Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Ukrainian: Майдан Незалежності, literally: Independence Square) is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the city's main squares, it is located on Khreshchatyk Street in the Shevchenko Raion. The square has been known under many different names, but often it is called simply Maidan.
In the 19th century, the square contained buildings of the city council and noble assembly.
- 1 Etymology and names
- 2 Location
- 3 History
- 4 Symbol of political activity
- 5 Landmarks
- 6 Gallery
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Etymology and names
"Maidan" literally translates from Ukrainian as square; coming from the Persian word "meydan", meaning area or square, which in turn is a loanword from Arabic - (ميدان) Maydān or Maiadan.  The square received its current name in 1991 in the aftermath of the Ukrainian accession to independence. Nezalezhnist (independence) commemorates the Ukrainian independence achieved in 1991 in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- 1869 - Khreshchatyk Square (Kreshchatitskaya ploshchad)
- 1876 - Council Square (Dumskaya ploshchad)
- 1919 - Soviet Square (Sovetskaya ploshchad)
- 1935 - Kalinin Square (Ploshchad Kalinina)
- 1941 - Council Square (Dumska ploshcha)
- 1943 - Kalinin Square (Ploshchad Kalinina)
- 1977 - Square of the October Revolution (Ploshchad Oktyabrskoi Revolutsyi)
- 1991 - Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti)
Independence Square is one of three squares located along Khreshchatyk close to the northeastern end of the street. It is situated close to European Square, which is the terminal end of Khreshchatyk. Aside from Khreshchatyk, which splits the square in half, several other streets lead to the square. These include Architect Horodecki Street, Institute Street, Michael Street, Kosciol Street, Minor Zhytomyr Street, Sophia Street, Taras Shevchenko Lane, and Boris Hrinchenko Street.
The square itself is a multi-level location. At ground level is the intersection of Khreshchatyk, which splits Institute Street (vulytsia Instytutska), and Michael Street (vulytsia Mykhailivska). Underneath the square, the Kurenivsko-Chervonoarmiyska Line of the Kiev Metro stretches across with its station Maidan Nezalezhnosti located underground.
Early history and Tsarist Russia
Until the 10th century, the square as well as the rest of Khrestshchatyk was called Perevisyshch. It was located just to the south of the Kiev City, beyond which were located territories of the Cave Monastery (Kiev-Pechersky) along Dnieper.
Where began Sofiivska vulytsia (Sofia Street), which led to the High City, stood one of the three main gates of the Old Kyiv (Yaroslav's City), the Lyadski Gates (other two were Golden Gates and Zhydivski Gates). Those gates are also mentioned in 1151, and around them lived the Polish population of the city, Lacka Sloboda. The Lyadksi Gates were destroyed during the storm of city by the Mongol's army of Batu Khan in 1240.
Sometime during the 18th century, the new Pecherski Gates were erected and stood until 1833. Until the late 18th and early 19th century, the area was a vacant ground known as Goat Swamp (Kozyne Boloto).
In the 1830s, the first wooden dwellings were built, and in the 1850s, stone-made buildings appeared. The most famous Ukrainian writer, Taras Shevchenko lived in that area in 1859, in a building between Mala Zhytomyrska (Petite Zhytomyr) and Mykhailivska vulytsia (Michael's Street).
The development rapidly intensified after the mid-19th century when the territory gradually became the commercial center of Kiev, which boomed immensely during the Russian Industrial Revolution, thus becoming the third most important city in the Russian Empire. Until 1871, it was called the Khrestshchatitskaya Ploshchad (Khrestshchatyk's Square); it was a location for the local market and folk entertainment. In 1876 the Kiev City Duma building was built here and the area became to be known as the Dumskaya Ploshchad (Parliamentary Square). In 1894 a line from the Kiev tram (the first electric tram built in the Russian Empire, 1892) reached the square.
In 1913 in front of the City Duma, a monument of Pyotr Stolypin (who was assassinated in Kiev in 1911) was constructed, and it stood there until March 1917 at the dawn of the Revolutionary war within the Empire.
Soviet prewar years
Soviet postwar years
During the first couple of years after the war, the square was completely rebuilt from scratch. It was architecturally integrated with the newly constructed Khreschatyk in the typical (for the time) neo-classical Stalinist architecture. The newly constructed Kiev Central Post Office and Trade-Union House with its high-rise clock located in the square, is very well known and frequently viewed in pictured taken of the center of the city.
In 1976-77, as a part of metro construction, much of the square was again rebuilt and it was renamed to October Revolution Square (Ploshcha Zhovtnevoyi revolyutsii). During the reconstruction, the massive cubist monument to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution was put up as was the complex ensemble of fountains.
After Ukraine's independence in 1991, the square was given its current name. The competing proposal of Liberty Square (Ploshcha Svobody) was raised at the time as well as in the years to follow, but the current name commemorating the Ukrainian independence is now firmly associated with the square (see the section below).
In 2001, as the square was the major center of the "Ukraine without Kuchma" mass protest campaign, the new extensive construction of the area was abruptly ordered by the Kiev mayor of the time, Oleksandr Omelchenko. The square was fenced off for construction and became inaccessible for the protesters and many observers claimed that the main goal of the project ordered by the city mayor was to disrupt the protests, especially since similar tactics were commonly used by local authorities throughout Ukraine.
Following the construction, the old familiar look of the square, with its many fountains, was significantly altered and the public reaction to the new look of the square was mixed at first. However, by now the square's monument to Kyi, Schek and Khoryv, the legendary founders of Kiev, the folklore hero Cossack Mamay, the city's historic protector Archangel Michael as well as a more modern invention, the protecting goddess Berehynia, and the many glass domes are easily recognisable as parts of the modern city centre.
A mostly underground shopping mall called Hlobus was built under the square to replace the old and shabby giant underpass formerly dubbed by Kievans as "Truba" (the Tube).
Future developments of the square include the demolition of the old "Ukrayina" hotel (formerly hotel "Moskva"), and building a new 68-floor building instead.
Symbol of political activity
As the central Kiev square, following the end of Soviet era the Maidan has been the centre of public political activity. In the autumn of 1990, students' protests and hunger strikes also known as the Revolution on Granite at the Maidan resulted in the resignation of Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukrainian SSR Vitaliy Masol.
In the 2000s the biggest political protests in Ukraine, such as the Ukraine without Kuchma campaign and the Orange Revolution took place in this square. During the Orange Revolution in late 2004, Maidan Nezalezhnosti received global media coverage, as hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in the square and nearby streets, and pitched tents for several weeks, enduring the cold and snow. One of the eminent activists during that time became Paraska Korolyuk. The protests against electoral fraud resulted in an additional round of presidential elections being ordered by the Supreme Court of Ukraine, which were won by the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.
After the Orange Revolution, Maidan Nezalezhnosti continues to attract political protesters, but no protest related event has ever approached the scale of the Orange protests. Mass rallies for political candidates, however, have attracted large numbers, with the 2009 "Batkivshchyna" party congress (during which Yulia Tymoshenko was nominated as a candidate for president) being a notable example that brought nearly 200,000 people to the square.
- Monument to Founders of Kyiv
- Independence monument
- Lach Gates
- monument to Stolypin
- bust to Karl Marx
- monument to the Great October (Lenin)
- "Hlobus" ("Globe)" underground shopping mall
- Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine
- Hotel Ukrayina
- Savings bank of Russia (Sberbank Rossii)
- building of the Trade Unions Federation of Ukraine
- building of the Main Post Office
The Maidan with the monument to Berehynia in the foreground.
- Kiev: Encyclopedic Handbook. Main Edition of Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia. Kiev 1982
- Leonovych, Sophia. "Зґвалтування столиці". Holosiiv-Inform (in Ukrainian). Retrieved December 2, 2006.
- Bilotserkivets, Vlad. "Метаморфози київського мера, або дещо з життя хамелеонів…". Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). Retrieved December 2, 2006.
- "fpk.org.ua". Retrieved December 2, 2006.
- Strikha, Maksim. "Київ моєї пам’яті й надії". Ukrainian Republican Party "Sobor" (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
- Aristova, Natalia. "Maidan Nezalezhnosti: Everything will be not so" in Zerkalo Nedeli, June 15–21, 2006. Available in Russian and in Ukrainian
- Tax code protests intensify, Kyiv Post (November 26, 2010)
- Update: Yanukovych vetoes tax code after protests, Kyiv Post (November 30, 2010)
- Yanukovych vetoes the tax code, Kyiv Post (November 30, 2010)
- Live updates of the protests, Kyiv Post (27, 28 & 29 November 2013)
- Students in Ukraine threaten indefinite national strike, Euronews (26 November 2013)
- Students from various cities across Ukraine are joining the protests, Ukrayinska Pravda (27 November 2013)
- Protests continue in Kyiv ahead of Vilnius EU summit, Euronews (27 November 2013)
- In Ukraine, Protests Highlight 'Generational Rift' , Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (27 November 2013)
- Ukraine: tension in Kyiv as pro and anti government protesters hold rallies, Euronews (29 November 2013)
- Ukraine opposition demands leader resign after EU snub, Seven News (30 November 2013)
- Майдан Незалежності in Wiki-Encyclopedia Kiev (Ukrainian)
- Scenes from Maidan Nezalezhnosti on YouTube
- Media related to Category:Maidan Nezalezhnosti at Wikimedia Commons