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Overview

Though reduced to rubble during WWII and patchily rebuilt post-war in typical Soviet style, Kyiv (Kiev), the capital of Europe’s largest country, is one of Eastern Europe’s greenest and most intimate cities. Cut through by the mighty River Dniepr (Dnipro in Ukrainian), a beach-fringed forest dominates the eastern bank just a short metro ride from the bustlingly-upmarket central Khreshchatyk boulevard. Once the capital of a huge Slavic empire called the Kievan Rus (9th-13th century), Kyiv was the cradle of eastern Slav civilization and gave convoluted birth to what is now Russia. This period left behind some of the moodiest and most ...

Though reduced to rubble during WWII and patchily rebuilt post-war in typical Soviet style, Kyiv (Kiev), the capital of Europe’s largest country, is one of Eastern Europe’s greenest and most intimate cities. Cut through by the mighty River Dniepr (Dnipro in Ukrainian), a beach-fringed forest dominates the eastern bank just a short metro ride from the bustlingly-upmarket central Khreshchatyk boulevard. Once the capital of a huge Slavic empire called the Kievan Rus (9th-13th century), Kyiv was the cradle of eastern Slav civilization and gave convoluted birth to what is now Russia. This period left behind some of the moodiest and most atmospheric churches and monasteries to be found in the Orthodox Christian world, most of which miraculously survived the years of Stalinist terror. Today Kyiv is an energetic city of three million, its city center home to exclusive boutiques, bars and restaurants, its concrete suburbs to an enterprising and savvy population. Despite its long and eventful history, outside of Eastern Europe, Kyiv is now perhaps best known for its footballing (soccer) present, the 2012 UEFA European championship final set to take place in the city on July 1, 2012.

Marc Di Duca
About the Expert

Marc Di Duca has written and updated more than 40 guides, mainly for Lonely Planet but also for AA, Thomas Cook, Berlitz and Bradt. Having spent the last 20 years exploring the former communist world, his main field of expertise is Eastern Europe and Siberia.

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Marc Di Duca for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, early autumn. Winters are snowy and extremely cold. Soaring temperatures mean summer (July & August) is best avoided.