Kiev is the capital and largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population in July 2013 was 2,847,200 (though higher estimated numbers have been cited in the press), making Kiev the 8th largest city in Europe. Kiev is an important industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of Eastern Europe. It is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions and world-famous historical landmarks. The city has an extensive infrastructure and highly developed system of public transport, including the Kiev Metro.
The city's name is said to derive from the name of Kyi, one of its four legendary founders. During its history, Kiev, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, passed through several stages of great prominence and relative obscurity. The city probably existed as a commercial centre as early as the 5th century. A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kiev was a tributary of the Khazars, until seized by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid-9th century. Under Varangian rule, the city became a capital of the Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state. Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1240, the city lost most of its influence for the centuries to come. It was a provincial capital of marginal importance in the outskirts of the territories controlled by its powerful neighbours; first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by Poland and Russia.
The city prospered again during the Russian Empire's Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kiev became its capital. From 1919 Kiev was an important center of the Armed Forces of South Russia and was controlled by the White Army. From 1921 onwards Kiev was a city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was proclaimed by the Red Army, and, from 1934, Kiev was its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but quickly recovered in the post-war years, remaining the third largest city of the Soviet Union.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence in 1991, Kiev remained the capital of Ukraine and experienced a steady migration influx of ethnic Ukrainians from other regions of the country. During the country's transformation to a market economy and electoral democracy, Kiev has continued to be Ukraine's largest and richest city. Kiev's armament-dependent industrial output fell after the Soviet collapse, adversely affecting science and technology. But new sectors of the economy such as services and finance facilitated Kiev's growth in salaries and investment, as well as providing continuous funding for the development of housing and urban infrastructure. Kiev emerged as the most pro-Western and pro-democracy region of Ukraine where parties advocating tighter integration with the European Union dominate during elections.
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Today our tour over the European cities stops at Kiev. Situated on hilly terrain overlooking the Dnepr River on both sides, which flows south through the city towards the Black Sea in northern Ukraine, Kiev is also known as the Mother of Russian Cities. It was likely settled as early as the 4th century AD, and developed as a commercial, religious, and cultural centre. Among its leading manufactured goods are machinery, machine tools, chemicals, motor vehicles, processed food, textiles, clothing, forest products, and printed materials. The city also serves as the market for an agricultural region producing grain, fruit, sugar beet, and other commodities. The city suffered heavy damage during World War II; most of it has been rebuilt since then, so the city now has modern buildings and numerous parks.
These two images captured by the Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 satellites with a time window (before / after) of 30 years aim to show the urban development in this time window. In these images it's possible to see the large urban development to the east bank along the Dnepr River and also in the suburbs of the city (visible in the image acquired in 2015).
Another aim of these images is to promote the opportunity to download Landsat data through the ESA portals, where images captured every day are made available in near real time to the users and the scientific community.
Landsat full resolution data products are freely available for immediate download at:
View Landsat 8 OLI high resolution image (JPG 2.1 MB)