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Kiev

History
The history of Kyiv runs to at least 1200 years. According to the chronicles, Kyiv was founded by three brothers: Kiy, Shchek, and Khoriv, and their sister Lybid and was named in the honor of Kiy — the senior brother. The exact date of the city foundation has not been clarified yet, but in 882 Kyiv became the capital of the Old Russian state and in the X–XII centuries reached its fullest flower as the center of Rus. As a result of the Mongol invasion of 1240 it was ruined and fell into decay. In the following centuries Kyiv was the administrative units’ center as a part of the Great Lithuanian Princedom, Rzeczpospolita (the Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth), and the Russian State, which was later transformed into the Russian Empire. Starting from 1922 it was a part of the Soviet Union. In 1934 it became the capital of the Soviet Ukraine, while in 1991 it turned into the major city of independent Ukraine.
How to get to the city
Two metropolitan airports can easily handle even with greater passenger traffic, and the successful hosting of EURO-2012 Football Championship is the clear evidence of that. «Boryspil» International Airport is located to the Southeast from Kyiv in the city if Boryspil (Kyiv region); therefore, you will need about an hour to get to the Kyiv downtown. «Kyiv» International Airport is located within the precincts of the city, and it will take you just 40 minutes to get to Khreshchatyk. You can find detailed information on «Boryspil» Airport flights at the following website kbp.aero; while «Kyiv» Airport has its schedule at www.airport.kiev.ua.

Sight-seeing in Kyiv

Mariinsky Palace

Mariinsky Palace was built in 1750–1755 under the design of the major courtier architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the author of the Winter Palace in Saint-Petersburg. In 1870, the wooden second floor of the Palace, destroyed by the fire, was replaced by the stone one. After the revolution of 1917, when communists came to power in the country, the Palace hosted first the revolutionary committee and the council of deputies, then the regional army headquarters, the agricultural museum, and Shevchenko Museum. During the World War II a bomb fell on the Palace, destroying the central part of the building, but after the war it was rebuilt. After the declaration of the Ukrainian independence the Mariinsky Palace became the official residence of the President. The second (minor residence) is located nearby at the famous masterpiece of architect Gorodetsky — the «House with Chimaeras».

Opera Theater
The architectural pearl of Kyiv — National Opera of Ukraine after Taras Shevchenko — is located at the historical center of the city, at the intersection of two populous thoroughfares — Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Vladimirskaya Streets. The building of the Kyiv Opera was erected in 1901 by the St. Petersburg Professor of Architecture Victor Shreter. Although during the World War II an aviation bomb fell on the Theater, its reconstruction was commenced in 1983 and completed in 1988. Tourists can both enjoy the exterior of the building and attend performances, staged by the National Opera troupe.
Golden Gate
The Golden Gate was built in 1037 during the reign of the Grand Prince of Kyiv Yaroslav the Wise as a defensive installation — at that time it was the main entrance to the city. The monument was also used as the triumphal entrance — this was the place where notable guests and foreign ambassadors were welcomed. In the 17th century the Golden Gate was in a dilapidated state. In the 19th century it was reconstructed, but the masonry continued coming to ruin. That is why in 1982 a pavilion was erected over the ancient masonry, protecting it from destruction and recreating the initial appearance of the monument.
St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral

The ceremonial laying of this Roman Catholic Cathedral took place in August 1899 after the group of Catholics addressed the Kyiv Governor with a petition to authorize the construction of a Roman Catholic cathedral «in commemoration of stay of His Imperial Majesty Nikolay II in Kyiv». They needed 10 years to erect the temple, using donations and voluntary contributions of private individuals. Its construction required the total of 500 thousand rubles. Student Stanislav Volovsky was chosen as the architect, while the well-known Kyiv architect Vladislav Gorodetsky was entrusted with the general construction management and completion. During the Soviet times, when religion was considered as the «opium for people», the temple was closed for public worship, and after the World War II the State Regional Archival Depository was arranged there. And only in 1980, the year of the Olympic Games, the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral was restored and opened for public as the national House of Organ and Chamber Music of Ukraine.

 
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral

In 1108 the sons of the Kyiv Prince Izyaslav Yaroslavich founded the St. Michael’s Monastery in Kyiv, and in the same year, in commemoration of the Russian victory over Polovtsi, construction of the major cathedral of the cloister was commenced. In 1240 it was plundered and heavily damaged by hordes of Batu Khan. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Cathedral was repeatedly reconstructed — the number of domes was increased and the walls were fortified. In 1922 the monastery was closed and in 1934-35 the Cathedral was ruined after the resolution of the communist party. The unique Cathedral mosaic was removed and taken away to the museums of Moscow and St. Petersburg. A decision on the restoration of the Cathedral was made in January 1996. The exterior appearance of the Cathedral, rebuilt in the XVIII century under the Ukrainian baroque style, was recreated. The frescos were returned to Ukraine.

Khreshchatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)
The history of Khreshchatyk was started in the 18th century, when the valley of the Khreshchatyy Yar River was built up. This was the place where manors of wealthy aristocrats and administrative buildings of the Kyiv Governor-general. By 1914 Khreshchatyk was completely built up — these were mainly three-story houses with stores, restaurants, hotels, banks, and bureaus. All commercial, business, and administrative activities of the city started to move to this area from Podol. During the World War II Khreshchatyk was almost completely destroyed; in 1948 the plan for Khreshchatyk restoration was approved, creating the modern face of the city.
Maidan Nezalezhnosti, like the whole Khreshchatyk, represented forest thicket until the end of the 10th century. After that time the Lyadski Gate was arranged here, leading to the upper city and being a part of the wall, surrounding ancient Kyiv. The construction here was commenced in the middle of the 19th century. At first the square got the name «Khreshchatytska» and was used as the market place and place for circus performances. In 1876 the building of the municipal Duma (Council) was erected here, and the square was given a new name — «Dumskaya». During the World War II time the square was ruined, so a new architectural ensemble was built afterwards. In 1976-1981 the square was reconstructed, presenting the revolution memorial with Lenin monument at the center. The area got the name of the Great October Socialist Revolution. When Ukraine became independent in 1991 the square was given a new name once again — Maidan Nezalezhnosti. In 2001 another reconstruction was carried out and Lenin monument was removed, and the new independence memorial was installed in its place, representing a young lady in the national clothes, standing on a high column and holding an arrow-wood branch in her hands.
Andriyivskyy Descent
Andriyivskyy Descent was named after the Saint Andrew (also known as the «First-called»). The legend says that there was a sea at the current location of the Dnipro River, but when Saint Andrew put a cross at the peak of the hill, the water went off. Now this is the place where the Saint Andrew’s Cathedral is, representing the major embellishment of the street. In the Kyiv Rus times Andriyivskyy Descent was the shortest way from the Upper City (with the Golden Gate and St. Sophia of Kyiv) to the lower city with Podol, where the city port and the craftsmen blocks were located. Major development of the Andriyivskyy Descent was carried out at the turn of the ХХ century. At present Andriyivskyy Descent is called «Kyiv Montmarte», hosting artists, musicians, and painters with their works for sale. There are plenty of picture galleries and art salons along this street. The list of the sights that deserve a visit by tourists includes Museum at the house of Mikhail Bulgakov and the One Street Museum.
You can find more information on the Kyiv sights at the website www.mykiev.info.

 

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