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History of Kiev

The people of Kiev believe that their city was established by a family of three brothers and a sister, thousands of years ago, and was named after the eldest brother, Kiy. Most historians, however, date Kiev’s foundations to the 5th century, when the area was settled by Slavic tribes.

The city became the capital of the first Russian state, Kyivan Rus, and reached its zenith in the 11th century under the Varangian rulers. Kyiv’s days in the sunshine were brief, though; the city started to decline by the 12th century. In 1240, attacking Mongols made Kiev a part of the Mongol empire, retaining it till the 14th century. The next few centuries were turbulent ones for Kiev; it passed from Mongol hands into Lithuanian; from Lithuanian to Polish; and from Polish to Russian. By the close of the 17th century, Kiev had become a part of Russia. Briefly the capital of a short-lived independent Ukrainian state, it was invaded, during the Russian Revolution, by German, Polish, White Russian and Soviet troops. The years between the two World Wars were comparatively quiet, only to be followed by Nazi occupation and widespread massacres during the Second World War.

The latter half of the 20th century saw extensive reconstruction in Kiev, and the city’s role as the capital of the newly-independent state of Ukraine has given it a much-needed fillip.


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