Kiev Kyiv History Will Reveal Bygone Secrets
St. Sophia Cathedral
- 24 Volodymyrska St.
Scholars say that St. Sophia Cathedral of Kyiv is a perfect example of the synthesis of art reflecting the glory and majesty of Kyivan Rus. Kyiv’s Sophia ensemble is included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. Built in the 11th century by the order of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise, Kyiv’s Sophia was the spiritual, political, social, and cultural development center of Old Rus. This was the place where Kyiv’s princes were crowned, foreign ambassadors received, and important interstate treaties signed. It is here that Grand Prince Yaroslav founded the first library in this part of the world. Sophia also served as a burial place. The sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise is still kept at the cathedral. Grand Prince Yaroslav is a prominent figure in the history of Old Rus. He was the one who established close dynastic relations with leading European countries of the time. His daughter Anne became the Queen of France (Anne de Russie) in the 1050s. Her statue is still one of the main decorations of the Alexander Bridge in Paris.
Volodymyr the Baptist
On the slope of the Volodymyr Hill overlooking the Dnieper River there is a monument to Grand Prince Volodymyr who is also called the Baptizer of Rus. It was he who introduced Christianity in Old Rus in 988. A bronze statue of Grand Prince Volodymyr was erected in 1853.
- 1 Yaroslaviv Val St.
The Gate was the main part of the city’s fortification complex built back in 1037. The complex marked the borders of old Kyiv during the time of Grand Prince Yaroslav. For centuries it served as a line of defense against many enemies. This important historical landmark was rebuilt in 1983. Today it houses the Golden Gate Museum open to everyone eager to feel the air of the Medieval Rus.
Kyiv Pechersk (Caves) Lavra Monastery
- 21 Ivan Mazepa St.
The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is one of the oldest monasteries of Old Rus. It is the most sacred place in the city, the spiritual center of Ukraine, and a second Jerusalem for Orthodox Christians. The Lavra was built more than a thousand years ago over a labyrinth of caves. Soon golden-domed temples were built, while the miles-long caves were turned into a necropolis for Orthodox saints. The shades of the underground vaults shelter 123 saints that have been resting in glass coffins for many centuries. Today the relics are worshiped by thousands of Orthodox Christians from all over the world. Scholars fail to explain how human bodies defeat time and decay without being embalmed. Even the most hard-nosed materialists have to admit the possibility of magic interpretation of this phenomenon. Another magic is also the unique old frescos preserved on the walls of the Labyrinth. The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.
St. Michael Golden Domed Cathedral
- Mykhailivska Sq.
Reconstruction of St. Michael’s Golden Domed Cathedral has become a symbol of real spiritual recovery in Ukraine. Beginning with the 12th century its majestic domes inspired warriors to defend Kyiv Rus from foreign invaders. However, the Cathedral fell victim to the atheism campaigns of the regime during the 1930s. In 2000-2001 through the careful hands of Ukrainian architects, the Cathedral was reconstructed in strict compliance and respect to the old design. Today, it entices and enchants thousands of visitors on a daily basis with its original beauty.
- Mykhailivska Sq.
Grand Princess Olha ruled Kyivan Rus from 945 through 964. She was a wise and energetic ruler that arranged the previously separated Rus lands into a well-organized and prosperous country. Olha was the first to adopt Christianity in Rus. Princess Olha’s statue is flanked by figures of the Apostle Andrew the First Called and the great educators Cyril and Methodius credited with developing the modern day Cyrillic alphabet.