.  
Dates of visit:
April 29, 2007 &
May 8, 2007

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Revisit friends
 Village Zymna Voda
 L'viv
 Arsenal Museum
 Capital of Kyiv
 Kyiv Churches
 Kyiv Soviet Past
 Walking Kyiv
 Ethnic Dining
 Museums
 

[ Home ] [ Travel Page ]
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Romania
Poland
*** Kyiv (Capital of Ukraine), part 1 ***
*** Complete History ***
*** Khreschatyk Street (Main Street) ***
*** Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) ***
*** Golden Gates ***
*** St Sophia's Cathedral ***
*** St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral ***
*** St. Andrews Church ***
Posted: January 2, 2010
Ukraine's capital has rich, beautiful, sad stories for those who stop to listen Perhaps the only thing I haven't encountered in Kiev is a dull day. It is an unsung capital full of surprises. Read this December 2009 article written by an American resident.
THE BELLS OF KIEV
        Map of Ukraine
        Travel Route
        Complete History of Kyiv
        Khreschatyk Street (Main Street)
               Site Gallery - Khreschatyk Street (Main Street)
        Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)
               Site Gallery - Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)
        Golden Gates
               Site Gallery - Golden Gates
        St. Sophia’s Cathedral
               Site Gallery - St. Sophia’s Cathedral
        St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral
               Site Gallery - St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral
        St. Andrews Church
               Site Gallery - St. Andrews Church
Complete History of Kyiv

kyiv-vs-kiev.jpg - 16001 Bytes Location of Kyiv

Kyiv vs. Kiev ... no, this is not a fixture in the Ukrainian football league. These are the Ukrainian and Russian spellings, respectively, of the city which we are visiting. Most Westerners will be used to the Russian version, but for rather obvious reasons 'Kyiv' is generally preferred in Ukraine.

Kyiv ... what's in a name? The story behind the name “Kyiv” goes back hundreds of years to the mythical foundation of the city. According to legend, the city was founded in the 5th century by three brothers, and a sister, the oldest brother being named Prince Kyi.

They supposedly sailed down the Dnipro River and established a settlement at the top of four hills on the grounds of what is today known as Schekavitsa and Khorivitsa. One can overlook this area if you go right after ascending Andrew’s Descent. You may also visit likenesses of the four siblings in one of two areas, either on the bank of the Dnipro River near Paton Bridge, or at the fountain in Maidan Nezaleznosti. The monument on the Dnipro River has been one of many popular visiting sites for new couples, in keeping with the tradition of laying flowers on monuments and taking pictures on their wedding day. The newer monument in the centre is decidedly less Soviet-looking than the one by the river, the characters even looking a bit Nordic by their costume.

The other legend says that St. Andrew came to the hills overlooking the Dnipro River on his way to Rome. According to this legend he blessed this place and predicted a grand future for this up and coming town.

Above image and text source:
http://www.inyourpocket.com/feature/70056-Kyiv_vs._Kiev.html

Early Times to Mongol Invasion (1240) ... Kiev was probably founded in the 5th century by East Slavs. Kyiv/Kiev is translated as "belonging to Kyi". At least during the 8th and 9th centuries Kiev functioned as an outpost of the Khazar Empire. A hill-fortress, called Sambat (Old Turkish for "High Place") was built to defend the area. At some point during the late ninth or early tenth century Kiev fell under the rule of Varangians and became the nucleus of the Rus' polity. The date given for Oleg's conquest of the town in the Primary Chronicle is 882.

From Oleg's seizure of the city until 1169 Kiev was the capital of the principal East-Slavic state, known as Kievan Rus' (or Kyivan Rus') which was ruled by initially Varangian Rurikid dynasty which was gradually Slavisized. In 968 the city withstood a siege by the nomadic Pechenegs. In 988 by the order of the Grand Prince Vladimir I of Kiev (St. Vladimir or Volodymyr), the city residents baptized en-masse in the Dnieper river, an event the symbolized the Baptism of Kievan Rus'. Kiev reached the height of its position of political and cultural Golden Age in the middle of the 11th century under Vladimir's son Yaroslav the Wise.

Mongol Invasion to 17th century ... Devastated by the invading Mongols in 1240, it subsequently passed under the rule of the state of Halych-Volynia (prior to 1264) before falling to Gediminas (Gedimin) in 1321, and in 1362 became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. By the order of Casimir Jagiellon, the Duchy of Kiev was abolished and the Kiev Voivodship was established in 1471. After the 1569 Union of Lublin that formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Kiev (Polsh Kijów) with other Ukrainian territories was transferred to the Polish crown was it became a capital of Kijów Voivodship.

The 1667 Treaty of Andrusovo put Kiev under the control of Russia for the centuries to come with the territory, slowly losing the autonomy which was finally abolished in 1775 by the Empress Catherine the Great.

19th century to 1917 Revolution ... From the late 18th century until the late 19th century, city life was dominated by Russian military and ecclesiastical concerns. Following the gradual loss of Ukraine's autonomy, Kiev 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 city was dominated by Russian-speaking population, while the lower classes retained Ukrainian folk culture to a significant extent.

During the Russian industrial revolution in the late 19th century, Kiev became an important trade and transportation center of the Russian Empire, specializing in sugar and grain export by railroad and on the Dnieper River. As of 1900, the city also became a significant industrial center, having a population of 250,000. The first electric train tram line of the Russian Empire was established in Kiev (arguably, the first in the world).

Ukrainian Revolution and Independence ... In 1917 the Central Rada (Tsentralna Rada), a Ukrainian self-government body headed by the famous historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky, was established in the city. Later that year, Ukrainian autonomy was declared. On November 7, 1917 it was transformed into an independent Ukrainian People's Republic with the capital in Kiev. Later Kiev became a war zone in the lasting and bloody struggle between Ukrainian, Polish and Russian Bolshevik governments in the time of Russian Revolution, Polish-Ukrainian War and Polish-Soviet War.

1918-1941 ... The Bolsheviks took control of Kiev in 1918 and then finally in 1920. After the Ukrainian SSR was formed in 1922, Kharkiv was declared its capital. Kiev, being an important industrial center, continued to grow. In 1932-33, the city population, as most of the other Ukrainian territories, suffered from Holodomor. In Kiev, bread and other food products were distributed to workers by food cards according to daily norm, but even with cards, bread was in limited supply, and citizens were standing overnight in lines to obtain it.

In 1934 the capital of Ukrainian SSR was moved to Kiev, opening a new page in Kiev history. At that time, the process of destruction of churches and monuments, which started in 1920s, reached the most dramatic turn. Many hundreds year old churches, and structures, such as St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral, Fountain of Samson, were demolished. The other, such as Saint Sophia Cathedral was confiscated. City population continued to increase mostly by migrants. The migration changed the ethnic demographics of the city from the previous Russian-Ukrainian parity to predominantly Ukrainian, although Russian remained the dominant language.

In the 1930s, Kievans also suffered from the controversial Soviet political policy of that time. While encouraging lower-class Ukrainians to pursue careers and develop their culture, the Communist regime soon began harsh oppression of political freedom, Ukraine's autonomy and religion. Recurring political trials were organized in the city to purge "Ukrainian nationalists", "Western spies" and opponents of Joseph Stalin inside the Bolshevik party. As numerous historic churches were destroyed or vandalized, the clergy repressed.

In the late 1930s, clandestine mass executions began in Kiev. Thousands of Kievites (mostly intellectuals and party activists) were arrested in the night, hurriedly court-martialed, shot and buried in mass graves. The main execution sites were Babi Yar and the Bykivnia forest. Tens of thousands were sentenced to GULAG camps. In the same time, the city's economy continued to grow, following Stalin's industrialization policy.

World War II ... during the Second World War, Nazi Germany occupied Kiev on 19 September 1941. Overall, the battle proved disastrous for the Soviet side but it significantly delayed the German advances. The delay also allowed the evacuation of all significant industrial enterprises from Kiev to the central and eastern parts of the Soviet Union, away from the hostilities, where they played a major role in arming the Nazi fighting Red Army. Before the evacuation, the Red Army planted more than ten thousand mines throughout Kiev, controlled by wireless detonators. On September 24, when the German invaders had settled into the city, the mines were detonated, causing many of the major buildings to collapse, and setting the city ablaze for five days. More than a thousand Germans were killed in what was "the biggest and most sophisticated booby trap in history."

Babi Yar, a location in Kiev, became a site of one of the most infamous Nazi WWII war crimes. During two days in September 1941, at least 33,771 Jews from Kiev and its suburbs were massacred at Babi Yar by the SS Einsatzgruppen. The city was liberated by the Soviet Army advancing westward on 6 November 1943. For its role during the War, the city was later awarded the title Hero City.

Post-WWII Ukrainian SSR ... Post-wartime in Kiev was a period of rapid socio-economic growth and political pacification. The arms race of the Cold War caused the establishment of a powerful technological complex in the city, specializing in aerospace, microelectronics and precision optics. Kiev also became an important military center of the Soviet Union. More than a dozen military schools and academies were established here, also specializing in high-tech warfare.

The city grew tremendously in the 1950s through '80s. Some significant urban achievements of this period include establishment of the Metro, building new river bridges (connecting the old city with Left Bank suburbs), and Boryspil Airport (the city's second, and later international).

In cultural sense it marked a new wave of Russification in the 1970s, when universities and research facilities were gradually and secretly discouraged from using Ukrainian. Switching to Russian, as well as choosing to send children to Russian schools was expedient for educational and career advancement. Thus the city underwent another cycle of gradual Russification.

Every attempt to dispute Soviet rule was harshly oppressed, especially concerning democracy, Ukrainian SSR's self-government, and ethnic-religious problems. Campaigns against "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism" and "Western influence" in Kiev's educational and scientific institutions were mounted repeatedly. In the 1970s and later 1980s–'90s, given special permission from Soviet government, a significant part of the city's Jews migrated to Israel and the West.

The Chernobyl accident of 1986 affected city life tremendously, both environmentally and socio-politically. Some areas of the city have been polluted by radioactive dust. However, Kievans were neither informed about the actual threat of the accident, nor recognized as its victims. Moreover, on May 1, 1986 (a few days after the accident), local CPSU leaders ordered Kievans (including hundreds of children) to take part in a mass civil parade in the city's center—"to prevent panic". Later, thousands of refugees from accident zone were resettled in Kiev.

Independent Ukraine ... after 57 years as the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, Kiev became the capital of independent Ukraine in 1991.

Above text source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Kiev

Khreschatyk Street (Main Street)

Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk ... from its northern end of European Square to Bessarabs’ka Square and its southern terminus, Kyiv’s most central, most famous and best people-watching street is not even 2km long. Despite what has been called the most impressive unbroken string of Stalinist architecture anywhere, Khreschatyk’s gently curving design and wide chestnut-lined sidewalks make it a lovely place for a relaxing stroll. The trees also provide welcome shade during hot summer months, although on weekends and holidays when the street becomes a pedestrian area many prefer to frolic in the street among street performers.

It’s hard to believe that this area was once a valley surrounded by a dense forest. The valley’s name was ‘Khreschata’, meaning ‘crossed’, because of the many ravines that crossed it. Malls already exist at Bessarabska and metros Khreschatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti, and another is definitely in the works for European Square as well. As for above-ground shopping, TsUM - the central department store - is actually becoming rather modern and has little to show of its Soviet past. Perhaps in an act of poetic justice the whole street will collapse under this retail strain and again revert to a valley. In the old days the royalty of Kyiv liked to hunt here - but for the foreseeable future the only hunting done on Khreschatyk will be for souvenirs, clothes and pretty Ukrainian women.

Site Gallery - Khreschatyk Street (Main Street)
 
Along Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street
Nightime on Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street
Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street Khreschatyk Street
Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)

Square Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) ... Kyiv’s central square has undergone major changes in recent years, both above ground and below. And then the square is referred to as a big greenhouse, that's not a botanical compliment but rather an indictment of the Globus Shopping Centre’s glassy domes.

At least it’s no longer October Revolution Square with a big Lenin statue as it was in Soviet times.

SquareNow Maidan is well-famous for the events of the Orange Revolution. Downtown Kyiv was in the headlines all over the world. When you walk on Maidan and on Khrechatyk, just imagine the whole square and surrounding streets filled with people and tents decorated in orange color.

Site Gallery - Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)
 
Square Square Square
Square Square Square
Square Square Square
Square Square Square
Golden Gates

Golden Gates Golden Gates ... One of the few surviving monuments of Kyiv’s ancient past, the Golden Gate was erected in 1017 and is located in the Upper Town, also known as Old Kyiv.

Unfortunately this remarkable fortification built during the reign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who added a small chapel (the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) at the top of the structure and whose monument appears on the western side of the gate, is closed for repairs (2007).

Site Gallery - Golden Gates
 
The Fortification
Golden Gates Golden Gates Golden Gates
Golden Gates Golden Gates Golden Gates
Prince Yaroslav the Wise
Yaroslav Yaroslav Yaroslav
St. Sophia’s Cathedral

Sophia Cathedral Sophia's Cathedral ... Kyiv’s oldest church was built in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who incidentally was laid to rest inside, to commemorate the site of the victory of Kyivan Rus over the Pechenegs (Asian nomadic tribes) and glorify Christianity.

It was named after the famous St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Constantinople, and ‘Sofia’ also means ‘wisdom’ in Greek. This majestic 13-cupola sanctuary adjoined Yaroslav’s Palace and became a holy place of worship for Kyivites as well as a political and cultural centre. With its interior of rich frescoes and mosaics, many of which are still intact almost a millennium later, St. Sophia’s made a huge impression on the ordinary worshippers of Kyiv.

Meetings with foreign diplomats and treaty negotiations were held here, and the church housed the first library and school in Kyivan Rus.

The azure and white bell tower is 76m high and was finished in 1752, while the upper Ukrainian Baroque part and gilded cupola were added in 1852. Today the entire cathedral complex is protected by Ukraine as a national reserve and also receives support from UNESCO.

The 18th-century refectory is now a museum and contains archaeological artifacts and architectural displays, such as model panoramas depicting Kyiv as it looked before being razed by Mongol invaders in 1240.

Site Gallery - St. Sophia’s Cathedral
 
The Cathedral
Sophia Cathedral Sophia Cathedral Sophia Cathedral
Sophia Cathedral Sophia Cathedral Sophia Cathedral
Sophia Cathedral Sophia Cathedral Sophia Cathedral
The Belfry and Views From
Belfry Belfry Belfry
Belfry Belfry Belfry
Belfry Belfry Belfry
Belfry Belfry Belfry
In Front - Cossack Bohdan Khmelnyts’kyi
Cossack Cossack Cossack
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral ... … originally built by Prince Sviatopolk in 1108, this cathedral was destroyed by the Soviet regime in the mid-1930s in keeping with their anti-religion program. Its reconstruction was championed by ambitious Kyiv mayor Oleksander Omelchenko and completed in May 2000.

St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral The sky blue exterior and glittering golden domes are certainly stunning, even though up close it all seems a bit too new and shiny for this ancient city.

Site Gallery - St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral
 
At The Entrance
Entrance Entrance Entrance
Complex Courtyard
Courtyard Courtyard Courtyard
The Church
The Church The Church The Church
The Church The Church The Church
The Church The Church The Church
Church Garden
Church Garden Church Garden Church Garden
Church Garden Church Garden Church Garden
St. Andrews Church

St. Andrew St. Andrews Church ... famous Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli was the mastermind behind this attractive Baroque church that greets the throngs at the top of Andriivs’kyi uzviz.

Built in 1754, it’s one of the rare buildings in Kyiv that has managed to avoid serious damage or reconstruction. The elegant silhouette of its one large dome and five lesser cupolas are easily visible from Podil and beyond.

Apostle Andrew, who was the first Christian to preach the gospel in Kyivan Rus, was said to have erected a cross on this very site. It was the wish of Peter the Great’s religiously-minded daughter Elizabeth after her visit to Kyiv in 1744 that this church be built. It must be said that compared to the beautiful exterior, the interior is rather disappointing - too much loud red and gold colors and really not much to see.

Site Gallery - St. Andrews Church
 
St. Andrews St. Andrews St. Andrews
St. Andrews St. Andrews St. Andrews
[ Home ] [ Travel Page ]