The Dnieper River // is one of the major rivers of Europe (fourth by length), rising near Smolensk and flowing through Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. The total length is 2,285 kilometres (1,420 mi) with a drainage basin of 504,000 square kilometres (195,000 sq mi). The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations. The Dnieper is an important navigable waterway for the economy of Ukraine and is connected via the Dnieper-Bug Canal to other waterways in Europe.
In antiquity, the river was known to the Greeks as the Borysthenes and was part of the Amber Road. Arheimar, a capital of the Goths, was located on the Dnieper, according to the Hervarar saga.
Kiev or Kyiv (Ukrainian: Київ (Kyiv) [ˈkɪjiw] ( listen); Russian: Киев (Kiyev)) is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300, though higher numbers have been cited in the press.
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 (see Etymology, below). 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 Varangians rule, the city became a capital of the 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.