Kiev is the capital of the Ukraine, the center of the Kiev region. It was founded between the 5th and the 6th century.
The first mention of Kiev in written sources was made in 862. In the 9th and 12th centuries it was the center of Kievan Rus, and, from 1934,
it was the capital of Ukrainian SSR. In 1965 Kiev received the title "City-hero" for which it was awarded the medal "Golden Star".
Kiev is situated on the both banks of the Dnipro River, below the mouth of the Desna River. Originality and variety of the natural conditions of Kiev are associated with its situation: forest-steppe and mixed forests. The northern part of city is situated on Podylsky lowland, south-western (right-bank) - on Prydnyprovsky height, south-eastern (left-bank) - on Prydnyprovska lowland. The surface of the right-bank part of the city - is a raised plateau-like forest plain, dismembered by ravines, dales and small rivers, left-bank lowland-like alluvial plain.
Kiev architecture reflects the Ukraine's Orthodox Christian heritage. The grand Cathedral of St. Sophia was once the site of royal coronations and features beautiful 11th century frescoes. A short trolley ride from downtown is the Percherska Lavra Monastery of the Caves, with its two cathedrals, bell tower, museums, and famous catacombs.
Rebuilt since the devastation of World War II, Kiev has other attractions like the Old Town on the Dnipro's elevated right bank, as well as lots of woods and parks, along with a full complement of arts institutions, like the Kiev Opera House and innovative Kiev Young Theatre.