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Chestnuts, an archangel and a cake: the main symbols of Kyiv and their history

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Chestnuts, an archangel and a cake: the main symbols of Kyiv and their history

Traditionally, the Ukrainian capital celebrates Kyiv Day on the last Sunday of May. Find out more about the main symbols of the capital, their meaning and history

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The capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, celebrates its City Day on May 28. Over the course of its long history, Kyiv has acquired many symbols that reflect its heritage and peculiarities. So we decided to tell you about the main symbols of Kyiv and what they mean.


Some of them are official and some are informal, but they are also recognizable among locals and tourists.


Kyiv chestnuts


Kyiv is famous for its chestnut alleys that stretch across the city. Chestnuts have a special significance in Ukrainian culture and are considered a symbol of prosperity, fertility and longevity. They are also associated with the coziness and beauty of nature. Chestnut trees are an important part of the cityscape and create a special atmosphere in Kyiv.


Few people know that the history of this tree in the Ukrainian capital began only in the XIX century.


According to some legends, the popularization of chestnuts in Kyiv began in 1842, when russian Tsar Nicholas I came to Kyiv and ordered the trees to be planted on Bibikovskyi Boulevard (now Taras Shevchenko Boulevard). However, he was not satisfied with the result and ordered to uproot all the trees and plant poplar trees instead.


At the same time, the locals decided not to get rid of the chestnuts, but to plant them in their yards throughout the city.


Chestnuts became a symbol of the capital in the second half of the XX century.


The coat of arms. Archangel Michael


The coat of arms of Kyiv has undergone many changes throughout its history. However, the current version was approved in 1995. At the same time, the first mention of the Kyiv coat of arms dates back to about 500.


The modern version of the coat of arms depicts the Archangel Michael with a shield and sword in silver clothing and a purple cloak. He holds a fiery golden sword-beam in his right hand and a silver oval shield with a Greek cross in his left.


Archangel Michael is considered the patron saint of Kyiv and his image is often found in architecture, iconography, and religious processions. He symbolizes strength, protection and victory over evil.




Kyiv cake


Kyiv cake named after the capital of Ukraine, this dessert is one of the city's national symbols. Kyiv cake is known for its unique recipe, which includes delicate sponge cakes, butter cream and nut filling. It symbolizes wealth and luxury, and is also the pride of the Ukrainian confectionery tradition.


There are several versions of its appearance:


  • Official. "Kyiv Cake" appeared in 1956. Back then, confectioners at the Karl Marx factory, with the help of persistent efforts. Karl Marx factory, through hard work and many experiments, found the recipe for the very cake for which they later received a copyright certificate for inventions and discoveries.


  • Unofficial. One day, the confectioners forgot to put a batch of egg whites for the sponge cake in the refrigerator. Then the head of the shop, Kostiantyn Petrenko, together with his assistant Nadiya Chongar, baked cakes from this hard foam to hide the team's mistakes. And in order not to leave the cakes idle, the shop manager and his assistant greased them with cream and decorated the cake.




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The Golden Gate 


This historic arch is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Kyiv. The Golden Gate is a symbol of the city's rich history and its status as a cultural and political center. It is also associated with the ancient Russian heritage and the memory of Kyivan Rus.


The Golden Gate is an ancient structure that is now located in the heart of the Ukrainian capital. The date of its construction is 1164. Initially, they were called the South Gate and were part of the system of defensive structures in Kyiv. Kyivan Prince Yaroslav the Wise attached great strategic importance to the gate.




The anthem of Kyiv


The song was commissioned for the City Day of 1962 by Ukrainian poet Dmytro Lutsenko and composer Ihor Shamo. After the first performance, the lines "How can I not love you, my Kyiv!" became very popular among local residents.


According to some reports, Shamo composed the music in one night, while the lyrics took over a month to write.


The song became the unofficial anthem of the city in the year of its first performance, but it did not receive official status until 2014.


It is worth noting that each of these symbols contributes to the unique atmosphere and character of Kyiv. They reflect its history, culture, beliefs, and the pride of its residents.


We remind you! On the Day of Kyiv, you should take a walk around the Ukrainian capital and get inspired by the city's beauty. Find out about interesting tours for a small but colorful trip in our article.




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