History of Kyiv

Kyiv - is one of the largest cities of Europe, lays on both coast of Dnepro, below the confluence of the left Desna inflow. The northern part of the city is located on Polesye lowland, the southwest (right bank) - on Pridneprovsky height, southeast (left bank) -on Pridneprovsky lowland.  In annals Kyiv had been mentioned since 860.

The first settlements on the territory of modern Kyiv appeared from 1500 to 2000 years ago on Staro-Kyivsky Mountain (where Historical museum is situated now). According to the legend, in the end of V beginning of VI century of our era brothers Kuy, Scheck and Khoryv and their sister Lybid chose a place on slopes of Dnepro, founded the city on the abrupt right coast and named after the big brother Kuy. From that moment the continuous city history was traced, which by the 10th century had become the capital of huge state and turned to influential political centre of Europe. The place for the city was chosen successfully: high slopes of Dnepro served good sewn up from Nomad tribes attacks. By ІХ century, the city expanded: all slopes round Staro-Kyivsky Mountain and Podol had already been habitable. The riches and influence of Kyiv was connected with trade. It stood at a crossroads of international trading ways - legendary "from the Varangian in Greeks", i.e. from Baltic to Constantinople, and the second largest - from Regensburg through Prague, Kyiv and further to Central Asia and Iran. Kyiv actively traded with England.  
 
Kyiv as the capital of the Kyiv Russia

From IX to the beginning of XIII century Kyiv was the capital of Russia, the state formation of east Slavs and Ruses. 
ВIn 882 in Kyiv, there was the change of dynasties. Oleg (Prophetic) entered Kyiv with his army. Having invited princes Askold and Dyer on Ugrian mountain to feast (this place is under the Glory square on Pechersk where there is Askold's tomb  now), Oleg killed them and started to reign in Kyiv. He captured territories surrounding Kyiv and subordinated tribes living on them, thereby having united Russia.

In the end of IX century A.C. when Kyiv princes, at last, managed to unite under their power scattered and isolated tribes, Kyiv became political and cultural centre of east Slavs, capital of Kyiv Russia - the Old Slavic feudal state. Owing to the arrangement of trading ways "from the Varangian in Greeks, Kyiv maintained long time strong political and economic relations with the countries of central and the western Europe.

Numerous related ties of Kyiv princes with reigning houses of Europe testify to influence and value of Kyiv. Czarevna Anna, the sister of Byzantium emperors, refused emperor Otton II in favour of Prince Vladimir (980-1015), the Baptist of Russia. Kyiv prince Yaroslav I the Wise (1019-1054) was married the daughter of Swedish king, his son Vsevolod I married the daughter of Byzantium emperor Konstantin Monomah. Daughter of Yaroslav I the Wise, Elizabeth married Norwegian prince Garald. Anastasia married Andrey Vengersky and Anna - French king Henry I. After his death, Anna reined France as the regent and figured in history of France as Anna Russkaya, the French Queen (Аnnе dе Russie Reine de France). Vladimir Monomah (1113-1125) was married the daughter of English king.

Kyiv started to develop especially roughly in times of Vladimir the Great (980 - 1015) board. With a view of strengthening of Kyiv Russia unity and increase of its influence international scene, in 988 Prince Vladimir christened Russia. The Christianity brought Kyiv Russia considerable political benefits and served as an impulse for the further development of writing and culture. At Vladimir the Great the first stone temple - Desyatinnaya church was built in Kyiv. In ХІ century, the city square promptly increased. It was the century of building boom in Russia. Kyivo-Pechersky and the Klovsky monastery were based, strengthening round Kyiv, Sofievsky cathedral, Gold gate were under construction. In ХІ - ХІІI centuries were considered the city blossoming in spite of the fact that Kyiv Russia did not have the best times any more. 

The city totaled 50 thousand inhabitants that was an excellent indicator of its development. For example: London at the same time totaled 20 thousand inhabitants,and Novgorod - 35 thousand people. The majority of European capitals reached the line of 50 thousand inhabitants only 200-300 years later. In ХІІ century, Kyiv was one of the largest, most beautiful cities and capital of one of the strongest world states for that time. In those days, the city became struggle arena for the power between princes, it constantly passed from hands to hands, but, despite it, Kyiv was not exposed to ruin. Kyiv remained the capital of Russia and the possession of it was extremely tempting for applicants. At Yaroslav the Wise board Kyiv became one of the largest centers of a civilization in the Christian world. In those days, the city totaled about 400 churches; there were 8 markets and more than 50 000 inhabitants. Kyiv was among the most prospering craft and shopping centers of Europe. Among the West European cities, it conceded only to 100-thousand Paris on number of inhabitants. Rapid development of Kyiv was interrupted by the Tatar-Mongol invasion therefore in 1240 the city was destroyed and plundered.

Kyiv captured by Mongol-Tatar

 Khan Batuy, having seen Kyiv from Batuyeva Mountain, amazed with greatness and beauty of the city. 10 weeks Kyiv citizens heroically battled to uncountable armies of Batuy. Golden Gates were a hard nut to crack. Mongol-Tatar managed to break through powerful strengthening of Kyiv only from side of gate, located in northern part of modern square Independence Maidan, at that time treaded with wood and boggy valley. Even then, Kyiv citizens did not give up, but continued to protect the city to the last citadel - the powerful stone temple of Virgin Desyatinnaya constructed in 980. However, Mongol-Tatar managed to break its walls by throwing cars. The temple fell, and under its ruins, many people were buried. 

After Prince Vladimir Monomah's death (1125), the process of crushing uniform Kyiv state began. To the middle of XII century, the Kyiv Russia broke up to set of independent princedoms. External enemies were not slow to use that situation. In autumn of 1240 uncountable hordes of Batuy, Chingizhan's grandson, showed under the Kyiv walls. Mongol-Tatars managed to capture the city after long and bloody fight. Thousand of Kyiv citizens were killed, the biggest part of the city was razed to the ground. In history of Kyiv there came long and gloomy period of decline. Almost hundred years Mongol-Tatars dominated on Ukrainian lands. Still Kyiv managed to save the ancient craft, merchant and cultural traditions and to remain the important political, trading and economic centre. In XIV, century Kyiv area became a stronghold of an arising Ukrainian nationality.
 
1362 - 1648 Kyiv as a part of Lithuania and Poland

 From second half of XIV century Kyiv was a part of Lithuanian state though formally remained under the power of Golden Horde. At that time, considerable economic lifting was observed, but the city population increased very slowly because of mass and frequent epidemics of plague in the city. The plague of 1366 was especially strong, when all administration left the city for two years. 

In XIV century economic revival of Kyiv began, it became the centre of formation of Ukrainian nationality. There was a gradual inclusion of Ukrainian lands in the state "the Great Princedom Lithuanian". Since 1362, Kyiv was under the power of Lithuania, and in 1470, Kyiv princedom turned to voivodship as a part of Lithuanian state. Kyiv grew and developed as economic centre of Ukraine.

Already to the middle of XV century Kyiv again became one of Russia centers. About 1499 the city received Magdebourg right, the right to self-management, and warehouse right that was very important at that time. It allowed stopping merchants, who passed through Kyiv and compelling them to sell part of the goods under the prices favourable to the city.
In 1569, after signing of Lublin union, Poland and Lithuania united in one state known in the history as Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and gradually confirmed the domination in Ukraine. Cruelty and an arbitrariness of foreigners led to numerous revolts of Ukrainian people.

The Lithuanian and Polish magnates bought up more and more Kyiv lands. One of the largest landowners in Kyiv was Beeskup. In 1506, Podolsk petty bourgeoisies protected Beeskup's lands from their territories by high earthen shaft in order to protect the lands from strangers’ encroachments. That shaft was between modern streets Nizhniy Val and Verkhniy Val.

In XVI-XVII centuries, the city population promptly increased. On census as for 1571 in Kyiv, there were already 40 thousand houses. The city territory also increased, but Kyiv remained divided into three historical parts: the Top city, Podol and Pechersk. Pechersk was the most actively inhabited, in particular, areas adjoining to Pechersk monastery. The trade turnover increased the quantity of specialties, which were already about hundred, grew. In first half of XVII century, an active building of the Top city began. Many churches and monasteries destroyed at Tatar-Mongol invasion had been restored. An outstanding role in cultural lifting of Kyiv in first half XVII century Kyiv metropolitan Petro Mohyla played. It was the initiator of Sofievsky and Uspensky cathedrals restoration, Church Spas on Brestov, which are the most ancient monuments of Kyiv. It was he, who based the first higher educational establishment in the city - now it is Kyiv-Mohyla Academy located on Podol.

First half of XVII century was noted by rough economic and cultural lifting not only for Kyiv, but also for all Ukraine. This time was marked also by especially large Cossack revolts. After several brilliant victories over Poles, Khmelnitsky with his army entered Kyiv on December 23, 1648. After meetings with Kyiv higher clergy, Khmelnitsky started to speak openly about an exit of Ukraine from structure of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Under sovereignty of Russian empire

Having risen before necessity to combat on several fronts: with Polish Lithuanian knights in the west, Crimean khan and Turkish sultan in the south, Bohdan Khmelnitsky was compelled to address to Russian tsar for the military help. Formally, union of Ukraine with Russia was concluded in 1654 in Pereyaslav (Pereyaslav Rada).

Ukraine fell under sovereignty of Russian Empire for a long time. Nevertheless, despite merciless imperial oppression, in XVII-XVIII century, strongholds of political, economic, cultural and religious development of the nation remained in Kyiv. The Ukrainian cultureconcentrated round such institutions, as as Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.  Some Ukrainian scientists and educators won wide recognition and authority on all Europe. And still it was impossible to achieve considerable concessions.

The end of XVII century was marked by the hardest crisis for Ukraine, but it did not not especially reflected in Kyiv. The city grew. Building aside Lukyanovka began. The Kirillovskaya Street was laid. In the end of XVII - beginning of XVIII century new splash in building of churches began. They were under construction on money of rich Cossacks. Architectural style of those constructions began to be called - "Cossack baroque". Many churches in Ukraine were constructed especially at hetman Mazepa times. Unfortunately, the majority of those constructions were taken down by order of Peter I when after Poltava fight all connected with Mazepa was destroyed. 

Since 1708, Kyiv became the centre of Kyiv province. The further historical period is characterized by considerable successes of the city in economic development that positively affected the general social and economic position of all Russian empire. Kyiv was in its structure until 1917. 

The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy based in XVII century by Petro Mohyla, became the first university in Eastern Europe. During that period, Ukrainians were most formed in the world, and almost all were competent. Books were printed, philosophy, music, the literature were studied and painting prospered. The first Constitution appeared in Ukraine in the Cossacks period (1711). 

Peter I board was a mark as for Kyiv, and for all Russian Empire. At that time sharp economic lifting, increase in military power of the state was observed. Peter I considered Kyiv as the major strategic point, therefore in 1707 at its direct participation the Pechersk fortress was founded. In 1709, there was army consisting of 5 thousand people.

In XVIII century there was a union of two parts of Kyiv: Pechersk and other part of the city. Lipky started building up. From the end of XVIII century and up to this day, this area is considered elite. In 1797 there was a first building on . From the middle of XIX century it was the central city street. In XIX century territorial and economic growth of a city proceeded. New houses were under construction, streets were laid. Territories adjoining to Kreschatik were especially roughly occupied. Lipky as elite area was definitively formed. Considerable growth of manufacture was observed. 

Kyiv had always its main and major mission - the religious and spiritual centre of Russian Empire. Metropolis was already transferred to Moscow for a long time, but Kyiv still involved ten thousand pilgrims every year. The city was a Mecca of orthodox Christians, amazed with the abundance of churches, monasteries, but as the most important relics of Orthodoxy by right were considered Kyiv-Pechersk monastery and the Sofievsky cathedral. In monastery there was big quantity of hallows sacred, than in any other temple in the world. However, Uspensky cathedral was the pearl of Kyiv-Pechersk monastery and all Kyiv architecture, the overwhelming majority of pilgrims began acquaintance to sights of Kyiv with it. The ordinary provincial inhabitant of Russian Empire remembered for all life the majestic city on mountains. 

After social reforms of 1861 and serfdom cancellation in cultural and economic life of Kyiv there were some changes to the best. The number of hospitals, almshouses, educational institutions increased. In 1860 after construction of Odessa-Kursk railway, with developed by then navigation across Dnepro, Kyiv became large transport and shopping centre. The auctions at Kyiv grain and sugar stock exchanges defined the world prices for those products. The first in Russia (and the second in Europe) electric tram was started up in Kyiv in 1892 on a route which was connecting Podol and Top city and passing on present Vladimir descent. Domestic and foreign industrialists put considerable means in the city. The infrastructure of Kyiv promptly developed.

In 1871 the first constant chain bridge through Dnepro opened, the longest in Europe for that time, there was a constant building of circus (on Gorodetskaya Street). Governors were constantly cared about worthy townscape. In the end of XIX - beginning of XX centuries Kyiv was one of the most beautiful and well-arranged cities of Europe. 

In the beginning of the XX-th century the situation in Kyiv became aggravated. At that time all Russian Empire suffered the sharp economic crisis connected with the Russian-Japanese war and poor harvests of 1902-1903. But Kyiv in comparison with Moscow and St.-Petersburg felt more easy. Excitements among workers were and in Kyiv, but their scale was much less, than in capitals.

1917 - 1921 the Central Rada and the Directory

 When it became known about February revolution of 1917, formation of provisional government which was named the Central Rada began in Kyiv at once. Michael Grushevsky became the president. Instead of forming his army and trying to defend Ukraine, Central Rada let out the document in which proclaimed independence of Ukraine, laws on the lands, declared demobilization, not providing performance of those documents by real actions. When in 1919 the Red army led by Muravyev was near Kyiv, Central Rada could not to organize resistance to Bolsheviks, who had almost occupied the city and arranged pogrom. For the first day there were shot more than 3000 people in Kyiv among who were higher clergy and intelligence of the city. In three weeks hetman changed to Bolsheviks. The hetman was Petro Skoropadsky, which power lasted 7 months, until December 1919. The directory changed him - it was the new version of Central Rada, its power also was not long. During 1920-1921 Kyiv passed from hands to hands tens times. Petlyura’s people, Bolsheviks, White Guards, and Belopolyaki occupied it alternately. Pogroms became a usual matter in the city. Depending on views, armies cut out that part of the population of Kyiv, which especially did not like them, the Jewish pogroms were especially frequent.

Between 1917 and 1921 in Kyiv three governments of independent Ukrainian state, taken to pieces by civil war, replaced each other. On January 22, 1918 Central It is glad has proclaimed independence of Ukraine. The first president of Ukrainian Republic was Mikhail Grushevsky. However, Ukrainian politicians had no power to defend independence of Ukrainian state, and soon parts of Red army under the leadership Antonov-Ovseenko attacked Ukraine.

In January 1919 in conditions of the big solemnity Ukrainian National Republic led by Simon Petlyura formally united with the West Ukrainian National Republic proclaimed in Lviv. However, regiments of West Ukrainian National Republic soon suffered defeat from Polish interventionists who intruded in Galicia, and armies of the Soviet Russia superseded Petlyura's parts from Kyiv.

Capital of the Soviet Ukraine

 In 1921, Ukraine was a part of the USSR. In 30-th years, mass reprisals began. Then the city strongly suffered. The large quantities of perfect temples (Desyatinaya, Nikolsky church, Florovsky monastery, structures of Vydubetsky monastery) were destroyed. Total lost of vault constructions - about hundred. 


In 1922, the Soviet Union in which structure entered also the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was created. Formally, all power passed to the centers as sovereign state in the structure of federation, and the USSR became the totalitarian country. 

At Stalin the best cadres of Ukrainian science and culture, numerous representatives of technical, creative and military intelligence got under millstones of Gulag and finished their life on the Siberian tree fallings and in ice heathlands of Magadan.

During the Second World War Kyiv was destroyed. 72 days heroic defence of Kyiv against fascist invaders proceeded, but the opponent was stronger. On September 19, 1941, armies of Nazi Germany entered the city. The tragedy of Babi Yar, the Kyiv natural boundary that Hitlerites transformed into the place of mass executions is widely known. Besides, Nazis constructed two more concentration camps in city vicinities. For the years of war there were stirred up more than 200 000 people in total they were the Soviet prisoners of war and civilians. More than 100 000 people were sent from Kyiv on forced hard labour to Germany. The city was released on November 6, 1943 with the big losses and human lives.
At fights, the city strongly suffered. The Kreschatik was destroyed, Podol, Pechersk strongly suffered. 

After war, the city restoration began. Old buildings were restored, the new were erected. In 50-60-th years, the territory of Kyiv considerably increased. There was a district of Staraya Darnitsa, on the left coast of Dnepro, constructed by captured Germans. In the 70-th Dneprovsky, Vatutinsky, Obolon, Kharkov, Rusanovka districts appeared. 

After falling of the USSR, Kyiv again became the capital of Ukraine. The city started to put in order. Churches were restored. The Uspensky cathedral was built up. However, much of a historical heritage of the last centuries in shape of the city appeared irrevocably lost.

Capital of independent Ukraine

Now Kyiv - is capital of independent Ukraine and the largest administrative centre. The President, Supreme body, Government, practically all ministries and departments of Ukraine, live and work in Kyiv.

In Kyiv the powerful economic potential consisting of the diversified industry, building complex, developed system of branches of municipal services, vehicles, systems of modern communication etc. is concentrated. More than 485 large industrial enterprises, thousand small and joint ventures, building transport, communication organizations, etc work in Kyiv. The powerful building complex was generated: about 200 contract construction organizations, significant amount of design and prospecting enterprises, almost one and a half thousand small building enterprises and co-operative societies operate. In Kyiv, the wide network of a municipal transportation functions. 

 Location of numerous transport means of communication at crossroads: water, railway, automobile, air promotes to economic development of Kyiv.  They pass from the West on the East (from the countries of the Western and Central Europe to Russia, to Caucasus), and from the north on the south (from Russia, Belarus, Baltic States and Scandinavia to Southeast Europe). Recently transformation of Kyiv to the large site of air transport occurs with accelerated rates. Airport "Kyiv" (Zhulyany) and the largest international airport of the country - "Borispol" functions.

In Kyiv the significant amount of historical, cultural and architectural monuments, which are carefully protected by the city power, are restored. The capital of Ukraine is sated at greater degree by establishments of science, education, culture and art, than other cities of our state. The city is one of the largest science centers of Europe. In Kyiv the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the majority of its institutes are located, many of which have world famous scientific schools; here operates 277 independent research and 38 independent design organizations, and also 18 leading high schools of Ukraine. In Kyiv 457 general educational institutions function. 

The capital of Ukraine has the big cultural potential: 31 museums, 33 theatres, 36 cinemas, a significant amount of constantly working art exhibitions. The most known museums: the National Museum of history of Ukraine, the Museum of Ukrainian fine arts, the Museum of western and east art. 

Historical building of the city occupies more than 6 thousand hectares. In the central historical part of Kyiv, three reserves are concentrated: the State history-architectural reserve "Ancient Kyiv"; National reserve "Sofia Kyiv", Kyiv-Pechersk national history-architectural reserve. Besides, in city territory are six architectural and eight archaeological reserves. Under state protection, there are 3736 monuments of archeology, histories, architecture and town-planning, monumental art. From their number 243 of monuments have the status of monuments of the state value, including 51 monument of the international value (by UNESCO definition). 

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