Population: 2,797,553 – Established: 5th Century AD - Area: 839.00 km2
A BRIEF HISTORY
Said to be named after one of the founding brothers of the city, the now-Ukrainian capital of Kyiv (Київ) was established on an important trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople.
The Slavic city was invaded in the mid-19th Century by the Varangians – a civilisation associated with the Vikings. Under the Varangian rule, the city became the capita of the Kievan Rus’, attributed as the first East Slavic State.
In 1240, Kyiv – along with the rest of the state - was again invaded; this time by the Mongols. Sweeping in from the East, the Mongols completely obliterated the city; and for centuries Kyiv lost its influence, becoming nothing more than a regional capital.
Absorbed into the Russian Empire, Kyiv once again flourished during the late 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution. In 1917, the city became the capital of the newly-independent Ukrainian National Republic; but just four years later it was absorbed into the Soviet Union.
World War II again saw the city receive heavy damage, but the third-largest Soviet City quickly recovered in the post-war years. The 1991 break-up of the USSR saw Kyiv re-established as the capital city of Ukraine.
Milla Jovovich: The American star of films such as The Fifth Element, Zoolander and Resident Evil, was born in Kyiv before leaving the Soviet Union for London at the age of 5.
Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko: The Ukrainian Heavyweight World Boxing Champions studied at school in Kyiv, before graduating from the city’s university.
Elena Baltacha: The Female British number One Tennis player was born in the Ukrainian capital, before moving to the UK with her professional footballer father, Sergei in 1989.
Zino Davidoff: Former tobacconist, who is credited for launching the Davidoff Cigarette and Cigar Company Worldwide.
FIVE THINGS TO DO IN KYIV
1. Chernobyl Museum
Located on Khoryva Lane (пров. Хоревий, 1), the museum documents the 1986 Nuclear explosion in the Chernobyl Power Plant, situated just over 100km to the north of Kyiv. Most exhibits are in Ukrainian and Russian, but it is still definitely worth a visit.
2. Saint Sophia Cathedral
Placed on the World Heritage List in 1990, Kyiv’s most famous cathedral is named after the philosophy of wisdom rather than an actual Saint Sophia. Work started on the cathedral in the early 11th Century, and it was completed to its current form in 1740. It is widely regarded as one of the best examples of Byzantine and Ukrainian Baroque architecture, and still contains frescoes and mosaic dating back to the cathedral’s beginnings.
3. Rodina Mat (Motherland)
Standing at 102m tall including the pedestal, Europe’s fourth largest statue sits on the banks of the Dnipro River above the Museum of the Great Patriots War. Over 10 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty, the memorial also offers great views of the city if you pay the extra to climb to the top.
4. Mykola Syadristy Microminiatures Museum
Although it won’t take up much of your time – the museum occupies just one room – it will leave you in amazement. The exhibition by micro-miniaturist Mykola Syadristy includes the world’s smallest book, a chessboard and pieces sitting atop of a pinhead, and a sculpture of a rose inside of a hollowed-out hair.
5. Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності)
Kyiv’s main central square is full of history an architecture making it one of the most striking places in the city. Renamed in 1991 to “Independence Square”, in celebration of the Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union; the square is recognisable worldwide thanks to the Orange Revolution in late 2004, where hundreds-of-thousands of protesters pitched tents and braved heavy snow to protest against alleged electoral corruption.
Ukraine’s capital is located in the north of the country, and around 450km to the east of the Polish border. The city’s two airports are the main ports of entry for most travellers into Kyiv.
The Boryspil (Бориспіль) International Airport is Kyiv’s biggest, and is located around 29km to the east of the city. It receives regular flights from Gatwick through Ukraine Airlines and Aerosvit, and Heathrow by British Airways; as well as other major airports throughout Europe.
Kyiv’s second airport – Zhuliany (Жуляни) – is on the western outskirts of the city, and is primarily used for domestic flights. However, WizzAir also use the airport for flights to Luton, as well as other European cities.
Boryspil has regular services to Warsaw via LOT Airlines, and also to Kraków in Poland; whilst it flies to Kharkiv, Lviv and Donetsk via Ukraine Airlines at Terminal B.
Zhuliany also has flights to Kharkiv and Lviv, operated by a couple of small airlines including Khors Air and UM Airlines.
ARRIVING IN KYIV
The number 322 “Sky Bus” runs regularly between Boryspil and Kyiv’s Central Railway Station. From here, there are numerous bus and Metro links. This line runs between 5am and 3am; and a single ticket costs 25UAH (£2). You can catch the bus outside of Terminal B. There is also a planned rail terminal at the airport, linking it with the city’s main station.
Three bus services serve the Zhuliany Airport – the number 9, which takes passengers to the Railway Station, and the 22 and 213, which link the airport to the Metro network. These buses cost around 1.50UAH (12p!).
Taxis are available, however the prices will totally eclipse Public Transport – and can even increase once the driver notices you are a foreigner!
Kyiv’s Central Station is located on Vokzal’na Square (Вокзальна площа), 2.5km from the Olympiyskyi Stadium. Trains to Kharkiv and Lviv will take approximate 6-7 hours, whilst the journey time to Donetsk can be double of that. Warsaw, Poznań and Wrocław will take in excess of 15 hours.
Kyiv’s main bus station is located just over 4km south of the Central Train Station on Moskows’ka Square (Московськa площі). The journeys may take a little longer than by train, but they are also a lot cheaper. Services to Kharkiv (7 hours), Lviv (10 hours) and Donetsk (12 hours) are regularly available.
IN THE CITY
Kyiv’s five underground “Metro” lines are the most popular way to travel around the city. Single trips on the Metro are paid for in tokens; with a token costing 2UAH (16p). A 30-day pass valid from the 1st of the month will cost 95UAH (£7.60), whilst a pass for the second half of the month will set you back 48UAH (£3.85). But if you do travel on the Metro, be aware that the majority of the signs are in Ukrainian only!
Though more extensive than the Metro, the overground network of buses and trolleybuses are all at the mercy of Kyiv’s horrendous traffic. If you do decide to travel on the aging fleet of crowded buses, the services start to run at around 5:45am and will keep going until around midnight.
Single journeys on the overground network will cost 1.50UAH, whilst a monthly ticket covering all overground and underground networks - at 230UAH (£18.50) or a 15-day pass at 115UAH (£9.25) - may be better if you plan to stay in Kyiv for the duration of the tournament.
Going to the Ukrainian capital and not eating a traditional Chicken Kiev is like going to Rome and not sampling the local pizza or pasta. Although some claim that the dish was created in Moscow, the chicken filled with garlic butter will always be associated with the city which bears its name.
Similar to the Polish “pierogi”, these boiled dough crescents can be filled with many ingredients. The most popular fillings include mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, cheese, meat, or hard-boiled egg.
Usually made with pork or beef, this popular Ukrainian dish is mixed with other ingredients including cooked cereals, cheese or mushrooms. It is then rolled into balls and fried on either side, before being covered in sauce before being baked.
Ground beef rubbed with salt and pepper, then rolled in flour and fried in butter. After frying, it is baked until soft and tender; and then served with roast potatoes.
Commercially produced in the city, the Torte Kyivsky is a type of sponge cake containing ground hazelnuts, and sometimes poppy seeds, and separated by a buttercream. It can then be filled with a number of sweet ingredients.
The Ukraine’s biggest exporter of beer is Kyiv’s Obolon Brewery – with approximately 80% of the country’s export market. The brewery’s main beverage is the Obolon Premium, a 5.0% ABV lager.
The brand is also available in a Light version (4.5%), and a Strong version (7.1%).
Another local lager, brewed only from natural ingredients by the Carlsberg Ukraine Group. The light version is a 4.3% ABV drink, whilst the “ICE” version clocks I at 5.0%. There are also slightly weaker, flavoured versions available.
OLIMPIYS’KYI STADIUM, KYIV
The reconstructed Olimpiys’kyi Stadium (Олімпійський) in the heart of Kyiv is the country’s largest football ground, as well as being the largest venue used in the tournament. The home of the national team, the Olimpiys’kyi can hold 65,400 spectators for football games.
The original stadium was built back in 1923, before being renovated just 18 years later. During the war it was largely undamaged, although some work was needed to restore the stadium to its former glory.
Another redevelopment was completed in 1999, and the stadium was used by Dynamo Kyiv as their home ground for major domestic or European games. When the decision came to grant the 2012 European Championships to the city, a complete re-design of the Olimpiys’kyi was needed; and after a number of high-profile delays, the stadium finally opened its doors on October 8th 2011.
Ukraine’s new home of football hosted its first game on 11th November 2011, hosting Germany in a friendly game.
Dynamo’s Andriy Yarmalenko netted the ground’s opening goal, before Dnipro’s Evgeni Konoplyanka doubled the hosts’ advantage. Like he did in Gdańsk, Toni Kroos became the first visiting player to score in the new stadium, before Sergey Nazarenko re-established Ukraine’s 2-goal lead on the stroke of half-time.
The second half saw a spirited fight-back from the visitors, with Simon Rolfes and Thomas Müller snatching a draw for Joachim Löw’s men.
GAMES DURING THE TOURNAMENT
Kyiv will host five games during the competition, including 3 group D games, a quarter-final and the final (all times local).
Ukraine v Sweden – 11th June 2012 (21:45)
Sweden v England – 15th June 2012 (19:00)
Sweden v France – 19th June 2012 (21:45)
Quarter-Final 4: Winner D v Runner-up C – 24th June 2012 (21:45)
Final – 1st July 2012 (21:45)
GETTING TO THE STADIUM
The Olimpiys’kyi Stadium sits in the heart of Kyiv, just 2.5km from the Central Train Station. The closest Metro stations are Olimpii’ska (Олімпійська) on the Kurenivs’ko – Chervonoarmiys’ka Line. and Palats Sportu (Палац Спорту) on the Syrets’ko – Pechers’ka Line.
For the duration of the tournament, Kyiv’s Fan Zone will be located at Maidan Nezalezhnosti – just two Metro stops away from the Olimpiys’kyi Stadium.
As well as four giant screens displaying all 31 games in the tournament, planned activities include five-a-side pitches, football skill tests, and live concerts.
DYNAMO KYIV (ФК Динамо Київ)
Nickname: Bilo-Syni (White-Blues)
League Champions: 1961, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1990 (USSR); 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 (Ukraine).
Cup: 1954, 1964, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1990 (USSR); 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 (Ukraine).
Super Cup: 1980, 1985, 1986 (USSR); 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 (Ukraine).
UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1975, 1986.
UEFA Super Cup: 1975.
Coach: Yuri Semin
Captain: Oleksandr Shovkovskiy
With a staggering 26 League Titles, Ukraine’s most famous club play their home games in the city’s Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium – named in honour of the former Dynamo and USSR National Team coach.
Before becoming the most successful club in the Ukraine’s short history, Dynamo also eclipsed the Moscow-based clubs, making them the most successful club in the former Soviet Union.
In recent years, a trip to Kyiv in European competition has always been a tough draw. In 2008-09, Dynamo reached the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Cup – their highest European finish since they reached the same stage of the Champions League ten years earlier.
ARSENAL KYIV (Арсенал Київ)
Ukraine Championship: 5th - 2003
Ukraine Cup: Semi-finalists - 2011
Coach: Leonid Kuchuk
Captain: Maksym Shatskykh
Formerly known as CSKA Kyiv, the club reorganised under the name of Arsenal just over ten years ago – and has stayed in the top flight since. Their only European competition came back in 2001 when they became Club Brugge’s second-round victims, after they had fought their way past Red Star Belgrade in the first round.
Arsenal plays their home games at the Kolos Stadium in nearby Boryspil.
OBOLON KYIV (Оболонь Київ)
Nickname: Pyvovary (Brewers)
Ukrainian First League: 2nd – 2009/2010
Coach: Serhiy Kovalets
Captain: Oleksandr Mandzyuk
Named after the brewery which has sponsored the club since 1999, Obolon made their return to the top flight in 2009, after a 4-year absence.
The club plays their home games in the Obolon Arena, in the northern suburbs of the city.
2 Raisy Okipnoy Street
Distance to Stadium: 5.7km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 12.3km
Distance to Train Station: 7.9km
Distance to Fan Park: 5.0km
1 Entuziastiv Street
Distance to Stadium: 5.0km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 11.5km
Distance to Train Station: 7.6km
Distance to Fan Park: 5.1km
70, 40-Richya Zhovtnya Avenue
Distance to Stadium: 4.0km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 5.4km
Distance to Train Station: 4.9km
Distance to Fan Park: 5.8km
11 Kamenyariv Street
Distance to Stadium: 3.9km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 3.7km
Distance to Train Station: 3.9km
Distance to Fan Park: 5.5km
Ibis Kyiv Shevchenko Blvd,
25 Taras Shevchenko Boulevard
Distance to Stadium: 2.1km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 6.1km
Distance to Train Station: 1.0km
Distance to Fan Park: 2.0km
Rus Accord Hotel,
4 Hospitalna Street
Distance to Stadium: 0.2km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 6.9km
Distance to Train Station: 2.6km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.5km
21 Petra Sagaidachnogo Street
Distance to Stadium: 2.9km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 8.4km
Distance to Train Station: 3.3km
Distance to Fan Park: 1.2km
Hyatt Regency Kyiv,
5A Tarasova Street
Distance to Stadium: 2.2km
Distance to Zhuliany Airport: 7.5km
Distance to Train Station: 2.6km
Distance to Fan Park: 0.6km