The first known formal subdivision of Kiev dates to 1810 when the city was subdivided into 4 parts: Pechersk, Starokyiv, and the first and the second parts of Podil. In 1833-1834 according to Tsar Nicholas I's decree, Kiev was subdivided into 6 police districts; later being increased to 10. As of 1917, there were 8 district councils (Duma), which were reorganized by Pavlo Skoropadskyi into 17 raions. In 1924 bolsheviks reorganized them into the bigger six party-administrated districts with various sub-districts under Hryhoriy Hrynko administration. Districts of the city that start with the letter "D" are located on the left bank of Dnieper and until 1927 were part of Chernigov Governorate with Darnytsia being the first to be incorporated within the city limits that year.
Over the Soviet time, as city was expanding, the number of districts was gradually increasing. The districts has been also commonly named after Soviet party leaders, and as political situation was changing and some leaders were overturned by the other, so district names were also changing.
The last district reform took place in 2001 when the number of districts was decreased from 14 to 10.
Under Oleksandr Omelchenko (mayor from 1999 to 2006), there were further plans for the merger of some districts and revision of their boundaries, and the total number of districts had been planned to be decreased from 10 to 7. With the election of the new mayor-elect (Leonid Chernovetskyi) in 2006, these plans were conducted.
The last Kiev district reorganization took place in 2001, and currently Kiev districts are:
Most of the districts are named after respective historical neighborhoods of the city.
The natural first level of subdivision of the city is into the Right Bank and the Left Bank of the Dnieper River (a few large islands belong to the left-bank raions).
The Right Bank (Ukrainian: , Pravyi Bereh), located on the western side of the river, contains the older portions of the city, as well as the majority of Kiev's business and governmental institutions.
The eastern Left Bank (Ukrainian: , Livyi Bereh), incorporated into the city only in the twentieth century, is predominantly residential. There are large industrial and green areas in both the Right Bank and the Left Bank.
The terms "Right Bank" and, especially, "Left Bank" are recognized in the names of Kiev's infrastructure, e.g. "Livoberezhna" Metro station.
Residents widely recognize a system of the non-formal historical neighborhoods. Such neighborhoods count in dozens, however, constituting a kind of hierarchy, since most of them have lost their distinctive topographic limits.
The names of the oldest neighborhoods go back to the Middle Ages, and sometimes pose a great linguistic interest. The newest whole-built developments bear numeric designations or residential marketing names.
Most notable informal historical neighborhoods of Kiev include:
Right Bank (west):
Left Bank (east):
Lypky and Zvirynets of the Pecherskyi Raion are the most expensive areas to live. Koncha-Zaspa is arguably the most interesting neighborhood name dating back to the times of Kievan Rus'. A local legend explaining the name of a locality states the Rus warriors who felt asleep (zaspaly) during their watch at the outpost were killed (koncheni) by Golden Horde invaders. Koncha-Zaspa is now a prestigious area too.
Another useful pattern of city division is the Kiev Metro system. However, metro lines do not cover significant parts of Kiev, making such orientation very approximate (but easy for newcomers). Sometimes, the system of elektrychka train stops are used for the same purpose.
Names of well-known shopping malls, restaurants, night clubs are used for orientation purposes as well.
The full informal set of addresses in Kiev (used, for example, in real estate advertising) would include: