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Kyiv islands and coastal tracts on the Dnipro – through the ages

Parnikoza I.Yu.

Dnipro River valley almanac

National historical and architectural museum “Kyiv Fortress”

The Nature conservation team “Zubr”

Kyiv – 2013-2024

In Honour of Eduard Mykola Sharleman

«Reputed in how it’s portrayed, the Dnieper, augmenting its waters… splits before the city in two arms, of which the main one, rushing straight towards Podol… is referred to as the Dnieper itself. The other one, upon absorbing Desna… enisles Trukhanov and reunites back with the first right opposite the Nikolaev monastery».

M. Berlinski, «Kyiv city history» 1798-1799

The work is devoted to the valley of the Dnieper in Kyiv, particularly, to individual islands and floodplain tracts. The existence of Kyiv is connected with the Dnieper. The location of Kyiv hills serves them extremely well to control this powerful waterway. But coastal and island tracts also played equally important role in the birth of the capital of Ukraine. However, their role in the functioning of the city and the formation of its unique landscapes is poorly covered in the literature, with research on this question being mostly sporadic. In general, naturalistic study of modern Kyiv suburbs falls behind the studies of the central historical part, which was situated in the center of historical events and was widely referred to in written sources from the very birth of the city. Kyiv islands and coastal tracts, some of which are located directly in the modern city center, were even less fortunate. In this work, the author attempts to characterize the natural, historical and cultural value of the Kyiv Dnieper archipelago in a single comprehensive study based on the available sources. Particular attention is paid to the formation of the Dnieper valley, its dynamics, characterization of local climatic conditions, hydrological network, soil, vegetation, flora and fauna of the region described. As a part of this work the author for the first time studies the flora and fauna of a large number of Kiev flooded tracts, prepares their complex natural characteristics, finds many new locations of rare species. The results of research on the local populations of rare and endangered plant species, conducted by the author for many years, are presented. In collaboration with PhD Nekrasova, PhD N. Atamas and PhD Yu Kutsukon the author characterized the fauna of the region. A separate section of the monograph covers the history of the islands and coastal tracts from ancient times to the present. The facts are presented in accordance with the periodization of the region’s history introduced by the author. Special attention is given to emphasize the growing economic employment of the region, initially as places for fishing and to stock hay, and later to build and place production facilities. We also consider the history of anthropogenic transformation of the Dnieper valley due to the regulation of the Dnieper River, construction of bridges, alluvium mining for building purposes, etc. Separately characterized are other components of Kyiv Dnieper River valley value: water conservation, water and air-cleaning, protection against flooding, recreation, tourism and others. Besides, the work points to monuments and memorials located within the floodplain of Kyiv unfamiliar to the general public, which should be integrated into the tourism infrastructure Kyiv, significantly increasing its attractiveness for tourists not only from Ukraine, but also from near and far abroad.

The last section of the monograph covers the approaches to preserve the valley of the Dnieper in Kyiv. Specifically, it describes the history of environmental initiatives concerning the region, including a brief description of region protection history, currently protected areas, international experience of river valleys, islands and floodplain protection, and formulates proposals for the preservation of Kyiv Dnieper River valley. In particular, the concept for creation and zoning of the national park “Dniprovski Islands” was prepared on the basis of the accumulated material on complex value of the region.

Providing information about the complex value of Kyiv natural tracts to the general public is a major problem at the present stage of city existence. Indeed, in the circumstances when the interests of private developers have become a major asset for the Kyiv authorities, only well-prepared community, represented by local historians, environmentalists and common Kyiv citizens, can resist the rapid destruction of natural, historical and cultural treasures of the city. This is why this work was conducted and placed in the public domain.

Section "Fish" co-authored with Yu. Kutsokon, Section "Amphibians, reptiles," co-authored with O. Nekrasova, Section "Birds" co-authored with N. Atamas.