Kyiv or Kiev, city, north central Ukraine, capital of Ukraine on the Dnieper River. The largest city of Ukraine, it is a major industrial, transportation, and cultural center. Among its leading manufactures are machinery, machine tools, chemicals, motor vehicles, processed food, textiles, clothing, forest products, and printed materials. The city also serves as the market for an agricultural region producing grain, fruit, sugar beets, and other commodities.
A beautiful city with many parks and historical structures, Kyiv is built mostly on hills overlooking the Dnieper. The old section of the city, on the right bank of the river, includes hills surmounted by churches and the ruins of ancient castles and fortifications. The newer quarters, on the left bank, were mostly built after World War II ended in 1945. The city is served by a subway system.
Kyiv was one of the foremost religious centers of medieval Europe, and several noteworthy church buildings survive. The most famous of these is the Cathedral of Saint Sophia (also known as the Hagia Sophia of Kyiv; founded early 11th century, largely rebuilt 17th-18th- century); the oldest cathedral in Ukraine, it is noted for its frescoes and mosaics. The large Perchersky, or Cave, Monastery (founded early 11th century), known for its catacombs, is one of the most sacred edifices of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Other striking religious structures in the city include the baroque-style 18th-century Church of Saint Andrew and the late 19th-century Cathedral of Saint Vladimir. Also of interest are the ruins of the 11th-century Golden Gate, once the main entrance to the city. Kyiv is the site of several universities, most notably the University of Kyiv (founded in 1834). The Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and its Central Library, Ukraine’s largest library, are located in Kyiv. Museums in Kyiv include the Historical Museum of Ukraine (1899) and the Museum of Ukrainian Art (1936). Other attractions include a music conservatory, an opera house, and a large sports stadium.
In the 18th century Kyiv was heavily fortified, and in the 19th century it grew as a trade and industrial center. Kyiv was held by German troops during World War I (1914-1918), and it was the scene of much fighting following the Russian Revolution of 1917. In 1934 the city replaced Kharkiv as the capital of Ukraine, which was then part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). During World War II Kyiv was occupied by German Nazi forces from 1941 to 1943 and suffered great damage; as many as 200,000 of its inhabitants were killed. After the war the city was reconstructed and resumed its place as one of the chief Soviet economic and cultural centers. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Kyiv became the capital of independent Ukraine. Population (1999 estimate) 2,589,541.
Today, Kiev is a modern city with over 2.5 million inhabitants. Like many other large cities of the former Soviet Union it is a mix of the old and the new, seen in everything from the buildings to the stores to the people themselves. Experiencing a fast growth rate during the 80s and the early to mid-90s Kiev has continued its consistent growth after five years of restructuring.
With Ukrainian independence on the turn of the millennium, new changes came. Western-style novostroikas, hip nightclubs, classy restaurants and prestigious hotels opened in the center. There are many new buildings especially in the very center on Kreschatik str and Independence square.