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About Kiev

About Kiev

According to some ancient chronicles, Kiev is about 2000. The spirit of an antiquity remained till this day, — just look at a castle bearing founders of Kiev along the coast of Dnieper. The legend narrates about three brothers, Kii, Shchek and Horiv who came here with their sister Lybid before the V century. The big brother gave to the city his name, names of younger brothers got mountainous heights in the historical center of Kiev, the name of the beautiful sister was inherited the graceful rivulet once flowing through some parts of the city.

By the X-th century the city became a big European center, that was contributed by active trade up and downstream mighty Dnieper, the third biggest river of Europe. The governor of Kiev, Vladimir Veliky, made the union with the Byzantine Empire which became fatal for the country, and especially for the city of Kiev. To fasten this union, prince Vladimir accepted a christening on an orthodox ceremony in 988. All the rest became a consequence of this important step. The bronze monument to Saint Vladimir now stands in the dense park on a river slope, eternally beholding movement of mighty Dnieper.

The Cathedral of Saint Sofia, one of several similar cathedrals in Eastern Europe, constructed in honor of Great Sofia in Constantinople (Istanbul) became the most important historical symbol of acceptance of Christianity. Centuries have passed, the city with its churches climbed up on Dnieper hills, but even Tatar and Mongol conquerors couldn’t destroy greatness of Kiev. There was a time when the domes of about 200 churches and cathedrals shone on the sun, after words the name «The City of gold domes» was assigned to Kiev.

But also other governors of Kiev made the brilliant contribution to history. Yaroslav the Wise arranged matrimonial marriages of the majority of his 12 children with leading royal yards of Europe, for that he received a nickname «the European father-in-law «. Anna, Yaroslav ‘s daughter married to king Henry I and struck the French yard with her intelligence and literacy. Vladimir Monomakh became one more prince who has brought to Kiev glory.

In 1982, when officially recognized anniversary of the city was celebrated (1500 from the date of the basis), many historical buildings were restored, ancient pavements were newly laid out by a stone blocks, and ruins of known Golden Gate (1037) were covered with imitation of ancient wooden constructions. And on the square in front of the bell tower of the Sofia cathedral the monument to Bogdan Khmelnytsky rises; it stands on a horse, invitingly showing forward with his mace .

About 70 churches, cathedrals and monasteries, including nowadays restored Mikhaylov Golden-domed cathedral, were destroyed in Kiev in the 30th years of the last century, but the Sofia cathedral survived. Today many of earlier destroyed churches are restored – their bells are again audible, and gold poppy-heads glow on the bright midday sun.

The French general Charles de Gaulle (the person who hasn’t been noticed earlier in tendency to a poeticizing or romanticism) told after visit to Kiev: «I saw many parks in the cities; but I never saw the cities in the parks». Kiev is a city for walks. If you begin the walk on the Podol, from River port your way will lie through the chain of parks on Dnieper slopes, to the philharmonic hall and Arch of Friendship, through Parkovaya Avenue, by Dynamo stadium, by buildings of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), the Mariinsky palace, historical Askold Grave, Glory Park, and then – through Spivoche (Singing) Field (where the biggest folk festival of Ukraine «Kraina mrii» («The dream country») is held, and further – directly to the Vydubichy monastery and the New Botanical garden. Your way will lie thus through the most picturesque Kiev parks, and very often along the Dnieper Current.

The golden domes of churches are looking through green trees, the areas are crowded with people and streets overfilled with steams of cars … And more – there is a lot of sun if you visit Kiev from March to October. The architecture of baroque, the building in style of the Renaissance, eclectic facades of houses, Ar Nouveau, Art Deco … even some skyscrapers rising over the city can’t throw down a challenge to history, to spirit and to essence of Kiev.

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