Sunday, 2 August 2020

Ukraine Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest Ukraine cities.

Kyiv is the official version of what we would most often see as Kiev, and thought to come from the name of the legendary founder of the city.

Kharkiv is another supposedly named after its legendary founder, Kharko.

Odessa was named after the Greek city of Odessos, at the suggestion of either Catherine the Great or, as his memoirs claim, her secretary of state Adrian Gribovsky.

Dnipro takes its name from the Dnieper River, the origin of which depends upon whether this comes from Sarmatian and 'the river on the far side' or Scythian for 'deep river'.

Zaporizhia took the name in 1921, it means 'beyond the rapids' but as the river has now been dammed and the river valley flooded, the rapids are no more.

Lviv was named to honour Leo (1228 - 1301), the eldest son of Daniel, King of Ruthenia.

Kryvyi Rih transaltes as 'the crooked horn' or 'the curved cape', either way describing the local topography.

Mykolaiv was named after Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers.

Sevastopol has Greek origins in sebastos polis meaning 'the venerable city'.

Vinnytsia has been in use since the 14th century andis thought to come from the Old Slavic word vino meaning 'bride price'. When captured by Duke Algirdas of Lithuania in the 14th century, he gave these lands to his nephews.

Simferopol is another Ukranian name coming from the Greek. Here the name of Sympheropoli means 'city of common good'.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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