Kyiv: A Closer Look
|Kyiv's rich tradition can, among others, be seen in its churches and cathedrals, here the St. Michael's Monastery|
Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine in terms of both population and area and enjoys the highest levels of business activity. It is located in the north central part of the country on the Dnipro River. Kyiv is an important industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of Eastern Europe. It is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions and world-famous historical landmarks.
Described as the "joy of the world" by medieval chroniclers, between the 10th and 13th centuries Kyiv was the capital of the eastern Slav's first great civilisation, Kyivan Rus. When in 988 Prince Volodymyr the Great introduced Christianity to Kyivan Rus, Kyiv became the spiritual centre of Eastern Europe.
Over the ensuing centuries, Kyiv suffered from numerous invaders. Having survived destruction by the Mongols, the city became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th century and subsequently the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia.
The city prospered again during the Russian Empire's industrial revolution in the late 19th century. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kyiv became its capital. From 1921 onwards Kyiv was an important city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and, from 1934, its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but quickly recovered in the post-war years, remaining the third largest city of the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian independence of 1991, Kyiv remained the capital of Ukraine.
|The "Montmartre of Kyiv" is located around the impressive St. Andrew Church|
Kyiv is a modern city with many monuments, museums and theatres. The country's leading universities are also concentrated here, including the Kiev-Mohyla Academy, one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe.
The city's main street, Khreshchatyk runs through its heart and strolling down it is a Kievan pastime, especially at weekends when it is closed to traffic. The street was razed during World War II and rebuilt in imposing Soviet style. St. Sophia Cathedral's incredible eleventh-century mosaics and frescos springs to mind, the scene of coronations, countless ceremonies and Kyiv's first school and library.
Made internationally famous by Andriy Kurkov's novels, one of the most ancient city streets Andriyivski uzviz (Andrew's descent) lies in the shadow of the magnificent St. Andrew's Church. The 'Montmartre of Kyiv', halfway up is the Bulgakov museum, where Mikhail wrote The White Guard, while an artists' alley towards the top turns into a giant outdoor art gallery at the weekend. Further afield is the incredible Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra monastery, set on 28 hectares of hill over the Dnipro.
Much of the left bank lies on reclaimed land and a perhaps unforeseen benefit was the creation of city beaches. There are some on Trukhaniv island and on Hydropark, with incredible views of the UNESCO-listed Lavra. Of a rather different tack - but no less eye-catching - is the Hydropark's free outdoor gym, a post-apocalyptic collection of apparatus fashioned from used lorry parts and scrap metal.
|Alexander Volkov, President of the Ukrainian Basketball Federation at the European Championship for Men 1987|
The Basketball Federation of Ukraine (FBU) was founded in 1992 in Kyiv. The President of the FBU, Alexander Volkov was the first Ukrainian basketball player to play in the NBA. In 1989-1992 he played for the Atlanta Hawks.
The second ever representative of Ukraine in the NBA, Vitaliy Potapenko, was also born in Kyiv. Potapenko was selected 12th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1996 NBA Draft. He played for Cleveland, the Boston Celtics, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Sacramento Kings. Since retiring as a player, Potapenko has served as an assistant coach with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Indiana Pacers, and the Dakota Wizards.
The third Ukrainian in the NBA Stanislav Medvedenko is originally from Kyiv. "Slava" Medvedenko joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000. He was NBA Champion in 2001 and 2002.
There are two major basketball clubs in Kyiv - two-time winners
|Andrii Lebediev and BC Kyiv came close to winning the EuroChallenge in 2005|
of the Ukrainian Superleague BC Kyiv and champions of the USSR in 1989, seven-time winners of the Ukrainian Superleague, semi-finalists of Eurocup BC Budivelnik.
For Budivelnik, it was already the second successful season in the Eurocup, after 2011, when they reached the quarter-finals.
BC Kyiv have enjoyed success in the EuroChallenge in the early 2000s, finishing runners up in 2005, only second to an unbeaten Spartak St. Petersburg side.
One year later, the aimed at going all the way, hosting the Final Four. Facing eventual champions Joventut Badalona around Rudy Fernandez in front of a 5,000 strong partisan crowd in the semi-finals proved to be too much and the hosts had to settle for third place.
BC Kyiv kept participating in the EuroChallenge until 2011, reaching the quarter-finals in 2009 before crashing out against eventual finalists Cholet Basket.
Palace of Sport (Palats Sportu)
Address: 1 Sportyvna Square, Kyiv
Metro Station: Line 3, Palats Sportu
- has hosted the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest -
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Getting There And Around
TO AND FROM
Kyiv has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). The latter has regular services to almost all European capitals and other major cities worldwide. The Central Bus Station 3km south of the centre offers longer but somewhat cheaper links to other Ukrainian cities. The Central Train Station situated in the heart of the city offers a large variety of destinations, many overnight.
IN AND AROUND
Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. The metro is usually the fastest and most convenient way of getting around, even if the descent to the depths of the city can be a journey in itself - at 102m underground, Arsenalna is one of the deepest stations in the world. It runs from 6am until midnight and the turquoise journey tokens cost 2 UAH. Like many former Soviet metro systems, stations are clean and elaborately decorated, a contrast to the somewhat less reliable bus service as they have to contend with Kyivan traffic.