A major transportation hub, historically Zhitomir linked Kyiv with the west through Brest, and currently connects Chop with Kyiv and Minsk with Izmail and other Ukrainian cities.
Historically, this city of 280,000 was one of the more prominent urban centers of the medieval State of Rus, first showing up in written records around 1240. Legend has it that it was first established in 884 by Zhitomir, the prince of the Drevlians (a Slavic tribe).
Economically, the area around Zhitomir specializes in granite quarrying, indicated by the intricate and rather exquisite quarry markers and memorials lining the route from Kyiv. Throughout the city, there are hidden overlooks to the rivers that wind through it. The city also boasts a particularly breathtaking World War II memorial and eternal flame that sits atop the highest hill in town.