated on the water trade route called «from the Varangians to the Greeks» on Dnieper, and such a favourable geographical position promoted the rapid economic development of the city.
During the reign of Vladimir the Great (from 980 till 1015) Kiev developed very actively. In 988 Prince Vladimir was christened Rus, and thus gave an impetus to further development of literature and culture in the country. In the year 989 the first stone church called Desyatinnaya was built in Kiev.
In the XI century under the rule of Yaroslav the Wise, Kiev was one of the largest centres of civilization in the Christian world. The city was quickly building over; its area was rapidly increasing. At that time, Saint Sophia Cathedral, Golden Gate, Kiev-Pechersk and Klovski monasteries were based, as well as the first Russian library. Those days there were more than 400 churches, 8 markets and over 50 000 citizens in the city.
In the XIII-XV centuries, Kiev was under the yoke of the Tatars and Mongols, and in that time, its development was suspended. Only 2 thousand people survived after Baty-khan’s pogrom. The attack caused severe damage to Kiev: the Dormition Cathedral, St. Sophia’s Cathedral, the Gate Church of the Trinity, which is now the main entrance to the Lavra were destroyed; the Church of the Savior on Berestovo, Iryninskaya church and nearly all Kiev gates were seriously damaged. The city was almost completely destroyed.
Since 1362 Kiev was a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Rech’ Pospolita. It was the time of flowering for the city. There was a significant economic recovery, the city was actively growing and building. The construction of Lukyanovka began; the Kirilovskaya Street was laid; a lot of churches were built. However, the population almost didn’t increase; and that was the result of frequent and massive epidemic of plague. In the XV century the Magdeburg Law was granted to Kiev, and this provided independence in international trade and greatly increased the rights of the urban classes – merchants, artisans and burghers.
In the XVI-XVII centuries, the population rose rapidly. According to the census in 1571 in Kiev, there were about 40 thousand houses. At that time Kiev was still divided into three parts: the Verkhnyi city, Pechersk and Podil. Pechersk and especially adjacent to the Pechersky Monastery area, was the most actively inhabiting areas. In the first half of the XVII century, the Verkhnyi City was building fast. The churches and monasteries destroyed during the Tatar-Mongol invasions were being restored. The Kiev metropolitan Petro Mohyla acted an important part in Kiev cultural development. He initiated the St. Sophia’s Cathedral and the Dormition Cathedral restoration and the Church of the Savior on Berestovo rebuilding. He based the first educational institution in Kiev – Kiev-Mohyla Academy on Podil.
In the XVIII century the two parts of Kyiv were united: Pechersk, and the rest of the city. Today’s elite district Lipki started to be built. In 1797 the first building appeared at Khreshchatyk, and since the middle of the XIX century it became the central street of the city. In 1871, the first permanent chain bridge across the Dnieper was created; at that time it was the longest bridge in Europe, and on the Gorodetskogo Street the permanent circus building was constructed.
During World War II Kiev was almost completely demolished down to the ground. The defence of Kiev from the Nazis lasted 72 days, but in the end the city fell. German troops entered the city on September 19, 1941, and only November 6, 1943 at the cost of huge losses, it was liberated.
In the postwar years, Kiev rapidly restored and built over. During fifteen years, three new districts were set up: Pervomaysky, Vidradnyi and Nivki. In 1960, the city authorities put into operation the third water supply system, reconstructed municipal funicular, built the subway. Seven bridges were spread over Dnipro to connect right and left sides of the city.
Nowadays, Kiev is a large economically developed city with a population of more than two and a half million people. This is a nice green city, which has more than 60 parks, several reservoirs; and every year linden and chestnut blossom on its streets. All this makes it very attractive for tourists. The city has two airports, railway station, numerous museums and theatres. Today Kiev is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.