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Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press. Kiev 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. The city has an extensive infrastructure and highly developed system of public transport, including the Kiev Metro.
The name Kiev is said to derive from the name of Kyi, one of four legendary founders of the city (brothers Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv, and sister Lybid). During its history, Kiev, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, passed through several stages of great prominence and relative obscurity. The city probably existed as a commercial centre as early as the 5th century. A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kiev was a tributary of the Khazars, until seized by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid-9th century. Under Varangians rule, the city became a capital of the Rus', the first East Slavic state. Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1240, the city lost most of its influence for the centuries to come. It was a provincial capital of marginal importance in the outskirts of the territories controlled by its powerful neighbours; first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by Poland and Russia.
According to the All-Ukrainian Census, the population of Kiev in 2001 was 2,611,300. The historic changes in population is shown in the side table. According to the census men accounted for 1,219,000 persons, or 46.7%, and women for 1,393,000 persons, or 53.3%. Comparing the results with the previous census (1989) shows the trend of population ageing which, while prevalent throughout the country, is partly offset in Kiev by the inflow of working age migrants. According to the census data, more than 130 nationalities and ethnic groups reside within the territory of Kiev. Ukrainians constitute the largest ethnic group in Kiev, and they account for 2,110,800 people, or 82.2% of the population. Russians comprise 337,300 (13.1%), Jews 17,900 (0.7%), Belarusians 16,500 (0.6%), Poles 6,900 (0.3%), Armenians 4,900 (0.2%), Azerbaijanis 2,600 (0.1%), Tatars 2,500 (0.1%), Georgians 2,400 (0.1%), Moldovans 1,900 (0.1%). In 1926, the Jewish population of Kiev numbered 140,259, or 27.3% of the population. Both Ukrainian and Russian are commonly spoken in the city, with Russian being more widely used in the city centre despite the fact that Ukrainian is claimed as their native language by almost three times as many residents as those who claim Russian. According to a 2006 survey, Ukrainian is used at home by 23% of Kievans, as 52% use Russian and 24% switch between both. Some 1,069,700 people have higher or completed secondary education, a significant increase of 21.7% since 1989. The latest (April, 2007) municipal estimate of the city population is of 2.7 million residents. Other much higher estimates are often published. For instance, the amount of bakery products sold in the city (thus including temporary visitors and commuters) gives a minimum of 3.5 million people (June, 2007).
Culture Kiev was the historic cultural centre of the East Slavic civilization and a major cradle for the Christianization of Kievan Rus'. Kiev retained through centuries its cultural importance and even at times of relative decay, it remained the centre of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity of the primary importance. Its sacred sites, which include the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves) and the Saint Sophia Cathedral are probably the most famous, attracted pilgrims for centuries and now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site remain the primary religious centres as well as the major tourist attraction. The above mentioned sites are also part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine collection. Kiev's theatres include, the Kiev Opera House, Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theatre, Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater of Russian Drama, the Kiev Puppet Theater, October Palace and National Philharmonic of Ukraine and others. In 1946 Kiev had four theatres, one opera house and one concert hall. But most tickets then where allocated to "privileged groups". Other significant cultural centres include the Dovzhenko Film Studios, and the Kiev Circus. The most important of the city's many museums are the Kiev State Historical Museum, Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the National Art Museum, the Museum of Western and Oriental Art, the Pinchuk Art Centre and the National Museum of Russian art. In 2005 Kiev hosted the 50th annual Eurovision Song Contest as a result of Ruslana's "Wild Dances" victory in 2004. There are numerous songs, paintings, photos dedicated to the city. Among them there is an extensive Russian, Ukrainian, Polish folklore, less known are German and Jewish. One of the better songs are called "Without Podil, Kiev is impossible" (poet L.Dukhovny), "How not to love you, Kiev of mine?" (poet Dmytro Lutsenko), Khreschatyk (poet Yuri Rybchynsky), and many others. Renowned Ukrainian composer Oleksandr Bilash wrote an operetta called "Legend of Kiev"
Transportation Public transportation in Kiev includes the metro (underground), buses, trolleybuses, trams and funicular. The first records of public transportation date back to 1880s when the city had introduced some omnibuses for a short time and was looking for investors to implement horse-drawn trams in the city. Since then the whole city transportation system has changed dramatically. The most popular are metro and local buses (marshroutka). The publicly owned and operated Kiev Metro system is the fastest, the most convenient and affordable network that covers most, but not all, of the city. The metro is continuously expanding towards the city limits to meet growing demand, while the other kinds of public transport are not as well maintained. In particular, the public bus service has an unreliable schedule. Public electric trolleybus and tram lines are more reliable, but have aged equipment and are underfunded. The historic tram system, which is the oldest in the Eastern Europe once was a well maintained and widely used method of transport, is now gradually being phased out in favor of buses and trolleybuses.
The Kiev funicular. One unusual mode of public transportation Kiev has is the funicular, that climbs up the steep right bank of the Dnieper River. It transports 10,000–15,000 passengers daily.
Air transport Air passengers arrive in Kiev through one of two airports: the Boryspil Airport which is served by many international airlines, and the smaller Zhulyany Airport, serving mostly domestic flights and limited flights to nearby countries. The international passenger terminal at Boryspil is small, yet modern, being expanded in 2006. There is a separate terminal for domestic flights within walking distance. Passengers flying to other countries from Ukraine usually travel through Boryspil, as other airports in Ukraine such as Donetsk, Simferopol, Odessa, provide very limited international connections. There is also Gostomel cargo airport in Kiev's north-western suburb of Hostomel. Kiev is notable in the world of aviation industry as the headquarters for Antonov aircraft manufacturing company.
Riverine transport The previously extensive riverboat service along the Dnieper featuring the Meteor and Raketa hydrofoil ships is no longer available, limiting Kiev's river transport to cargo and tour boats and private pleasure craft.
Sports Kiev has many professional and amateur football clubs, including Dynamo Kyiv, Arsenal Kyiv and FC Obolon Kyiv which play in the Ukrainian Premier League. Of these three, Dynamo Kyiv has had the most success over the course of its history. For example, up until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the club won 13 USSR Championships, 9 USSR Cups, and 3 USSR Super Cups, thus making Dynamo the most successful club in the history of the Soviet Top League. Other prominent non-football sport clubs in the city include: the Sokil Kyiv ice hockey club and BC Kyiv basketball club. Both of these teams play in the highest Ukrainian leagues for their respective sports and whilst BC Kyiv was founded just recently in 1999, Sokil was founded in 1963, during the existence of the Soviet Union. Both these teams play their home games at the Kiev Palace of Sports.
Museums Kiev is home to some 40 different museums. In 2009 they recorded a total of 4.3 million visits. The Museum of the Great Patriotic War: is a memorial complex commemorating the Great Patriotic War located in the hills on the right-bank of the Dnieper River in Pechersk. The museum has moved twice before ending up in the current location, where it was ceremonially opened on 9 May 1981, Victory Day, by then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. On 21 June 1996, the museum was accorded its current status as a National Museum by a special decree signed by Leonid Kuchma, the then President of Ukraine. It is one of the largest museums in Ukraine with over 300,000 exhibits, and is centered around the 62-meter tall Motherland statue, which has become one of the most well known landmarks in the city. The museum has been visited by over 21 million visitors. The memorial complex covers the area of 10 hectares (approximately 24.7 acres) on the hill, overlooking the Dnieper River. It contains the giant bowl "The Glory Flame", a site with World War II military equipment, and the "Alley of the Hero Cities". One of the museums also displays the armaments used by the Soviet army post World War II. The sculptures in the alley depict the courageous defence of the Soviet border from the 1941 German invasion, terrors of the Nazi occupation, partisan struggle, devoted work on the home front, and the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper.
Painted battle tanks at the World War II memorial Museum of the Great Patriotic War and Mother Motherland monument National Art Museum of Ukraine The National Historical Museum of Ukraine
The National Art Museum of Ukraine is a museum dedicated to Ukrainian art. Originally called the Kiev City Museum of Antiques and Art, the founders set out to put together a collection of pieces representative of Ukrainian fine art. Ranging from medieval icons to portraits of military and church leaders during Cossack times, some depicting caricatures of Mamay. Works include those of Taras Shevchenko, Ilya Yefimovich Repin, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Vasily Andreevich Tropinin, Mykola Pimonenko, Mikhail Vrubel, Nikolai Ge, and Oleksandr Murashko. Today, the museum continues to expand its collection. Some new additions include a unique icon relief of St. George and works by the international Kiev born pioneer of Geometric abstract art Kazimir Malevich. The current exhibition includes over 20 thousand pieces. Among many are works by the constructivist, Vasiliy Yermilov, and Cubo-Futurist Alexander Bogomazov. The Ukrainian side is represented by works by artists such as David Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster, Vadim Meller, Kliment Red'ko, Solomon Nikritin, Victor Palmov, Maria Sinyakova, Mikhail Boichuk and Mykola Pymonenko. The Golden Gate: is a historic gateway in the ancient city's walls. The name Zoloti Vorota is also used for a nearby theatre and a station of the Kiev Metro. This gateway was one of three constructed by Yaroslav the Wise, Prince of Kiev, in the mid-11th century. It was reputedly modelled on the Golden Gate of Constantinople, from which it took its name. In 1240 it was partially destroyed by Batu Khan's Golden Horde. It remained as a gate to the city (often used for ceremonies) through the 18th century, although it gradually fell into ruins. In 1832 the ruins were excavated and an initial survey for their conservation was undertaken. Further works in the 1970s added an adjacent pavilion, housing a museum of the gate. In the museum one can learn about the history of construction of the Golden gate as well as ancient Kiev. In 1982, the gate was completely reconstructed for the 1500th anniversary of Kiev, although there is no solid evidence as to what the original gates looked like. Some art historians called for this reconstruction to be demolished and for the ruins of the original gate to be exposed to public view. In 1989, with the expansion of the Kiev Metro, the Zoloti Vorota station was opened nearby to serve the landmark. What makes it unique is that its architectural ensemble is very much based on the internal decorations of ancient Ruthenian churches. The small Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum acts as both a memorial and historical center devoted to the events surrounding the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and its effect on the Ukrainian people, the environment, and subsequent attitudes toward the safety of nuclear power as a whole.