Kiev, the Ukraine’s capital, is on the Dnieper River (also Dnepr) in the north central part of the Ukraine. Kiev’s history dates back to the 5th century though earlier settlements on the site predate this time.
Kiev is the heart of Ukraine’s business, location of the major companies and the nucleus of high-tech industries and higher education. Its industries are the beverage, food and tobacco, paper products, and mechanical engineering. The city has developed its infrastructure and public transportation such as the Kiev Metro.
Based on the Ukrainian census, Kiev’s population in 2001 was 2,611,300. The population is changing with the influx of immigrants of work age. Over 130 nationalities and ethnic groups live within the territory of Kiev. Ukrainians are the largest group, and the Russians are second.
Throughout history, Kiev was the heart of the eastern Slavic culture and a source of Christianity in Russia. It has remained a cultural center, particularly for the Eastern Orthodox Church, which has the sacred locations of Saint Sophia Cathedral and Kiev Pechersk Lavra or the Monastery of the Caves.
Kiev’s culture also focuses on many theaters, including the Ivan Franko National Theater, the Kiev Opera House, the October Palace and the National Philharmonic of Ukraine. Other examples of culture are the Kiev Circus and the museums. The most noteworthy museums are the Museum of the War, the National Art Museum, Kiev State Historical Museum and the National Museum of Russian Art.
Kiev is a green city because trees line the streets. Visitors will find two botanical gardens and an abundant number of parks. The most prominent of the many islands in the river is Venetsianskyi or Hidropark, which visitors can reach by the metro or car. The park consists of swimming beaches, an amusement park, places to rent boats and nightclubs. Victory Park near Darnytsia subway station is popular with sports enthusiasts such as cyclists, joggers and walkers.
Kiev’s center of Independence Square is a popular attraction with multitudes of people relaxing at the clubs and restaurants. Andriyivskyy Descent, a historic street, is the location of attractions such as the Castle of Richard the Lionheart, the monument to Yaroslav the Wise and St. Andrew’s Church.
Sports are a favorite pursuit in Kiev, particularly water sports, fishing and boating. Popular winter sports are skating, and ice fishing while swimming is a preferred diversion in the summer.
The Euro 2012, the European Football Championship, will be held in both Ukraine and Poland between June 8 and July 1, 2012. Kiev will be holding the final.