We continue our blog with on the cities of Ukraine with our third destination, the great city of Kiev. Known for its great culture, music, art and food the mighty city of Kiev is one of the joys of the whole of eastern Europe. Kiev is the largest city in the Ukraine with a population of three million people, the river Dnieper flows through its center and its ancient cobbled streets and old town are stacked with churches, monasteries, galleries, universities, theaters and cafes.
Kiev is located on the Dnieper River just below where it converges with the Desna River, and is perched on a high bank above the river rising up to the Batyyeva Hill, which is a hundred meters above the level of the river. As you approach Kiev you can glimpse gilded domes and spires of the many churches that reside in the city, along with modern apartment buildings all looming over the great city. Since WWII the city has expanded onto the lower floodplains of the Dnieper.
Kiev is a sprawling city covering almost 800 square kilometers on either side of the Dnieper. The city is divided into wards with the main focus on the Old Town area. Because of the extensive damage of the ancient Upper Town in WWII the architecture is mainly modern with some delightful highlights.
The old street layout is largely the same as it was pre-war, and most of Kiev’s surviving historical and architectural buildings are to be found in the Old Town Upper area. Without doubt the 11th Century Cathedral of St. Sophia is one of the city’s gems and displays one of the best examples of early Russian-Byzantine architecture in this part of Europe.
Kiev is an important administration city with many state ministries having their bases there, it also has considerable industrial prowess with several large factories dotted all over the city conurbation. Mostly to the west of the city center and on the left bank of the river the larger industries can be found.
The industries range from those based on metals with iron and steel being the most dominant. There is also a prospering precision tools industry together with complex machine manufacturing. The industrial plants of Kiev make everything from linoleum, vulcanized rubber, fertilizer and even metal-cutting machinery.
Other engineering-based industries in Kiev are in aircraft, hydraulic elevators, armatures, sea craft and boats, motorcycles and electrical instruments.
There is an ancient tradition of Kiev being at the center of Ukrainian arts and culture. The city boasts several theaters, art galleries and is famed for its rich history of music. Concerts are regularly taking place at the National Music Academy which is also called the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and the National Art Museum of Ukraine.
Kiev is also recognized for sport and all manner of recreational activities, with Dynamo Kiev football team leading the way. Kiev is a most fascinating city to visit, although many of the buildings were rebuilt after the war it still has an enchanting presence about it.