Europe / Ukraine

Kiev

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine with population of about 3 million citizens. It is situated on the Dnepr River and boasts architectural monuments that are recognized world treasures. Kiev is the largest cultural, scientific and industrial center of Ukraine, the place of religious pilgrimage and a very attractive tourist destination.

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. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press.

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 probably existed as a commercial centre as early as the 5th century. A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kiev was a tributary of the Khazars, until seized by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid-9th century. Under Varangians rule, the city became a capital of the Rus', the first 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 neighbours; first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by Poland and Russia.

The city prospered again during the Russian Empire's industrial revolution in the late 19th century. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kiev became its capital. And from 1921 onwards Kiev was an important city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and, from 1934, its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but quickly recovered in the post-war years, remaining the third largest city of the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian independence of 1991, Kiev remained the capital of Ukraine.

Geographically, Kiev belongs to the Polesia ecological zone (a part of the European mixed woods). However, the city's unique landscape distinguishes it from the surrounding region.

Kiev is located on both sides of the Dnieper River, which flows south through the city towards the Black Sea. The older right-bank (western) part of the city is represented by numerous woody hills, ravines and small rivers. It is a part of the larger Dnieper Upland adjoining the western bank of the Dnieper in its mid-flow. Kiev expanded to the Dnieper's lowland left bank (to the east) only in the 20th century. Significant areas of the left-bank Dnieper valley were artificially sand-deposited, and are protected by dams.

The Dnieper River forms a branching system of tributaries, isles, and harbors within the city limits. The city is adjoined by the mouth of the Desna River and the Kiev Reservoir in the north, and the Kaniv Reservoir in the south. Both the Dnieper and Desna rivers are navigable at Kiev, although regulated by the reservoir shipping locks and limited by winter freeze-over.

In total, there are 448 bodies of open water within boundaries of Kiev, which include Dnieper itself, its reservoirs, and several small rivers, dozens of lakes and artificially created ponds. They occupy 7949 hectares of territory. Additionally, the city boasts of 16 developed beaches (totalling 140 hectares) and 35 near-water recreational areas (covering more than 1000 hectares). Many are used for pleasure and recreation, although some of the bodies of water are not suitable for swimming.

Kiev has a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfb)[citation needed]. The warmest months are June, July, and August, with mean temperatures of 13.8 to 24.8 °C (57 to 77 °F). The coldest are December, January, and February, with mean temperatures of -4.6 to -1.1 °C (24 to 30 °F). The highest ever temperature recorded in the city was 39.4 °C (102.9 °F) on 31 July 1936. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the city was -32.2 °C (-26.0 °F) on 7 & 9 February 1929. 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 recent years.

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