Lybid River

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Природнє русло Либідь в неприродних обіймах бетону.jpg
Country Ukraine
Basin features
River mouth Dnieper
Basin size 68 km2 (26 sq mi)
Physical characteristics
Length 16 km (9.9 mi)

Lybid (Ukrainian: Либідь) is a small river in Kiev, Ukraine, a right tributary of the Dnieper, flowing within the "Right Bank" (original) part of the city, just to the west of the historic center. The Lybid has played an important role in shaping Kiev's urban landscape and, later, in aiding the city's drainage system.


The Lybid runs east, then south east, then roughly parallel to the Dnieper for part of its city presence, and is now culverted for much of its flow, but can be seen along the railway lines south east from the main station of Kiev. It takes a sharp eastward turn and enters the Dnieper several kilometres south of Kiev's centre.

The Lybid has a number of small tributaries, the most notable being the Khreschatyk River, running parallel to modern Kiev's main street, Khreschatyk, and entering the Lybid from the left. Another notable tributary, with small lakes on its course, joins just as the Lybid turns to the east in the Montajnik area south of central Kiev.


Some believe that the river was named after the possibly mythical Lybid, sister of the legendary founders of Kiev, Kyi, Schek and Khoryv. Others state that Lybid was a former ruler of the Kyiv prior to times of Kievan Rus'.


References to the Lybid River were first made in records as far back as 968 A.D. The Lybid was then a relatively big river, as deep as 20 meters in some places. It formed the southern boundary of the city.[1] In the 19th century the river was widely used for milling. In some places it was quite wide - up to 50 meters. Three watermills were situated on one of these wide places where the river formed a reservoir with small islands on it. The biggest watermill was Mikhaylivska. Before its embouchure there were in total 7 watermills. Due to the milling business the surrounding area began to develop, with inns and small villages. Late in the 19th century, construction of the railway alongside began.

Current Condition[edit]

It is an understatement to say that the Lybid's glory days are well behind it. Today, it is no more than half a meter deep and does not exceed four meters in width. Its course now is mostly subterranean, flowing through concrete pipes, polluted as it flows past the town's industrial areas.[1]

Failed Plans[edit]

The sorry state of the Lybid owes to the failure to materialize of a series of plans for its conservation. They included imperial decrees. When Russian Emperor Nikolai I visited Kyiv in 1850, he ordered the construction of a canal along the river. The directive was to build the canal all the way to the Dnieper River. Unfortunately for Lybid the Crimean War broke out and work was halted. After the war, the Czar died and the plan never really took off.[1]

Then in 1891 the city council, or Duma, came up with a plan to create a boat channel. It would be five kilometers long, four meters deep and 32 meters wide. The budget was a mammoth 250,000 rubles, which was ten times that of the city's budget. However, it was once again a major war, the First World War, that thwarted the plan.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "The mystery of the Lybid River". Retrieved 22 July 2013. 

Coordinates: 50°26′47″N 30°24′37″E / 50.44639°N 30.41028°E / 50.44639; 30.41028