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Travel Guide to Kiev

  • Ukraine
  • Kiev
  • 839 km²
  • UAH
  • Ukrainian, Russian
  • 2,9 millions
  • A friendly word is better than a heavy cake.

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    Ukrainian Proverb
  • To see a friend no road is too long.

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    Ukrainian Proverb
  • Wisdom is in the head, not in the beard.

    author-image
    Ukrainian Proverb

General Information About Kiev

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History

According to the ancient legend, Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, was founded by three brothers, Kyi, Schek and Khoryv, and their sister Lybed, at the end of the 5th-beginning of the 6th centuries. The city was named after the eldest brother Kyi. Kyiv means the city of Kyi. Kyiv is a Ukrainian spelling and Kiev is Russian, more known worldwide since the Soviet times.
Many ancient tribes gathered around Kiev, and at the end of the 9th century the city became the political center of the Eastern Slavs. In the year 988 Christianity, introduced by Great Prince Vladimir, became the official religion of the Kievan Rus. This helped to establish political and cultural relations with such states as the Byzantium Empire and Bulgaria. At that time almost 50,000 people lived in the city; there were about 400 churches and 8 markets. When Vladimir Monomakh died in the year 1152, the mighty Kievan Rus began to decay. In 1240 Kiev was demolished by Baty-khan. Only in the 14th century Kiev began to revive. But in 1362 Great Duke of Lithuania captured the city. For more than one hundred years it was under the command of Lithuanian and Polish dukes. People's liberation war of 1648-1654 against the Lithuanian-Polish Yoke led to liberation. But Cossack armies, headed by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, couldn't manage to conquer the enemy without help from Russia. As a result, Ukraine plunged under a long period of domination by the Russian Empire. Since that time the history of Ukraine and Kiev was closely connected with Russian history. Archeological excavations show evidence of the first settlements on the territory of Kiev 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The early settlers of Kiev built their citadel on the steep right bank of the Dnepr River to protect themselves from Nomadic tribes. Later, Kiev's Grand Dukes built their palaces and churches on Starokievskiy Hill, while artisans and merchants settled next to the wharf on the Dnepr. By the end of the 9th century, when the Grand Dukes of Kiev united scattered Slavic tribes, Kiev became the political center of the Eastern Slavs. The city maintained wide foreign and commercial trade links due to its favorable position in the middle of trade routes between the Vikings and the Greeks (strict way from Northern Europe and the Baltics to the Mediterranean). Kiev`s development accelerated during the reign of Grand Duke Vladimir the Great (980-1015). In 988 Vladimir established Orthodox Christianity as the official religion of the realm in order to strengthen the power of Kiev on the broader international arena. During that time the first stone temple in Russia, Desyatinnaya church, was constructed.
During the 11th and 12th centuries ancient Kiev Rus reached its greatest period of ascendancy. By the 11th century Kiev was one of the largest centers of civilization in the Eastern christian world. At that time, there were about 400 churches, 8 markets and more than 50,000 inhabitants in Kiev. For comparison, at the same time the population of London, Hamburg and Gdansk was about 20,000 people. Kiev was among the most prospering craft and shopping centers of Europe. After the death of Kiev`s great Prince Vladimir Monomakh in 1125, Kiev Rus became involved in a long period of feudal wars. Foreign powers were quick to take advantage of this situation. In the fall of 1240, the Tatar-Mongols headed by Baty-khan, captured Kiev after series of long and bloody battles. Kiev fell into a prolonged period of decline. The Tartar-Mongols ruled for almost a century. Despite a foreign rule, Kiev retained its artisan, trade and cultural traditions and remained an important political, trade and cultural center. In the 14th century, the Kiev region became the cradle for the modern Ukrainian nation.
In the 15th century Kiev was granted the Magdeburg Rights, which permitted greater independence of the city in matters of international commerce. Until the 14th century Kiev paid tribute to the Golden Horde. Then it passed under the control of Great Lithuaninan Duchy, which in 1569 was united with Poland. With the establishment of the Kiev-Mogilyanskaya Academy in 1632, the city became a center of Ukrainian learning and scholarship.
The long road to the independence of Ukraine began with Cossack military campaigns. In 1648-1654 Cossack armies, headed by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Ukraine's Cossack leader, waged several wars to liberate Ukraine. In 1648, when the Ukrainian Cossacks rose against Poland, Kiev became for a brief period the center of the Ukrainian State. But soon, confronted by the armies of Polish and Lithuanian feudal lords, Bogdan Khmelnitsky sought the protection of the Russian Tsar in the Treaty of Pereyaslavl. After Ukraine's union with Russia in 1654, however, the city was acquired by Moscow. During a long period of domination by the Russian Empire Ukraine in the 17th and 18th centuries managed to preserve and enjoy some of its rich political, economic, cultural, and religious achievements.
In January 1918 after the fall of Russian Empire, the independence of Ukraine was proclaimed and the Ukrainian National Republic was established. During the Civil War that followed the October Revolution Bolshevik Party seized power and expanded their sphere of control into Ukraine. Ukraine becomes a part of the Soviet Union.
Kiev suffered severely during the World War II, when many unique architectural and artistic treasures were destroyed. Earlier, in the 1930s, the Soviet authorities systematically destroyed many churches. Extensive restoration of the after-war days has revived much of Kiev's historical and cultural heritage. Despite repressions, suffering, political turmoil, and ecological disasters, Ukraine's spirit and national identity have never died. On August 24, 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine proclaimed its independence. This was the beginning of the whole new period in the history of Ukraine and its beautiful capital.

Kiev Nightlife

Capital of Ukraine is famous with its luxury nightclubs, good bars and beautiful ladies.
If you are in Kyiv to rest, it’s better to discover new city nightlife in a company of some local guides. They can help with advice and some tips on peculiarities of behavior. Your safety is the main priority while you go to a night club or bar.
To start with a little background on Kiev, it’s basically a worker’s city. It’s the economic hub of Ukraine. It’s got plenty of college students but it’s not a college town. Kiev has tons of families and tons of single, beautiful women. The result is a big mish-mash which makes the Kiev nightlife scene so difficult to figure out. To compare Kiev to some American cities… Kiev is not like Las Vegas. You can’t just go out and find something to do every night of the week. People aren’t going out just for the sake of getting hammered drunk on a Tuesday afternoon. Switching coasts, Kiev also lacks a bit of the New York City energy at times—it tends to quiet down a lot during the weekend days and weekday nights. With that being said, if you take the time to really understand the Kiev nightlife you can have a good time.

Arena City and Surrounding Area

Arena City is right in the center of the city, and is usually quite busy on most weekend nights. The problem is that it’s right in the center, meaning that every sex tourist foreigner is out prowling these clubs and making a fool of himself. Best to get to Arena early and enjoy your time there before they show up.

Other Central Bars & Clubs

These are other noteworthy venues. These are not quite walkable from the Arena City area. They are close enough from a distance perspective, but certainly not in high heels if you’re going out with a group of Ukrainian women.
  • D-Fleur - Absolutely the best choice as a club to have fun all week-end at night)
  • Caribbean Club—a bit sketchy but worth the venture
  • Dali Park (summertime only)—one of the premier clubs in the city when it’s open, which is only during the warmer months. Amazing from a talent perspective.
  • Shooters—this place is either the best in Kiev on the nights it goes off or there is no one there—no in between. Definitely go but try to make sure it’s on a busy night.
  • Sorry Babushka—a fun place.

Podil

Podil is the historic center of Kiev, and one of my favorite districts at that. There’s not really much of a club scene at all, but there are simply so many bars in the area that I had to mention it. However, there really aren’t any notable venues I can rave about in regards to the Kiev nightlife scene. Your best bet is just to saunter down the main strip and side streets and poke your head in. The people going out in Podil are definitely more hipster and tend to be more friendly overall to outsiders—you’re more of a novelty item out there, even though it’s barely a five minute metro ride from the center of the city.  
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