Kiev (Ukrainian: Київ - Kyiv, Russian: Киев - Kiev) is the capital and largest city of Ukraine with 3-4 million inhabitants. It is in the north of central Ukraine on the Dnieper River (Ukrainian: Днiпро, Russian: Днепр).
The Ukrainians are understandably very proud of their capital's role in establishing European civilisation in Eastern Europe. Kiev is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, dating back to the 5th century, although settlements at this location existed much earlier. By the late 9th century, Kiev was at the centre of an emerging Eastern Slavic state. Between the 10th and early 13th centuries, the city reached its golden age as the capital of the first Ukrainian state known today as Kievan Rus, (Kyivan Ruthenia, or Rus-Ukraine). It was this state that shaped the religious and cultural foundations of the modern Slavic eastern European states.
In the middle of the 13th century, Kievan Rus was overrun by the Mongols. Later that century, Kiev became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1569 the city was absorbed into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1654 the Cossack, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, "liberated" Kiev from that Commonwealth but then promptly folded it into Russian hegemony in an action that continues to be a sore point for Ukrainian nationalists.
Full Russian annexation came in 1775 and the city remained under Russian rule, with brief independence between 1918 and 1920 during the chaos that followed the Russian revolution. Over these two centuries, Kiev experienced growing Russification and Russian immigration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it became the capital of independent Ukraine and is now discovering its place as a large European capital.
Average temperatures are maximum 26°C (79°F) / minimum 15°C (59°F) in summer and maximum -2°C (28°F) / minimum -8°C (17°F) in winter. Spring and autumn (fall) can be very brief. Heat waves featuring temperatures as high as 38°C (100°F) are rare but not unheard of in the summer months and brief but potent cold spells with temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F) are not uncommon in winter.
In general the people in Kiev are hospitable and will be eager to help you. However, if you don't have a knowledge of Ukrainian or Russian you may find service in restaurants and shops difficult, though this is slowly changing among younger generations with more exposure to English.
While 85% of residents claim Ukrainian ethnicity, most Kievans usually speak Russian (all Kievans can understand and speak Ukrainian, nonetheless); Ukrainian is primarily spoken by immigrants from Western or Central Ukraine. Like many former Soviet cities, Kiev is a multicultural place: you will certainly meet ethnic Russians - which form about 13% of the city's population - and also Armenians, Azeris, Belarusians, Georgians and Tatars. There are also people claiming Jewish, Polish, Romanians and Hungarian descent.
Officially, all signs are in Ukrainian only. Since 2011, signs with Latin transliteration are starting to make an appearance throughout Ukraine.
The conference will be held at Campus No. 3 of Kyiv National Linguistic University, which is located at Laboratorna Street, 5/17 (openstreetmap). It is ten minutes walk from Palats Ukraina Metro station.
The most attractive kind of transport in Kyiv is metro. It consists of three lines which cover big part of the city from West to East and from North to South. If you go by metro you don't need to pay more when you change the line. The price for one trip is 2,00 UAH. Other popular transport - busses, trolleybusses and trams (1,50 UAH per trip) and express busses (called "marshrutka" - near 3,50 UAH).
Vokzalna (Railway station) - PalatsUkrayina metro route map
The easiest way to travel between the city centre and Boryspil (KBP) is the Sky Bus, which operates service to/from the Vokzalna/Central Railway station station for UAH40. Buses depart every 15 minutes during rush hour, or every 45 minutes in the middle of the night, 24/7.
Before arriving at the Central Station the buses also make a stop at the Kharkivska Metro|, in the southwestern suburbs (on the Green Line, M3). If your destination lies on the Left Bank, or if it's rush hour (in which case the bus is likely to run into traffic in the center) and you were going to take the subway anyway, it might be a good idea to exit there. It's a much shorter walk to the station (especially if you have luggage), and the fare is also slightly cheaper from the airport. To do this the other way around (from the city to the airport) is less convenient, since the bus might skip the stop if it's already full (and even if it does stop, you'd be standing all the way, as most seats are usually taken at the terminus).