Kiev - King Rurik's town? Home of princes, merchants and artisans
Kiev became the capital of ancient Russia. The Vikings knew it as Kœnugarr. It is situated on the banks of the river Dnieper, which flows to the Black Sea and was the route to Byzantium. This strategic location made it as important as Novgorod.
The town developed around three hills, one of which contained a kremlin within which lived the prince. The merchants and artisans lived around the foot of the hills, at Podol, and included Scandinavian residents.
Kiev expanded rapidly during the 11th and 12th centuries and so the earliest cemeteries have been lost. The result has been a lack of Viking finds, other than a richly-equipped chambered grave. However, the 'Russian Primary Chronicle' claims that Kiev was founded by the Viking king, Rurik.
The National Historical Museum of Ukraine was founded in 1899 to house archaeological artefacts.