Kiev is Ukraine’s capital and biggest city, situated on the Dnieper River in the country’s north center region. The population was 2,887,974 in July 2015 (though greater estimates have been mentioned in the news), making Kiev the eighth most populated city in Europe.
Kiev is an important Eastern European economic, scientific, educational, and cultural center. It is home to several high-tech enterprises, higher education institutions, and world-renowned historical sites. The city boasts a well-developed infrastructure and public transportation system, including the Kiev Metro.
The name of the city is claimed to be derived from the name of Kyi, one of the city’s four mythical founders. Kiev, one of the oldest towns in Eastern Europe, has experienced periods of tremendous prominence and relative obscurity throughout its history. As early as the fifth century, the city was most likely a commercial center. Kiev was a Slavic hamlet on the main trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople until it was conquered by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid-9th century. The city became the capital of the Kievan Rus’, the first East Slavic kingdom, under Varangian domination. When the city was completely devastated during the Mongol invasion in 1240, it lost much of its power for years to come. It was a minor provincial capital on the fringes of regions ruled by its strong neighbors, first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, then Poland and Russia.
During the Russian Empire’s Industrial Revolution in the late nineteenth century, the city developed once again. Kiev became the capital of the Ukrainian National Republic when it achieved independence from the Russian Empire in 1917. Kiev was an important headquarters of the Armed Forces of South Russia and was controlled by the White Army beginning in 1919. Kiev was a city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was declared by the Red Army in 1921, and its capital since 1934. During World War II, the city suffered major damage again, but swiftly rebounded in the postwar years, remaining the Soviet Union’s third biggest city.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence in 1991, Kiev remained the nation’s capital, with a continuous inflow of ethnic Ukrainians from other parts of the country.
Kiev has been Ukraine’s biggest and wealthiest city during the country’s transition to a market economy and elected democracy. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Kiev’s armament-dependent industrial production collapsed, negatively impacting research and technology. However, new economic sectors such as services and finance have aided Kiev’s wage and investment growth, as well as providing ongoing funds for the construction of housing and urban infrastructure. Kiev emerged as Ukraine’s most pro-Western area, with parties favoring closer union with the European Union dominating elections.
Kiev – Info Card
|POPULATION :||City: 2,900,920 / Metro: 3,375,000|
|FOUNDED :||482 A.D.|
|TIME ZONE :||EET (UTC+2) Summer: EEST (UTC+3)|
|LANGUAGE :||Ukrainian (official) 67%, Russian 24%, other 9%|
|RELIGION :||Ukrainian Orthodox – Kyiv Patriarchate 50.4%, Ukrainian Orthodox – Moscow Patriarchate 26.1%, Ukrainian Greek Catholic 8%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 7.2%, Others 8%|
|AREA :||839 km2 (324 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||938 m (3,077 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||50°27′00″N 30°31′24″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 46.7%|
• Female: 53.3%
|ETHNIC :||Ukrainians 82.2%, Russians 13.1%, Jews 0.7%, Others 4%|
|AREA CODE :||44|
|POSTAL CODE :||01xxx-04xxx|
|DIALING CODE :||+380 44|
Tourism in Kiev
Modern Kiev is a mash-up of old and modern, as seen by the architecture, commerce, and people themselves. When the Ukrainian SSR’s capital was relocated from Kharkiv to Kiev, several new structures were commissioned to give the city “the sheen and polish of a metropolis.”
Other developments have resulted from Ukraine’s independence at the turn of the century. In the heart of the city, new apartment complexes, contemporary nightclubs, fine dining establishments, and prominent hotels have developed.
Ukraine is promoting itself as a top tourism destination, with Kiev, among other major cities, aiming to capitalize on new prospects. The center of Kiev has been cleaned up, and buildings, particularly Khreshchatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti, have been renovated and redecorated. Many ancient sections of Kiev, such as Andriyivskyy Descent, have become famous street vendor places, where traditional Ukrainian art, religious objects, literature, game sets (most notably chess), and jewelry may be purchased.
The St. Sophia Cathedral and the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) are two of Kiev’s most notable medieval building complexes, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
During the summer months, the center of Kiev (Independence Square and Khreschatyk Street) transforms into a vast outdoor party venue, with thousands of people enjoying themselves in neighboring restaurants, clubs, and outdoor cafés. On weekends and holidays, the primary streets are restricted to automobile traffic. Andriyivskyy Descent is a well-known ancient street and a popular tourist destination in Kiev.
Kiev also features a plethora of leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, go-kart tracks, paintball arenas, billiard halls, and even shooting ranges. The 100-year-old Kiev Zoo is set on 40 hectares and is home to “2,600 animals from 328 species,” according to the CBC.
There are almost 40 museums in Kiev.
Climate of Kiev
The climate in Kiev is humid continental.
June, July, and August are the hottest months, with average temperatures ranging from 13.8 to 24.8 °C (56.8 to 76.6 °F).
The coldest months are December, January, and February, with mean temperatures ranging from 4.6 to 1.1 degrees Celsius (23.7 to 30.0 degrees Fahrenheit).
Snow normally falls from mid-November until the end of March, with the frost-free season lasting an average of 180 days.
Geography of Kiev
Kiev is located in the ecological zone of Polesia (a part of the European mixed woods). However, the city’s distinct environment sets it apart from the surrounding area.
Kiev is situated on both banks of the Dnieper River, which runs south through the city and into the Black Sea. The city’s older right-bank (western) section is characterized by several wooded hills, ravines, and tiny rivers.
Within the city borders, the Dnieper River produces a branching system of tributaries, isles, and bays. The city is bordered to the north by the Desna River mouth and the Kiev Reservoir, and to the south by the Kaniv Reservoir. Both the Dnieper and Desna rivers are navigable in Kiev, albeit they are constrained by reservoir shipping locks and winter freeze-over.
Economy of Kiev
Kiev, like other capital cities, serves as the country’s administrative, cultural, and scientific hub. It is Ukraine’s biggest city in terms of both population and size, and it has the greatest levels of commercial activity. On January 1, 2010, around 238,000 business organizations were registered in Kiev.
According to official estimates, Kiev’s economy outgrew the rest of the country’s between 2004 and 2008, rising by an annual average of 11.5 percent. Following the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007, Kiev’s economy experienced a major setback in 2009, with GDP dropping by 13.5 percent in real terms. Despite being a record high, the fall in activity was 1.6 percentage points lower than the national average. Kiev’s economy, like the rest of Ukraine’s, rebounded considerably in 2010 and 2011. Kiev is a middle-income city, with costs that are now equivalent to those of several mid-sized American cities (i.e., considerably lower than Western Europe).
Because the city has a wide economic foundation and is not reliant on a particular sector or firm, its unemployment rate has consistently been low – 3.75 percent from 2005 to 2008. Indeed, even though the unemployment rate increased to 7.1 percent in 2009, it remained much below the national average of 9.6 percent.
Kiev is Ukraine’s indisputable economic and commerce capital, and it is home to the country’s top corporations, including Naftogaz Ukrainy, Energorynok, and Kyivstar. In 2010, the city accounted for 18% of national retail sales and 24% of total building activity. Indeed, real estate is a big economic force in Kiev. Apartment costs are among the highest in the nation and among the highest in Eastern Europe on average. Kiev also ranks high in terms of commercial real estate since it is home to the country’s tallest office buildings (such as Gulliver and Parus) as well as some of Ukraine’s largest retail malls (such as Dream Town and Ocean Plaza).
In May 2011, Kiev officials unveiled a 15-year development plan that seeks for up to EUR82 billion in foreign investment by 2025 to update the city’s transportation and utility infrastructure and make it more appealing to visitors.
Internet, Communication in Kiev
GSM (900/1800) and 3G (CDMA, UMTS) mobile phones are used in Ukraine. Except for areas of the Americas and sections of Asia occupied by the US, this technology is interoperable with mobile phone networks used worldwide.
If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you may purchase a Kyivstar, MTS, or life:)(Astelit) SIM card from a street seller for a few bucks, which will provide you with a local number and free incoming calls. It’s worth noting that most of those cards don’t have any money on them, so you may wish to get a payment card along with your sim card. If you don’t already have an unlocked phone, new ones may be acquired for USD30-40, or even less if you buy a pay-as-you-go sim card at the same time. In Ukraine, incoming calls are free, therefore in an emergency, you can simply SMS/text a request for a return call for a little fee.
If you wish to utilize 3G, you can obtain OGO! (ex-Utel) for UMTS and PeopleNet, CDMAUA, or Intertelecom for CDMA; however, as of mid-2011, the latter three carriers’ websites do not offer an English translation.
SMS texts function nicely while traveling in Kiev. They have been proven to work for the majority of international networks. Please keep in mind that due to the breadth of the nation and the relatively low population densities in rural regions, there may be ‘black-spots’ where mobile phones may not operate. But, of course, they are located outside of major cities/urban regions (and most of the main arterial road and rail routes also have reasonably consistent call signals).
If you attempt to contact the United States from a GSM phone, you may discover that the access numbers for your calling card are restricted. Sign up for a callback service (such as UWT **warning, lead-time required**) before you begin your journey, and they will contact you (at much better rates) when you need to make a call.
If you use your own laptop, the simplest option to keep Internet access is to get a 7-day unlimited Lucky Internet callback card. The street kiosks cost around UAH36. When you call in, you will be blocked from accessing anything until you activate by visiting their website.
You may also get wireless internet connection for your laptop for around 10 UAH per day.
Internet cafés provide excellent service. They generally feature a variety of PCs for sale at differing costs. There is a pretty fine one near the metro station on ul Khmelnytskoho (on the left side at a corner) that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The most affordable laptops meet your basic requirements, while the most costly ones are generally reserved for avid gamers.
In addition, most foreigner-friendly cafés and a large number of fast food outlets (including McDonald’s) have free Wi-Fi. Some access points need a password to be used; ask the waiter for one.