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Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київ) or Kiev is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine. It is in north-central Ukraine along the Dnieper River. Its population in July 2015 was 2,887,974 (though higher estimated numbers have been cited in the press), making Kyiv the seventh-most populous city in Europe.
Kyiv is an important industrial, scientific, educational and cultural center of Eastern Europe. It is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions, and historical landmarks. The city has an extensive system of public transport and infrastructure, including the Kyiv Metro.
The city's name is said to derive from the name of Kyi, one of its four legendary founders. During its history, Kyiv, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, passed through several stages of prominence and obscurity. The city probably existed as a commercial center as early as the 5th century. A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kyiv was a tributary of the Khazars, until its capture by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid-9th century. Under Varangian rule, the city became a capital of the Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state. Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasions 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 neighbours, first Lithuania, then Poland and Russia.
The city prospered again during the Russian Empire's Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. In 1918, after the Ukrainian People's Republic declared independence from Soviet Russia, Kyiv became its capital. From 1921 onwards Kyiv was a city of Soviet Ukraine, which was proclaimed by the Red Army, and, from 1934, Kyiv was its capital. The city was almost completely ruined during World War II but quickly recovered in the postwar years, remaining the Soviet Union's third-largest city.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence in 1991, Kyiv remained Ukraine's capital and experienced a steady influx of ethnic Ukrainian migrants from other regions of the country. During the country's transformation to a market economy and electoral democracy, Kyiv has continued to be Ukraine's largest and wealthiest city. Its armament-dependent industrial output fell after the Soviet collapse, adversely affecting science and technology, but new sectors of the economy such as services and finance facilitated Kyiv's growth in salaries and investment, as well as providing continuous funding for the development of housing and urban infrastructure. Kyiv emerged as the most pro-Western region of Ukraine; parties advocating tighter integration with the European Union dominate during elections.
The Ukrainian name is Ки́їв, written in the Ukrainian Cyrillic alphabet, and usually rendered in Latin letters (or romanized) as Kyiv. Ukrainian is an inflected language, and the genitive form is Ки́єва, Kyieva, meaning "of Kyiv".
Before standardization of the alphabet in the early twentieth century, the name was also spelled Кыѣвъ, Киѣвъ, or Кіѣвъ with the now-obsolete letter yat. The Old Ukrainian spelling from the 14th and 15th centuries was nominally *Києвъ, but various attested spellings include кїєва (gen.), Кїєвь and Киев (acc.), кїєво or кїєвом (ins.), києвє, Кіеве, Кїєвѣ, Києвѣ, or Киѣве (loc.).
The name descends from Old East Slavic Kyjevŭ (Kыѥвъ). Old East Slavic chronicles, such as Laurentian Codex and Novgorod Chronicle, used the spellings Києвъ, Къıєвъ, or Кїєвъ. This is most likely derived from the Proto-Slavic name *Kyjevŭ gordŭ (literally, "Kyi's castle"), and is associated with Kyi (Ukrainian: Кий, Russian: Кий), the legendary eponymous founder of the city.
Kyiv is the romanized Ukrainian name for the city, and it is used for legislative and official acts. Kiev is the English name for the city.
The city was known by various names in history. In the Norse sagas it was Kænugarðr or Kœnugarðr, meaning city of the Kyivans (from Old East Slavic: кияне, romanized: kijane), which survives in modern Icelandic Kænugarður. Perhaps the earliest original manuscript to name the city is the Kyivan letter, written ca. 930 AD by representatives of the city's Jewish community, with the name written as קייוב׳, Qiyyōḇ. In the Byzantine Greek of Constantine Porphyrogenitus's tenth-century De Administrando Imperio it was Κιοάβα, Kioava, Κίοβα, Kiova, and "also called Sambatas", Σαμβατάς. In Arabic, it was كويابة, Kūyāba in Al-Istakhri's work of 951 AD, and Zānbat according to ibn Rustah and other tenth-century authors. In the medieval Latin of Thietmar of Merseburg's Chronicon it was mentioned for the year 1015 as Cuieva. After it was rebuilt in the fifteenth century, Kyiv was called by the Turkic (Crimean Tatar) name Menkerman or Mankerman.
Today, the city is known as Kijów in Polish, and Киев, Kiyev, in Russian.
As a prominent city with a long history, its English name was subject to gradual evolution. Early English sources spelled this word as Kiou, Kiow, Kiew, Kiovia. On one of the oldest English maps of the region, Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae published by Ortelius (London, 1570) the name of the city is spelled Kiou. On the 1650 map by Guillaume de Beauplan, the name of the city is Kiiow, and the region was named Kÿowia. In the book Travels, by Joseph Marshall (London, 1772), the city is called Kiovia.
In English, Kiev appeared in print as early as 1804 in John Cary's "New map of Europe, from the latest authorities", and in Mary Holderness's 1823 travelogue New Russia: Journey from Riga to the Crimea by way of Kiev The Oxford English Dictionary included Kiev in a quotation published by 1883, and Kyiv in 2018.
After Ukraine's 1991 independence, the Ukrainian government introduced the national rules for transliteration of geographic names into the Latin alphabet for legislative and official acts in October 1995, according to which the Ukrainian name Київ is romanized as Kyiv. These rules are applied for place names and addresses, as well as personal names in passports, street signs, and so on. In 2018, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry launched #CorrectUA, an online campaign to promote the use of official Ukrainian spellings by countries and organizations, in place of "outdated, Soviet-era" place-names. The place name Kyiv is standardized in the authoritative database of Ukraine's toponyms maintained by Ukraine's mapping agency Derzhheokadastr. It has also been adopted by the United Nations GEGN Geographical Names Database, the United States Board on Geographic Names, the International Air Transport Association, the European Union, English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions and governments, several international organizations, and the Encyclopædia Britannica. Some English-language news sources have adopted Kyiv in their style guides, including the AP, CP, and Reuters news services, media organizations in Ukraine, and some media organizations in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Alternative romanizations used in English-language sources include Kyïv, (according to the ALA–LC romanization used in bibliographic cataloguing), Kyjiv (scholarly transliteration used in linguistics), and Kyyiv (the 1965 BGN/PCGN transliteration standard).
The first known humans in the region of Kyiv lived there in the late paleolithic period (Stone Age). The population around Kyiv during the Bronze Age formed part of the so-called Trypillian culture, as evidenced by artifacts from that culture found in the area. During the early Iron Age certain tribes settled around Kyiv that practiced land cultivation, husbandry and trading with the Scythians and ancient states of the northern Black Sea coast. Findings of Roman coins of the 2nd to the 4th centuries suggest trade relations with the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. The people of the Zarubintsy culture are considered the direct ancestors of the ancient Slavs who later established Kyiv. Notable archaeologists of the area around Kyiv include Vikentiy Khvoyka.
Scholars continue to debate when the city was founded: the traditional founding date is 482 AD, so the city celebrated its 1500 anniversary in 1982. Archaeological data indicates a founding in the sixth or seventh centuries, with some researchers dating the founding as late as the late 9th century,
There are several legendary accounts of the origin of the city. One tells of members of a Slavic tribe (Polans), brothers Kyi (the eldest, after whom the city was named) Shchek and Khoryv, and their sister Lybid, who founded the city (See the Primary Chronicle). Another legend states that Saint Andrew passed through the area in the 1st century. Where the city is now he erected a cross, where a church later was built.[by whom?] Since the Middle Ages an image of Saint Michael has represented the city as well as the duchy.
There is little historical evidence pertaining to the period when the city was founded. Scattered Slavic settlements existed in the area from the 6th century, but it is unclear whether any of them later developed into the city. On the Ptolemy world map there are several settlements indicated along the mid-stream of Borysthenes, among which is Azagarium, which some historians believe to be the predecessor to Kyiv. However, according to the 1773 "Dictionary of Ancient Geography" of Alexander Macbean, that settlement corresponds to the modern city of Chernobyl. Just south of Azagarium, there is another settlement, Amadoca, which is supposed as the capital of Amadoci people living in area between marshes of Amadoca in the west and Amadoca mountains in the east.
Another name for Kyiv mentioned in history, the origin of which is not completely clear, is Sambat, which apparently has something to do with the Khazar Empire. The Primary Chronicle says the residents of Kyiv told Askold "there were three brothers Kyi, Shchek, and Khoriv. They founded this town and died, and now we are staying and paying taxes to their relatives the Khazars". In his book De Administrando Imperio, Constantine Porphyrogenitus mentions a caravan of small-cargo boats which assembled annually, and writes, "They come down the river Dnieper and assemble at the strong-point of Kyiv (Kioava), also called Sambatas".
At least three Arabic-speaking 10th century geographers who traveled the area mention the city of Zānbat as the chief city of the Russes. Among them are Ahmad ibn Rustah, Abu Sa'id Gardezi, and an author of the Hudud al-'Alam. The texts of those authors were discovered by Russian orientalist Alexander Tumansky. The etymology of Sambat has been argued by many historians, including Grigoriy Ilyinsky, Nikolay Karamzin, Jan Potocki, Nikolay Lambin, Joachim Lelewel, Guðbrandur Vigfússon. The historian Julius Brutzkus in his work "The Khazar Origin of Ancient Kiev" hypothesizes that both Sambat and Kyiv are of Khazar origin meaning "hill fortress" and "lower settlement" respectively. Brutzkus claims that Sambat is not Kyiv, but rather Vyshhorod (High City) which is located nearby.
The Primary Chronicles state that at some point during the late 9th or early 10th century Askold and Dir, who may have been of Viking or Varangian descent, ruled in Kyiv. They were murdered by Oleg of Novgorod in 882, but some historians, such as Omeljan Pritsak and Constantine Zuckerman, dispute that, arguing that Khazar rule continued as late as the 920s (among notable historical documents are the Kyivan letter and Schechter Letter).
Other historians suggest that Magyar tribes ruled the city between 840 and 878, before migrating with some Khazar tribes to the Carpathian Basin. The Primary Chronicles also mention movement of Hungarians pass Kyiv. To this day in Kyiv exists a place known as "Uhorske urochyshche" (Hungarian place), which is better known as Askold's Grave.
According to the aforementioned scholars the building of the fortress of Kyiv was finished in 840 under the leadership of Keő (Keve), Csák, and Geréb, three brothers, possibly members of the Tarján tribe. The three names appear in the Kyiv Chronicle as Kyi, Shchek, and Khoryv and may be not of Slavic origin, as Russian historians have always struggled to account for their meanings and origins. According to Hungarian historian Viktor Padányi, their names were inserted into the Kyiv Chronicle in the 12th century, and they were identified as old-Russian mythological heroes.
The city of Kyiv stood on the trade route between the Varangians and the Greeks. In 968 the nomadic Pechenegs attacked and then besieged the city. By 1000 AD the city had a population of 45,000.
In March 1169, Grand Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky of Vladimir-Suzdal sacked Kyiv, leaving the old town and the prince's hall in ruins. He took many pieces of religious artwork - including the Theotokos of Vladimir icon - from nearby Vyshhorod. In 1203, Prince Rurik Rostislavich and his Kipchak allies captured and burned Kyiv. In the 1230s, the city was besieged and ravaged several times by different Rus princes. The city had not recovered from these attacks when, in 1240, the Mongol invasion of Rus', led by Batu Khan, completed the destruction of Kyiv.
These events had a profound effect on the future of the city and on the East Slavic civilization. Before Bogolyubsky's pillaging, Kyiv had had a reputation as one of the largest cities in the world, with a population exceeding 100,000 in the beginning of the 12th century.
In the early 1320s, a Lithuanian army led by Grand Duke Gediminas defeated a Slavic army led by Stanislav of Kyiv at the Battle on the Irpen' River and conquered the city. The Tatars, who also claimed Kyiv, retaliated in 1324–1325, so while Kyiv was ruled by a Lithuanian prince, it had to pay tribute to the Golden Horde. Finally, as a result of the Battle of Blue Waters in 1362, Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, incorporated Kyiv and surrounding areas into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1482, Crimean Tatars sacked and burned much of Kyiv.
With the 1569 (Union of Lublin), when the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was established, the Lithuanian-controlled lands of the Kyiv region (Podolia, Volhynia, and Podlachia) were transferred from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, and Kyiv became the capital of Kyiv Voivodeship. The 1658 Treaty of Hadiach envisaged Kyiv becoming the capital of the Grand Duchy of Rus' within the Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth, but this provision of the treaty never went into operation. Occupied by the Russian troops since the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav, Kyiv became a part of the Tsardom of Russia from 1667 on the Truce of Andrusovo and enjoyed a degree of autonomy. None of the Polish-Russian treaties concerning Kyiv have ever been ratified. In the Russian Empire, Kyiv was a primary Christian centre, attracting pilgrims, and the cradle of many of the empire's most important religious figures, but until the 19th century, the city's commercial importance remained marginal.
In 1834, the Russian government established Saint Vladimir University, now called the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv after the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861). (Shevchenko worked as a field researcher and editor for the geography department). The medical faculty of Saint Vladimir University, separated into an independent institution in 1919–1921 during the Soviet period, became the Bogomolets National Medical University in 1995.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Russian military and ecclesiastical authorities dominated city life; the Russian Orthodox Church had involvement in a significant part of Kyiv's infrastructure and commercial activity. In the late 1840s the historian, Mykola Kostomarov (Russian: Nikolay Kostomarov), founded a secret political society, the Brotherhood of Saint Cyril and Methodius, whose members put forward the idea of a federation of free Slavic peoples with Ukrainians as a distinct and separate group rather than a subordinate part of the Russian nation; the Russian authorities quickly suppressed the society.
Following the gradual loss of Ukraine's autonomy, Kyiv experienced growing Russification in the 19th century by means of Russian migration, administrative actions and social modernization. At the beginning of the 20th century the Russian-speaking part of the population dominated the city centre, while the lower classes living on the outskirts retained Ukrainian folk culture to a significant extent. However, enthusiasts among ethnic Ukrainian nobles, military and merchants made recurrent attempts to preserve native culture in Kyiv, by clandestine book-printing, amateur theatre, folk studies etc.
During the Russian industrial revolution in the late 19th century, Kyiv became an important trade and transportation centre of the Russian Empire, specialising in sugar and grain export by railway and on the Dnieper river. By 1900, the city had also become a significant industrial centre, having a population of 250,000. Landmarks of that period include the railway infrastructure, the foundation of numerous educational and cultural facilities, and notable architectural monuments (mostly merchant-oriented). In 1892, the first electric tram line of the Russian Empire started running in Kyiv (the 3rd in the world).
Kyiv prospered during the late 19th century Industrial Revolution in the Russian Empire, when it became the third most important city of the Empire and the major centre of commerce of its southwest. In the turbulent period following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Kyiv became the capital of several successive Ukrainian states and was caught in the middle of several conflicts: World War I, during which German soldiers occupied it from 2 March 1918 to November 1918, the Russian Civil War of 1917 to 1922, and the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921. During the last three months of 1919, Kyiv was intermittently controlled by the White Army. Kyiv changed hands sixteen times from the end of 1918 to August 1920.
From 1921 to 1991, the city formed part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became a founding republic of the Soviet Union in 1922. The major events that took place in Soviet Ukraine during the interwar period all affected Kyiv: the 1920s Ukrainization as well as the migration of the rural Ukrainophone population made the Russophone city Ukrainian-speaking and bolstered the development of Ukrainian cultural life in the city; the Soviet Industrialization that started in the late 1920s turned the city, a former centre of commerce and religion, into a major industrial, technological and scientific centre; the 1932–1933 Great Famine devastated the part of the migrant population not registered for ration cards; and Joseph Stalin's Great Purge of 1937–1938 almost eliminated the city's intelligentsia
In 1934, Kyiv became the capital of Soviet Ukraine. The city boomed again during the years of Soviet industrialization as its population grew rapidly and many industrial giants were established, some of which exist today.
In World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, and Nazi Germany occupied it from 19 September 1941 to 6 November 1943. Axis forces killed or captured more than 600,000 Soviet soldiers in the great encirclement Battle of Kyiv in 1941. Most of those captured never returned alive. Shortly after the Wehrmacht occupied the city, a team of NKVD officers who had remained hidden dynamited most of the buildings on the Khreshchatyk, the main street of the city, where German military and civil authorities had occupied most of the buildings; the buildings burned for days and 25,000 people were left homeless.
Allegedly in response to the actions of the NKVD, the Germans rounded up all the local Jews they could find, nearly 34,000, and massacred them at Babi Yar in Kyiv on 29 and 30 September 1941. In the months that followed, thousands more were taken to Babi Yar where they were shot. It is estimated that the Germans murdered more than 100,000 people of various ethnic groups, mostly civilians, at Babi Yar during World War II.
Kyiv recovered economically in the post-war years, becoming once again the third-most important city of the Soviet Union. The catastrophic accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 occurred only 100 km (62 mi) north of the city. However, the prevailing south wind blew most of the radioactive debris away from Kyiv.
In the course of the collapse of the Soviet Union the Ukrainian parliament proclaimed the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine in the city on 24 August 1991. In 2004–2005, the city played host to the largest post-Soviet public demonstrations up to that time, in support of the Orange Revolution. From November 2013 until February 2014, central Kyiv became the primary location of Euromaidan.
Geographically, Kyiv is located on the border of the Polesia woodland ecological zone, a part of the European mixed woods area, and the East European forest steppe biome. However, the city's unique landscape distinguishes it from the surrounding region. Kyiv is completely surrounded by Kyiv Oblast.
Originally on the west bank, today Kyiv is located on both sides of the Dnieper, which flows southwards through the city towards the Black Sea. The older and higher western part of the city sits on numerous wooded hills (Kyiv Hills), with ravines and small rivers. Kyiv's geographical relief contributed to its toponyms, such as Podil (means lower), Pechersk (caves), and uzviz (a steep street, "descent"). Kyiv is a part of the larger Dnieper Upland adjoining the western bank of the Dnieper in its mid-flow, and which contributes to the city's elevation change. The northern outskirts of the city border the Polesian Lowland. Kyiv expanded into the Dnieper Lowland on the left bank (to the east) as late as the 20th century. The whole portion of Kyiv on the left bank of the Dnieper is generally referred to as Left bank (Ukrainian: Лівий берег, Livyi bereh). Significant areas of the left bank Dnieper valley were artificially sand-deposited, and are protected by dams.
Within the city the Dnieper River forms a branching system of tributaries, isles, and harbors within the city limits. The city is close to the mouth of the Desna River and the Kyiv Reservoir in the north, and the Kaniv Reservoir in the south. Both the Dnieper and Desna rivers are navigable at Kyiv, although regulated by the reservoir shipping locks and limited by winter freeze-over.
In total, there are 448 bodies of open water within the boundaries of Kyiv, which include the Dnieper itself, its reservoirs, and several small rivers, dozens of lakes and artificially created ponds. They occupy 7949 hectares. Additionally, the city has 16 developed beaches (totalling 140 hectares) and 35 near-water recreational areas (covering more than 1,000 hectares). Many are used for pleasure and recreation, although some of the bodies of water are not suitable for swimming.
According to the UN 2011 evaluation, there were no risks of natural disasters in Kyiv and its metropolitan area.
Kyiv has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb). The warmest months are June, July, and August, with mean temperatures of 13.8 to 24.8 °C (56.8 to 76.6 °F). The coldest are December, January, and February, with mean temperatures of −4.6 to −1.1 °C (23.7 to 30.0 °F). The highest ever temperature recorded in the city was 39.4 °C (102.9 °F) on 30 July 1936. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the city was −32.9 °C (−27.2 °F) on 11 January 1951. Snow cover usually lies from mid-November to the end of March, with the frost-free period lasting 180 days on average, but surpassing 200 days in some years.
The municipality of the city of Kyiv has a special legal status within Ukraine compared to the other administrative subdivisions of the country. The most significant difference is that the city is considered as a region of Ukraine (see Regions of Ukraine). It is the only city that has double jurisdiction. The Head of City State Administration — the city's governor, is appointed by the President of Ukraine, while the Head of the City Council – the Mayor of Kyiv, is elected by local popular vote.
The Mayor of Kyiv is Vitali Klitschko who was sworn in on 5 June 2014; after he had won the 25 May 2014 Kyiv mayoral elections with almost 57% of the votes. Since 25 June 2014, Klitschko is also Head of Kyiv City Administration. Klitschko was last reelected in the 2020 Kyiv local election with 50.52% of the votes, in the first round of the election.
Most key buildings of the national government are located along Hrushevskoho Street (vulytsia Mykhaila Hrushevskoho) and Institute Street (vulytsia Instytutska). Hrushevskoho Street is named after the Ukrainian academician, politician, historian, and statesman Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, who wrote an academic book titled: "Bar Starostvo: Historical Notes: XV-XVIII" about the history of Bar, Ukraine. That portion of the city is also unofficially known as the government quarter (Ukrainian: урядовий квартал).
The city state administration and council is located in the Kyiv City council building on Khreshchatyk Street. The oblast state administration and council is located in the Kyiv Oblast council building on ploshcha Lesi Ukrayinky (Lesya Ukrayinka Square). The Kyiv-Sviatoshyn Raion state administration is located near Kiltseva doroha (Ring Road) on prospekt Peremohy (Victory Parkway), while the Kyiv-Svyatoshyn Raion local council is located on vulytsia Yantarna (Yantarnaya Street).
The seat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
The presidential administration building
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The seat of Kyiv City State and City Council on Khreshchatyk Street
The growing political and economic role of the city, combined with its international relations, as well as extensive internet and social network penetration, have made Kyiv the most pro-Western and pro-democracy region of Ukraine; (so called) National Democratic parties advocating tighter integration with the European Union receive most votes during elections in Kyiv. In a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in the first half of February 2014, 5.3% of those polled in Kyiv believed "Ukraine and Russia must unite into a single state", nationwide this percentage was 12.5.
The Dnieper River naturally divides Kyiv into the Right Bank and the Left Bank areas. Historically located on the western right bank of the river, the city expanded into the left bank only in the 20th century. Most of Kyiv's attractions as well as the majority of business and governmental institutions are located on the right bank. The eastern 'Left Bank' is predominantly residential. There are large industrial and green areas in both the Right Bank and the Left Bank.
Kyiv is further informally divided into historical or territorial neighbourhoods, each housing from about 5,000 to 100,000 inhabitants.
The first known formal subdivision of Kyiv dates to 1810 when the city was subdivided into 4 parts: Pechersk, Starokyiv, and the first and the second parts of Podil. In 1833–1834 according to Tsar Nicholas I's decree, Kyiv was subdivided into 6 police raions (districts); later being increased to 10. In 1917, there were 8 Raion Councils (Duma), which were reorganised by bolsheviks into 6 Party-Territory Raions.
During the Soviet era, as the city was expanding, the number of raions also gradually increased. These newer districts of the city, along with some older areas were then named in honour of prominent communists and socialist-revolutionary figures; however, due to the way in which many communist party members eventually, after a certain period of time, fell out of favour and so were replaced with new, fresher minds, so too did the names of Kyiv's districts change accordingly.
The last raion reform took place in 2001 when the number of raions has been decreased from 14 to 10.
Under Oleksandr Omelchenko (mayor from 1999 to 2006), there were further plans for the merger of some raions and revision of their boundaries, and the total number of raions had been planned to be decreased from 10 to 7. With the election of the new mayor-elect (Leonid Chernovetsky) in 2006, these plans were shelved.
Each raion has its own locally elected government with jurisdiction over a limited scope of affairs.
According to the official registration statistics, there were 2,847,200 residents within the city limits of Kyiv in July 2013.
According to the All-Ukrainian Census, the population of Kyiv in 2001 was 2,611,300. The historic changes in population are shown in the side table. According to the census, some 1,393,000 (53.3%) were female and 1,219,000 (46.7%) were male. Comparing the results with the previous census (1989) shows the trend of population ageing which, while prevalent throughout the country, is partly offset in Kyiv by the inflow of working age migrants. Some 1,069,700 people had higher or completed secondary education, a significant increase of 21.7% since 1989.
The June 2007 unofficial population estimate based on amount of bakery products sold in the city (thus including temporary visitors and commuters) gave a number of at least 3.5 million people.
According to the 2001 census data, more than 130 nationalities and ethnic groups reside within the territory of Kyiv. Ukrainians constitute the largest ethnic group in Kyiv, and they account for 2,110,800 people, or 82.2% of the population. Russians comprise 337,300 (13.1%), Jews 17,900 (0.7%), Belarusians 16,500 (0.6%), Poles 6,900 (0.3%), Armenians 4,900 (0.2%), Azerbaijanis 2,600 (0.1%), Tatars 2,500 (0.1%), Georgians 2,400 (0.1%), Moldovans 1,900 (0.1%).
Both Ukrainian and Russian are commonly spoken in the city; approximately 75% of Kyiv's population responded "Ukrainian" to the 2001 census question on their native language, roughly 25% responded "Russian". According to a 2006 survey, Ukrainian is used at home by 23% of Kyivans, 52% use Russian and 24% switch between both. In the 2003 sociological survey, when the question 'What language do you use in everyday life?' was asked, 52% said 'mostly Russian', 32% 'both Russian and Ukrainian in equal measure', 14% 'mostly Ukrainian', and 4.3% 'exclusively Ukrainian'.
According to the census of 1897, of Kyiv's approximately 240,000 people approximately 56% of the population spoke the Russian language, 23% spoke the Ukrainian language, 13% spoke Yiddish, 7% spoke Polish and 1% spoke the Belarusian language.
Most of the city's non-Slav population comprises Tatars, Caucasians and other people from the former Soviet Union.
A 2015 study by the International Republican Institute found that 94% of Kyiv was ethnic Ukrainian, and 5% ethnic Russian. The languages spoken at home were Ukrainian (27%), Russian (32%), and an equal combination of Ukrainian and Russian (40%).
The Jews of Kyiv are first mentioned in a 10th century letter, but the Jewish population remained relatively small until the nineteenth century. A series of pogroms was carried out in 1882, and another in 1905. On the eve of World War I, the city's Jewish population was over 81,000, and by 1939 there were approximately 224,000 Jews in Kyiv, some of whom fled the city ahead of the German invasion of the Soviet Union that began in June 1941. On 29 and 30 September 1941, nearly 34,000 Kyivan Jews were massacred at Babi Yar by the German Wehrmacht, SS, Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, and local collaborators. Jews began returning to Kyiv at the end of the war, but experienced another pogrom in September 1945. In the 21st century, Kyiv's Jewish community numbers about 20,000. There are two major synagogues in the city: the Great Choral Synagogue and the Brodsky Choral Synagogue.
Modern Kyiv is a mix of the old (Kyiv preserved about 70 percent of more than 1,000 buildings built during 1907–1914) 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 Kyiv many new buildings were commissioned to give the city "the gloss and polish of a capital". In the discussions that 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. Some of the early, ultimately not materialised, ideas included a part of Pechersk, Lypky, European Square and Mykhailivska Square. The plans of building massive monuments (of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin) were also abandoned; due to lack of money (in the 1930s–1950s) and because of Kyiv's hilly landscape. 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, Kyiv'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 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. And most importantly, with the easing of the visa rules in 2005, Ukraine is positioning itself as a prime tourist attraction, with Kyiv, among the other large cities, looking to profit from new opportunities. The centre of Kyiv has been cleaned up and buildings have been restored and redecorated, especially Khreshchatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Many historic areas of Kyiv, 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.
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, Kyiv was the only Commonwealth of Independent States city to have been inscribed into the TOP30 European Green City Index (placed 30th).
Kyiv's most famous historical architecture complexes are the St. Sophia Cathedral and the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), which are recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Noteworthy historical architectural landmarks also include the Mariyinsky 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 Kyiv's widely recognized modern landmarks is the highly visible giant Mother Motherland statue made of titanium standing at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World 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 Kyiv'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 from Saint Vladimir Hill, the monument to Kyi, Shchek 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 Kyiv 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.
Holy Dormition Cathedral
St. Sophia Cathedral
St. Volodymyr's Cathedral
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral
Saint Andrew's Church
National Bank of Ukraine
"House with Chimaeras"
Brodsky Choral Synagogue - Moorish Revival architecture
Kyiv was the historic cultural centre of the East Slavic civilization and a major cradle for the Christianization of Kyivan Rus. Kyiv retained through centuries its cultural importance and even at times of relative decay, it remained the centre of primary importance of Eastern Orthodox Christianity . Its sacred sites, which include the Kyiv 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 Site remain 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.
Kyiv's theatres include, the Kyiv Opera House, Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theater, Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater of Russian Drama, the Kyiv Puppet Theater, October Palace and National Philharmonic of Ukraine and others. In 1946 Kyiv had four theatres, one opera house and one concert hall, but most tickets then were allocated to "privileged groups".
Other significant cultural centres include the Dovzhenko Film Studios, and the Kyiv Circus. The most important of the city's many museums are the Kyiv State Historical Museum, National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World 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, Kyiv hosted the 50th annual Eurovision Song Contest and in 2017 the 62nd annual Eurovision Song Contest
Numerous songs and paintings were dedicated to the city. Some songs became part of Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish folklore, less known are German and Jewish. The most popular songs are "How not to love you, Kyiv of mine?" and "Kyiv Waltz". Renowned Ukrainian composer Oleksandr Bilash wrote an operetta called "Legend of Kyiv".
It is said that one can walk from one end of Kyiv to the other in the summertime without leaving the shade of its many trees. Most characteristic are the horse-chestnuts (Ukrainian: каштани, kashtany).
Kyiv is known as a green city with two botanical gardens and numerous large and small parks. The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War is located here, which offers both indoor and outdoor displays of military history and equipment surrounded by verdant hills overlooking the Dnieper river.
Among the numerous islands, Venetsianskyi (or Hydropark) 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 Kyiv. 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).
The centre of Kyiv (Independence Square and Khreschatyk 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 Kyiv. The hill is the site of the Castle of Richard the Lionheart; the baroque-style St Andrew's Church; the home of Kyiv born writer, Mikhail Bulgakov; the monument to Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of Kyiv and of Novgorod; and numerous other monuments.
A wide variety of farm produce is available in many of Kyiv's farmer markets with the Besarabsky 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.
Kyiv also has numerous recreational attractions like bowling alleys, go-cart tracks, paintball venues, billiard halls and even shooting ranges. The 100-year-old Kyiv Zoo is located on 40 hectares and according to CBC "the zoo has 2,600 animals from 328 species".
Kyiv is home to some 40 different museums. In 2009 they recorded a total of 4.3 million visits.
The National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War is a memorial complex commemorating the Eastern Front of World War II located in the hills on the right-bank of the Dnieper River in Pechersk. Kyiv fortress is the 19th-century fortification buildings situated in Ukrainian capital Kyiv, 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 Kyiv Fortress, while others are in use in various military and commercial installations. The National Art Museum of Ukraine is a museum dedicated to Ukrainian art. The Golden Gate is a historic gateway in the ancient city's walls. The name Zoloti Vorota is also used for a nearby theatre and a station of the Kyiv Metro. 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 of nuclear power as a whole.
Kyiv has many professional and amateur football clubs, including Dynamo Kyiv, Arsenal Kyiv and FC Obolon Kyiv but only Dynamo Kyiv play in the Ukrainian Premier League. Of these three, Dynamo Kyiv has had the most success over the course of its history. For example, up until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the club won 13 USSR Championships, 9 USSR Cups, and 3 USSR Super Cups, thus making Dynamo the most successful club in the history of the Soviet Top League.
Other prominent non-football sport clubs in the city include: the Sokil Kyiv ice hockey club and BC Budivelnyk basketball club. Both of these teams play in the highest Ukrainian leagues for their respective sports. Budivelnyk was founded in 1945, Sokil was founded in 1963, during the existence of the Soviet Union. Both these teams play their home games at the Kyiv Palace of Sports.
During the 1980 Summer Olympics held in the Soviet Union, Kyiv held the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament at its Olympic Stadium, which was reconstructed specially for the event. From 1 December 2008 stadium the stadium underwent a full-scale reconstruction in order to satisfy standards put in place by UEFA for hosting the Euro 2012 football tournament; the opening ceremony took place in the presence of president Viktor Yanukovich on 8 October 2011, with the first major event being a Shakira concert which was specially planned to coincide with the stadium's re-opening during Euro 2012. Other notable sport stadiums/sport complexes in Kyiv include the Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium, the Palace of Sports, among many others.
Most Ukrainian national teams play their home international matches in Kyiv. The Ukraine national football team, for example, will play matches at the re-constructed Olympic Stadium from 2011.
Since introducing a visa-free regime for EU-member states and Switzerland in 2005, Ukraine has seen a steady increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country. Before the 2008–09 recession the average annual growth in the number of foreign visits in Kyiv was 23% over a three-year period. In 2009, a total of 1.6 million tourists stayed in Kyiv hotels, of whom almost 259,000 (ca. 16%) were foreigners. After UEFA Euro 2012, the city became the most popular destination for European tourists. A record number of 1.8 million foreign tourists was registered then along with about 2.5 million domestic tourists. More than 850,000 foreign tourists visited Kyiv in the first half of 2018, as compared to 660,000 tourists over the same period in 2013. As of 2018, the hotel occupancy rate from May to September averages 45–50%. Hostels and three-star hotels are approximately 90% full, four-star hotels 65-70%. Six five-star hotels average 50-55% occupancy. Ordinary tourists generally come from May to October, and business tourists from September to May.
In 2014, the Kyiv city's council established the city's anthem. It became a 1962 song, "Yak tebe ne lyubyty, Kyieve miy!" (Ukrainian: Як тебе не любити, Києве мій!, roughly "How one cannot love you, Kyiv, my dear!").
The horse chestnut tree is one of the symbols of Kyiv. It was heavily present on the city's coat of arms used from 1969 to 1995.
As with most capital cities, Kyiv is a major administrative, cultural and scientific centre of the country. It is the largest city in Ukraine in terms of both population and area and enjoys the highest levels of business activity. On 1 January 2010, there were around 238,000 business entities registered in Kyiv.
Official figures show that between 2004 and 2008 Kyiv's economy outstripped the rest of the country's, growing by an annual average of 11.5%. Following the global financial crisis that began in 2007, Kyiv's economy suffered a severe setback in 2009 with gross regional product contracting by 13.5% in real terms. Although a record high, the decline in activity was 1.6 percentage points smaller than that for the country as a whole. The economy in Kyiv, as in the rest of Ukraine, recovered somewhat in 2010 and 2011. Kyiv is a middle-income city, with prices comparable to many mid-size American cities (i.e., considerably lower than Western Europe).
Because the city boasts a large and diverse economic base and is not dependent on any single industry and/or company, its unemployment rate has historically been relatively low – only 3.75% over 2005–2008. Indeed, even as the rate of joblessness jumped to 7.1% in 2009, it remained far below the national average of 9.6%.
As of July 2019, the average monthly net salary in Kyiv reached 16,249 UAH (€560 / US$ 630)
Kyiv is the undisputed center of business and commerce of Ukraine and home to the country's largest companies, such as Naftogaz Ukrainy, Energorynok and Kyivstar. In 2010, the city accounted for 18% of national retail sales and 24% of all construction activity. Indeed, real estate is one of the major forces in Kyiv's economy. Average prices of apartments are the highest in the country and among the highest in eastern Europe. Kyiv also ranks high in terms of commercial real estate for it is here where the country's tallest office buildings (such as Gulliver and Parus) and some of Ukraine's biggest shopping malls (such as Dream Town and Ocean Plaza) are located.
In May 2011, Kyiv authorities presented a 15-year development strategy which calls for attracting as much as EUR82 billion of foreign investment by 2025 to modernize the city's transport and utilities infrastructure and make it more attractive for tourists.
* – data not available; ** – calculated at annual average official exchange rate; *** – ILO methodology (% of workforce).
Primary industries in Kyiv include utilities – i.e., electricity, gas and water supply (26% of total industrial output), manufacture of food, beverages and tobacco products (22%), chemical (17%), mechanical engineering (13%) and manufacture of paper and paper products, including publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media (11%). The Institute of Oil Transportation is headquartered here.
Scientific research is conducted in many institutes of higher education and, additionally, in many research institutes affiliated with the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Kyiv is home to Ukraine's ministry of education and science, and is also noted for its contributions to medical and computer science research.
In 2016, UNIT Factory (Ukrainian National IT Factory) opened. It offers a completely new format of IT education. The education is completely free for all trainees subject to compliance with the terms of the program. Within this project are the Technology Companies' Development Center (TCDC), BIONIC University open inter-corporate IT-university, as well as two hi-tech laboratories—VR Lab (Crytek) and Smart City lab.
Kyiv hosts many universities, the major ones being Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, the National Technical University "Kyiv Polytechnic Institute", Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and the Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics. Of these, the Mohyla Academy is the oldest, founded as a theological school in 1632, but Shevchenko University, founded in 1834, is the oldest in continuous operation. The total number of institutions of higher education in Kyiv approaches 200, allowing young people to pursue almost any line of study. While education traditionally remains largely in the hands of the state there are several accredited private institutions in the city.
There are about 530 general secondary schools and ca. 680 nursery schools and kindergartens in Kyiv. Additionally, there are evening schools for adults, specialist technical schools and the Evangel Theological Seminary.
There are many libraries in the city with the Vernadsky National Library, which is Ukraine's main academic library and scientific information centre, as well as one of the world's largest national libraries, being the largest and most important one. The National Library is affiliated with the Academy of Sciences in so far as it is a deposit library and thus serves as the academy's archives' store. The national library is the world's foremost repository of Jewish folk music recorded on Edison wax cylinders. Their Collection of Jewish Musical Folklore (1912–1947) was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005.
Local public transportation in Kyiv includes the Metro (underground), buses and minibuses, trolleybuses, trams, taxi and funicular. There is also an intra-city ring railway service.
The publicly owned and operated Kyiv Metro is the fastest, the most convenient and affordable network that covers most, but not all, of the city. The Metro is expanding towards the city limits to meet growing demand, having three lines with a total length of 66.1 kilometres (41.1 miles) and 51 stations (some of which are renowned architectural landmarks). The Metro carries around 1.422 million passengers daily accounting for 38% of the Kyiv's public transport load. In 2011, the total number of trips exceeded 519 million.
The historic Kyiv tram system was the first electric tramway in the former Russian Empire and the third one in Europe after the Berlin Straßembahn and the Budapest tramway. The tram system consists of 139.9 km (86.9 mi) of track, including 14 km (8.7 mi) two Rapid Tram lines, served by 21 routes with the use of 523 tram cars. Once a well maintained and widely used method of transport, the system is now gradually being phased out in favor of buses and trolleybuses.
The Kyiv Funicular was constructed during 1902–1905. It connects the historic Uppertown, and the lower commercial neighborhood of Podil through the steep Saint Vladimir Hill overseeing the Dnieper River. The line consists of only two stations.
All public road transport (except for some minibuses) is operated by the united Kyivpastrans municipal company. It is heavily subsidized by the city.
The Kyiv public transport system, except for taxi, uses a simple flat rate tariff system regardless of distance traveled: tickets or tokens must be purchased each time a vehicle is boarded. Digital ticket system is already established in Kyiv Metro, with plans for other transport modes. Discount passes are available for grade school and higher education students. Pensioners use public transportation free. There are monthly passes in all combinations of public transportation. Ticket prices are regulated by the city government, and the cost of one ride is far lower than in Western Europe.
The taxi market in Kyiv is expansive but not regulated. In particular, the taxi fare per kilometer is not regulated. There is a fierce competition between private taxi companies.
Zoloti Vorota Metro Station Cental Hall
Pozniaky metro station
MAZ-215 Bus in Kyiv
Taxi and trolleybus
Station of Kyiv funicular
A modern Pesa Tram in Kyiv
A ship near the Kyiv River Port passenger terminal
Paton Bridge, the world's first all-welded bridge
The Novo-Darnytskyi Bridge over the Dnieper river
Pivdennyi (Southern) Bridge
Kyiv represents the focal point of Ukraine's "national roads" system, thus linked by road to all cities of the country. European routes , and intersect in Kyiv.
There are 8 over-Dnieper bridges and dozens of grade-separated intersections in the city. Several new intersections are under construction. There are plans to build a full-size, fully grade-separated ring road around Kyiv.
In 2009, Kyiv's roads were in poor technical condition and maintained inadequately.
Traffic jams and lack of parking space are growing problems for all road transport services in Kyiv.
Kyiv is served by two international passenger airports: the Boryspil Airport located 30 kilometres (19 miles) away, and the smaller, municipally owned Zhulyany Airport on the southern outskirts of the city. There are also the Gostomel cargo airport and additional three operating airfields facilitating the Antonov aircraft manufacturing company and general aviation.
Railways are Kyiv's main mode of intracity and suburban transportation. The city has a developed railroad infrastructure including a long-distance passenger station, 6 cargo stations, depots, and repairing facilities. However, this system still fails to meet the demand for passenger service. Particularly, the Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi Railway Station is the city's only long-distance passenger terminal (vokzal).
Construction is underway for turning the large Darnytsia railway station on the left-bank part of Kyiv into a long-distance passenger hub, which may ease traffic at the central station. Bridges over the Dnieper River are another problem restricting the development of city's railway system. Presently, only one rail bridge out of two is available for intense train traffic. A new combined rail-auto bridge is under construction, as a part of Darnytsia project.
In 2011, the Kyiv city administration established a new 'Urban Train' for Kyiv. This service runs at standard 4- to 10-minute intervals throughout the day and follows a circular route around the city centre, which allows it to serve many of Kyiv's inner suburbs. Interchanges between the Kyiv Metro and Fast Tram exist at many of the urban train's station stops.
Suburban 'Elektrichka' trains are serviced by the publicly owned Ukrainian Railways. The suburban train service is fast, and unbeatably safe in terms of traffic accidents. But the trains are not reliable, as they may fall significantly behind schedule, may not be safe in terms of crime, and the elektrichka cars are poorly maintained and are overcrowded in rush hours.
There are 5 elektrichka directions from Kyiv:
More than a dozen of elektrichka stops are located within the city allowing residents of different neighborhoods to use the suburban trains.
Kyiv is twinned with: