Kyiv or Kiev is the capital and largest city of Ukraine with - officially - approximately 5 million inhabitants. The city was founded on the banks of Dnipro River. The transliteration of the city's name from Ukrainian is "Kyiv", and this variation is now promoted in English language materials in Ukraine, international organizations and suggested for use in major English-speaking countries. The spelling of the city's name is a linguistic controversy, as it is argued by some that the long-established "Kiev" spelling is based on the Russian transliteration that was prevalent during the Soviet period and therefore is a reminder of Russian influence over Ukraine.
Kyiv is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, dating back to the 5th century, although settlements at this location existed much earlier. By the late 9th century, Kyiv had become the de facto capital of an emerging Eastern Slavic state. Between the 10th and early 13th centuries, the city reached its golden age as the capital of the first Ukrainian state known today as Kyivan Rus, (Rus-Ukraine). This state created the religious and cultural foundations for modern Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.
5 reasons to visit Kyiv
1. Relax in numerous parks and gardens. Kyiv is a very green city, with parks, squares and gardens in every district. However, locals’ favourites are the Hryshko National Botanical Garden and Taras Shevchenko Park. The former is known for its breathtaking panoramic views over Kyiv and amazing locations for picnics. Meanwhile, the latter is the central attraction that conveys the city’s lifestyle in the best way. There are mobile coffee shops, comfortable benches, street food stalls and students having a snack during their break. These places will make you feel like a local yourself.
2. Do inexpensive shopping. Surprisingly, a lot of mass-market shops in Kyiv are much cheaper than in any other country even though the collections are very similar. Thus, if you plan a trip to Kyivv, make a note that you can buy everything here you may need. At various shopping malls and thrift shops, you’ll find clothing and footwear from both local and internationally famous brands, as well as cosmetics and even gadgets.
3. Descend into the deepest underground station in the world. Despite the fact that there are only three underground lines in Kyiv (green, red and blue), it boasts a unique feature. The Arsenalna metro station is the deepest station in the world, descending 105.5 meters (346 ft) underground. The escalator for Arsenalna is also the longest one. Thus, don’t be surprised if your ears block while going down.
4. Buy Kyiv Cake as a souvenir. Another speciality of the city is Kyiv Cake. A favourite sweet treat of locals, it can be found in almost every supermarket. Its creamy taste is extremely delicious, and it’s hard to believe that it was created as the result of a mistake, when confectioners forgot to put an egg white in the refrigerator. Thus, the hazelnut meringue cake that we know today, with many layers of buttercream decorated with various creams and sprinkled with hazelnut, was born. It is often brought back as a souvenir from Ukraine.
5. Stroll the shortest main street in Europe. Khreshchatyk Street is the main street in Kiev, and it is quite wide but extremely short. Its length is just 1.3 km (0.8 mi). The locals’ favourite time is when traffic is suspended for holidays and weekends, so that pedestrians get an opportunity to stroll the central street of the city, pop into the numerous cafés and restaurants or do some shopping, all gloriously traffic-free.