On Saturday, July 1, Ukrainians mark the International Day of Dnieper; the first time when the celebration took place was in 2003, when local ecologists turned public attention to environmental issues of the river, which suffers from moderate pollution – like many rivers located in or near big cities.
The country’s largest river and third largest river in Europe has been playing the major part in Ukraine’s history. It was a significant trade route ‘from Varangians to Greeks’, as they called it in the Middle Ages, and the source of water and fish for Kyiv’s residents. Kyiv Rus’ sailors used Dnieper to travel and trade with Constantinople.
Currently, the river remains an important route and the major source of drinking water for two-thirds of Ukrainians.