Kiev of to-day is the political, economic, scientific, industrial and cultural centre of Ukraine. It is the capital of Ukraine and the seat of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada. The population of Kievis more than 3 million.
The first view of Kiev with its modern buildings and broad streets immediately gives you a feeling of a big city. Kiev of to-day, picturesquely set on the banks of the Dnieper, is one of the largest capitals in the world.
One half of Kiev's area is occupied by parks and gardens. In the Park of Immortal Glory there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Kiev is an ancient city. According to the legend, once there were three brothers: Kiy, Shchek, Khoriv and their sister Lybid'. They settled on the hills above the Dnieper and founded a city on one of the hills and called it Kiev after the elder brother. In the centre of the city you can see the remains of the Golden Gate which is about a thousand years old. Once it was the main entrance to the city. At that time Kiev was the capital of the feudal state of Kiev Rus', a large and powerful state with highly developed culture and various crafts widely known throughout Europe. Decorative and applied art was most wide-spread in Kiev Rus'.
The prosperous years of Kiev Rus' changed to years of discord and wars. Ancient temples were ruined by Tatar-Mongol invaders. For nearly three centuries the Ukrainian people fought against foreign invaders.
In the centre of St. Sophia's Square there is a Monument to B.Khmelnitsky, the outstanding statesman and military leader who headed the Ukrainian people in their liberation war against the Poles. The most famous among monumental structures of Kiev is St. Sophia's Cathedral. Prince Volodymyr's son, Yaroslav the Wise laid the foundation of St. Sophia's Cathedral in honour of the victory over the Pechenihs in 1037. At that time Kiev played an important part in the development of written language, literature, painting, architecture. Yaroslav the Wise strengthened the international importance of Kiev Rus' through dynastic unions. As a European power Kiev Rus' reached the highest point of its fame under his rule.
A monument to Prince Volodymyr, unveiled in 1853 on Volodymyr Hill is a reminder of christianization. Present-day Kiev is unthinkable without its Vydubytsky Monastery, the Church of St. Cyril (1150), St. Andrew's Church (1753), etc.
The architectural ensemble, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, was created over a period of nine century. The Pechersk Monastery of the Caves was founded according to chronicles by the monk Antony in 1051. The Pechersk Lavra became an important cultural centre of Old Rus'. Among museums of Lavra there is a Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art which comprises more than 50,000 exhibits. There are rugs and carpets, eighteenth and nineteenth century fabrics and embroidery, wood carvings, objects of art, glass, porcelain, etc.
One can visit the State Museum of Ukrainian Art which was opened in 1899. The large collections of paintings, drawings and sculptures embrace all periods of the development of Ukrainian fine arts.
The Museum of Folk Architecture and Ethnography was opened in 1976 and its repository contains nearly 50,000 ethnographic exhibits such as folk costumes, embroidered towels, carpets, articles of ceramic, metal, wood and glass ware, musical instruments, paintings, farm implements, etc.
Kiev cultural life is rich and varied. There are many other museums 1 in Kiev: the State Historical Museum, the T. Shevchenko Museum, the State Museum of Western and Eastern Art, etc.
Kiev is a city of theatres. The T. Shevchenko National Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Ivan Franko Ukrainian Drama Theatre, the Lesya Ukrainka Drama Theatre, the "Ukraina" Palace and other theatres are greatly appreciated by Kyivites and guests from other cities and countries.
The city has a well-developed industry: complex automatic lathes, excavators, sea and river ships, motorcycles, electrical measuring instruments, planes, chemicals, textiles and various kinds of consumer goods are produced there.