History of Kiev

Kiev information for foreigners

ukraine-kievKiev is one of the largest cities in Europe. The capital of Ukraine, Kiev is situated in the north central part of Ukraine. It is located on the majestic Dnieper River. Kiev is a notable scientific, educational, cultural and industrial centre of Eastern Europe. You can find plenty of higher education institutions, high-tech industries and famous historical landmarks in Kiev. The extensive infrastructure and public transport such as Kiev Metro also makes it a wonderful city.

There is a fascinating history associated with the city of Kiev. It is a very old city of Eastern Europe. It has played a major role in the development of East Slavic Civilization in the Medieval Age and also in the development of the modern Ukrainian nation. People believe that this old city was founded during the late 9th century. There are several legends associated with the origin of Kiev.

Ukraine map

There is a story that a family consisting of Kyiv, Slavic Tribe Leader was the eldest brother. He, along with his younger brothers, Khoryv and Shchek and sister, Lybid founded the city of Kiev. According to this legend, the name of the city Kiev originates from Kyi, its founder. The name “Kiev” implies “belong to Kyi”. According to another legend, Saint Andrew had once passed through the city. He built a cross in a certain place where a church was erected. Also, the image of the great Saint Michael characterized the city since the middle Ages. These are the three legends that are associated with the city of Kiev.

There is very less historical evidence during the period when the old city was founded. Researchers have found that Slavic settlements existed in the area in a very scattered way during the 6th century. In the 8th century, many fortifications were built in a Slavic settlement that was left abandoned for a few decades. Researchers are still clueless whether the fortifications were built by the Khazars or the Slavs. Some people say that the Slavic people residing in the area since 6th century must have built the fortifications whereas some others argue that the city was founded under the rule of the Khazars.

There is a primary source of information about the history of Kiev known as Primary Chronicle. According to it, Slavic Kievans told that although they paid some amount of tribute to the Khazars, they actually lived without any local ruler. This is during the 9th century, when Sambat, a hill fortress was built to defend the large area. During the early 10th century, the city was under the rule of Varangians. Kiev became the nucleus of Rus polity.

During 1000 AD, Kiev had a population of about 45000 people. In 1169, Andrey Bogolyubsky plundered Kiev taking away the Mother of God icon. During 1203, the city was burned ruthlessly after it was captured by Prince Rurik Rostislavich. In 1240, the city was completely destroyed by Batu Khan, who led the Mongol invasion. During the period of Mongol destruction, Kiev was known was the world’s largest city.

From 1667, Kiev became a part of Russia and enjoyed some degree of autonomy. It was like the main Christian Centre of the Russian Empire, which attracted several pilgrims. The commercial importance of the city was marginal till the 19th century.

The Saint Vladimir University was successfully established in 1834. During the 18th and 19th century, the city of Kiev was dominated by several Russian Military and other authorities. At the beginning of the 20th century, Kiev was dominated by people who spoke Russian. The lower classes lived on the outskirts of the city.

During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the city prospered and became an important city of the Russian Empire. The city became the capital of Ukraine in 1934. During the World War 2, the city suffered some amount of damage as it was occupied by Nazi Germany.

kyiv direction

It recovered economically in the years post war. It again regained its title of one of the largest cities in the world. This is the history of one of the oldest cities of the world. Despite several pitfalls and adversities, this city has always stood back on its feet again and again.

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