Read about the history of Kyiv

Who Founded Kyiv?

The history of Kyiv is very interesting. Kyiv, like Rome, gets its name from a character in a legend – Rome comes from Romulas and Kyiv comes from Kyi. Kyi was one of four siblings. The legend says that in the fifth century, a family of three brothers and a sister – Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv and Lubid – started a settlement on the banks of the River Dnieper.

The question is, were these siblings real people? Archaeologists know people lived in the area in the sixth century and earlier, so some people think they were real. Other people think that they were mythical. They say the names of the brothers and a sister come from geographical features. For example, they think that ‘Kyi’ means ‘high river bank’. The other brothers’ names, Shchrek and Khoryv, are similar to the names of nearby mountains: Mount Shchekavytsia and Mount Khoryvytsia. The sister`s name, Lybid, comes from the River Lybid which is south of Kyiv.

The Golden Age of Kyiv

The golden age of Kyiv was from the tenth to twelfth centuries, when it was a centre of the Kyivan Rus – a state of several Slavic tribes. The city was on trade routes between the Baltic Sea, Constantinople and the area north- east of the Black Sea. It became a very important city in Europe.

The period between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries saw the borders of European countries change many times, and with each change, new people came to Kyiv: Tartars, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians.

Kyiv in the 20th Century

In the twentieth century, fighting in World War II badly damaged the city, but when the war ended, restoration started. Kyiv became an important centre for industry. Lots of people moved to the city from other parts of the country. Kyiv changed a lot in the twentieth century, but it has still got many historic buildings, and the surrounding hills make it a pleasant city to live in.

Correct the false statements.

  1. People are sure Kyi was a real person.
  2. Kyi means the bottom of the river.
  3. Kyiv was the centre for a Slavic tribe in the Middle Ages.
  4. The borders of Ukraine stayed the same after the twelfth century.
  5. Kyiv changed a little in the twentieth century.

Answer the questions

  1. Where does the name Rome come from?
  2. What geographical features are the names of Kyi’s brothers and sisters similar to?
  3. Which trade routes went through Kyiv?
  4. Which new groups of people lived in Ukraine after the twelfth century?
  5. What happened in World War II?
  6. What makes the city a good place to live?

Complete the sentences with the words:

settlement, restoration, surrounding, tribes, damaged, legend

  1. The archaeologists found old coins from a fourth century ______________ .
  2. There are beautiful buildings ______________ the old city square.
  3. The fire ______________ the house. The inside was completely black.
  4. Many countries have got a ______________ about their ancient history.
  5. The ______________ of the old town was amazing. They looked at old photos to do it.
  6. Many different ______________ lived in Europe 1,500 years ago.