Essential Ukrainian travel words and phrases
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Your Best Travel Guide to Ukraine 15:47 | 01.07.2015 Choose your language УкраїнськаEnglishРусскийPolskaDeutschItalianoFrançaiseEspañol
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General review Kyiv

    Geographical Review

    Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Kyiv, Ukraine
    Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Kyiv, Ukraine

    Geographically, Kyiv (Kiev) belongs to the Polissya natural zone (a part of the European mixed woods). However, the city's unique landscape distinguishes it from the surrounding region. The elder right-bank (western) part of Kyiv (Kiev) is represented by numerous woody hills, ravines and small rivers (now mostly extinct). It is a part of the larger Prydniprovska (near-Dnieper) upland adjoining the western bank of the Dnieper. The left-bank (eastern) part of the city was built in the Dnieper valley. Significant areas of it were artificially sand-deposited and enforced by dams.

    The city is adjoined by the mouth of the Desna River and the Kyivs'ke reservoir in the north, and the Kanivs'ke reservoir in the south.

    Kyi, Schek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid Monument, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv
    Kyi, Schek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid Monument, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv

    Kyiv's climate is moderately continental. The average winter temperature is about. 17-35 °F (-8 to +1 °C), in summer - 65-80 degrees °F (+18 to +27 °C). Although it has changed significantly during recent decades due to global climate changes.

    An ancient legend says, that Kyiv was founded by three brothers Kyi, Schek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid, (you can read more about this monument on Kiev Monuments Page) and it was named after the eldest brother Kyi. Founded probably in the 5th century, a trading post in the land of Early East Savs, the city gradually has flourished into a valuable center of of East Slavic Civilization. In the 10th-12th centuries Kyiv (Kiev) became a political and cultural center of Kievan Rus'.

    Kiev or Kyiv?

    Besarabs'ka Square, Kyiv, Ukraine
    Besarabs'ka Square, Kyiv, Ukraine

    English traveller Joseph Marshall called city Kiovia in his book Travels published in London in 1772. The city has been called Kiev in English since at least the 19th century. The earliest quotation in the Oxford English Dictionary containing "Kiev" is dated 1883, while the name was used in print as early as 1823 in the English traveller Mary Holderness' travelogue New Russia. Journey from Riga to the Crimea by way of Kiev.

    In 1995, the Ukrainian government made a declaration concerning English-language usage of the name of the city, favoring the use of Kyiv over Kiev. This act has legal jurisdiction only over Ukrainian government spelling of the city's name. It says in part:

    1. To acknowledge that the Roman spelling of Kiev does not recreate the phonetic and scriptural features of the Ukrainian language geographical name.

    2. To confirm that the spelling of Kyiv as standardized Roman-letter correspondence to the Ukrainian language geographical name of Київ.

    3. On the basis of the Provision on the Ukrainian Commission for Legal Terminology №9, determine as mandatory the standardized Roman-letter spelling of Kyiv for use in legislative and official acts.

    Many people have followed suit and use the spelling Kyiv in all Latin alphabet publications. The new spelling Kyiv is increasingly being used by the United Nations and most English-speaking diplomatic missions, and by some English-language publications.

    Some find the spelling Kiev inappropriate, because it reflects Russian instead of Ukrainian pronunciation. Some even consider it offensive, a remnant of Russification under Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. However, the Kiev spelling was used in English before reforms of Ukrainian orthography and vocabulary, and also reflects the Old East Slavic (the language of the ancestors of modern Ukrainians and Russians) spelling. The name is pronounced by Ukrainians and many Russians as one would in English say "Keev".

    A little bit of the history

    Sofiis'ka Square, Kyiv, Ukraine
    Sofiis'ka Square, Kyiv, Ukraine

    After the turbulent period following the Russian Revolution (1917), from 1921 Kiev (Kyiv) was an important city of the Soviet Ukraine, and, since 1934, its capital. During World War II, the city was destroyed, almost completely, but quickly recovered in the post-war years becoming the third most important city of the USSR. It now remains the capital of Ukraine, independent since 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    St. Sofiya Cathedral, Kyiv, Ukraine
    St. Sofiya Cathedral, Kyiv, Ukraine

    The city is the cradle of Eastern Orthodox Church where pilgrims from all over Ukraine and abroad come to offer up prayers in ancient Golden-domed cathedrals, churches and majestic monasteries. These unique monuments of high-spiritual aspirations, talent and consummate skills of people born at this land are rightfully claimed as masterpieces of ancient Rus and Ukrainian architecture. Read more about Kyiv Churches and Cathedrals.

    Culture

    Pushkins'ka Street, Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pushkins'ka Street, Kyiv, Ukraine

    Kyiv (Kiev) is an important Industrial, Scientific, Educational and Cultural Center of Eastern Europe. It is home to many High-Tech industries, higher education Institutions, world-famous Museums and Art Institutions. The city has an extensive infrastructure and highly developed system of public transportation, including the Kiev Metro (subway) system.

    Today, Kyiv is a modern city with over 2.5 million inhabitants. Like many other large cities of the former Soviet Union, it is a melting pot of the old styles and habits, standing in stark contrast to the birth of democracy and its effects on society. The new Kiev can be seen in everything from the buildings to the shops and stores to the people themselves. Even Kiev's "downtown" is a dotted picture of new and emerging, modern buildings against the pale yellows, blues and grays of the older Soviet style architecture.

    With Ukrainian independence at the turn of the millenium, new changes became evident. The Western-style novostroikas (new and modern buildings), hip nightclubs, classy restaurants and prestigious hotels began to open in Kievs new vibrant center. Music from Europe and theUnited States began to rise on the Ukrainian music charts. Now, most importantly, with 2005's new open visa regime, Ukraine is positioning herself as a prime tourist attraction.

    The center of Kyiv being refurbished, includes buildings restored and redecorated, especially on Khreschatyk Kyiv's main bolouvard as well as  on Independence Square. Many historical areas in Kiev, such as Andryivskyi Uzviz, have become popular street vendor locations, where one can purchase traditional Ukrainian art, religious items, books, game sets (including marvelous chess sets) as well as jewellery.

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    Essential Ukrainian travel words and phrases