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''See also: Kyiv region

Kiev, officially Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київ, Russian: Киев, Polish: Kijów) is the capital and largest city of Ukraine, and has officially around 2.6 million inhabitants, although the large number of unregistered domestic immigrants would probably raise this figure to about 4 million.

Kiev is located in north central Ukraine. Its geographical coordinates are 50° 25' north latitude, 133° 43' east longitude. The Dnipro (formerly Dnieper) river flows south through the city towards the Black Sea; on the west is the 'old city' of Pechersk, built on the hills overlooking the right bank, where the famous Lavra monastery is located. Also on the west are the city center, government buildings, embassies, theatres, and most local industrial complexes. On the east side of the river lie several residential regions, and the nearby Boryspil international airport.

The city has a three line metro system (total length 54.8 km), and extensive bus, tram, and trolleybus routes. On the week-ends, the streets of Kreshchatyk (the center of the city) are closed to vehicular traffic, in favor of pedestrians. Visitors to Kiev in May can catch the spring-time festival [1].

Table of contents
1 History
2 Naming dispute
3 External Link


Kiev was probably founded in the 5th century CE and functioned as a trade post between Constantinople and Scandinavia. The Gothic historian Jordanes recorded the trading town of Danapirstadir. As the region came under Slav rule the town became known as Kyiv (legend speaks of a founder-figure named Kyi).

From 882 until 1169 Kiev was the capital of the principal Varangian/East-Slavic state, known as Kievan Rus' (or Kyivan Rus'). Devastated by the invading Mongols in 1240, it subsequently passed under the rule of the state of Halych-Volynia [before 1264] and then Lithuania (1362), Poland (1569), a short-lived Ukrainian Cossack state (1648), and Russia (1654-1667).

On September 19, 1941 during World War II as part of Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany occupied Kiev, destroying a huge Red Army division in the area and taking more than 650,000 prisoners. On September 29 and 30 at Babi Yar, near Kiev, SS Einsatzgruppen carried out the mass murder of 33,771 Jews. The city remained in German hands until it was retaken by the Soviet Red Army on November 6, 1943. For its heroism during the War, the city was later awarded the title Hero City.

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

The church of Hagia Sophia in Kiev, begun in 1037, was designed to emulate the splendor of Byzantine churches, reflecting the reception of Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. Though it is dedicated to "Holy Wisdom", as was the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the building has a very different form - rather than a single hemispherical dome rising out of the block of the building, Hagia Sophia in Kiev has 13 onion-shaped domes carried on drums. The central dome is larger than the rest (and in the most recent renovations, gilded), but not significantly so.

Naming dispute

The city has been called Kiev in English since at least the 19th century, if not earlier. The earliest quotation in the Oxford English Dictionary containing "Kiev" is 1883. In 1995, the Ukrainian government made a declaration concerning the name of the city, favoring the use of Kyiv over Kiev, saying in part:

  1. To acknowledge that the Roman spelling of Kiev does not recreate the phonetic and scriptural features of the Ukrainian language geographical name.
  2. To confirm that spelling of Kyiv as standardized Roman-letter correspondence to the Ukrainian language geographical name of Київ.
  3. On the basis of point 7 of the Provision on the Ukrainian Commission for Legal Terminology, determine as mandatory the standardized Roman-letter spelling of Kyiv for use in legislative and official acts.

This act has legal jurisdiction only over Ukrainian government spelling of the city's name. Many people have followed suit and use the spelling Kyiv in all Latin alphabet publications. Some English-language publications are increasingly using the new spelling Kyiv, as well as political entities, such as the British and Australian embassies. Nevertheless, the spelling Kiev remains the most widespread spelling in English, by a substantial margin, and some writers of English don't accept the authority of the Ukrainian government to dictate how they should spell the names of cities in English, pointing to the fact that many cities are spelled differently in the local language, such as the major cities of Italy, yet retain their different spellings in English. Nationalists find the spelling Kiev offensive, because they believe it reflects the spelling used by the former colonial masters of Ukraine, the Russians. The city's name is spelled Ки́ев in Russian and pronounced KEE-if. However, Kiev spelling was used in English before Polish-influenced reforms in Ukrainian orthography and vocabulary, and reflects Old Russian (the language of ancestors of modern Ukrainians and Russians) spelling of the city name.

External Link