Plaza de la Independencia en Kiev
Independence Square in Kiev also known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності) is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the main city squares, it is located on the Khreschatyk Street. The square has been known under many different names, but it became known simply as the Maidan due to the political events that took place there in 2004 after the Ukrainian accession to independence. " Maidan " literally translates from Ukrainian as square; coming from the Persian word for "square" or "plaza."
It 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. Until the 10th century, the square as well as the rest of Khrestshchatyk was called Perevisyshch. Where began the Sofiivska vulytsia (Sofia Street) that led to the High City there 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.
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 century – 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 centre of Kiev, which boomed immensely during the Russian Industrial Revolution, thus becoming the third most important city in the Russian Empire.
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. Following his election as the President of Ukraine, and after taking the official oath in the parliament, Yushchenko took a public oath at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in front of his numerous supporters. After the Orange Revolution, Maidan Nezalezhnosti continues to attract political protesters, but no event has ever approached the scale of the Orange protests.
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