Kyiv Sophia National Historical and Cultural Reserve Kyiv

  • Address: Kyiv 24, Volodymyrska Str.
  •  The closest metro station: Teatralna
  •  Working hours: 10:00 – 18:00; Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
  •  Working days: Monday - Wednesday, Friday - Sunday
  •  Entrance fee: 4 Euro per person

Overview

St. Sophia Cathedral is the greatest monument of Slavic and world culture, history, architecture and art. It is one of the major architectural sites of Kiev too. The significance of this monument is confirmed by its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Cathedral was erected on the highest area of the ancient capital. The enormous frescos and mosaics can be considered an illustration to the Bible for the illiterate. They are a kind of Christian dogma encyclopedia. St. Sophia Cathedral was the center of social, political and cultural life of Old Russia. There ambassadors were welcome, the prince's letters were signed, coronations were celebrated. The well-known library of Yaroslav the Wise was kept there too. The Cathedral has been preserved. But after the Mongol invasion in 1240 it was left in ruins for more than 400 years. The gem of the temple is the huge mosaic of Maria Orans. Maria Orans is a patron of Kiev symbolizing the wisdom of God. Sometimes this mosaic is called as "Virgin of unbreakable wall" because according to legend as long as this mosaic is not damaged nothing wrong will happen to Kiev. This part of the Cathedral has never been damaged.

The Cathedral has been preserved in the forms from the epoch of Hetman Mazepa (late 17th century – early 18th century). There are some buildings of the former St. Sophia monastery there. The buildings of the former monastery of St. Sophia were also constructed in the 18th century. Until 1918 the Cathedral was the seat of the Kievan metropolitan. St. Sophia Cathedral was given the status of the state historical reserve in 1934. In September 1941 Bolsheviks tried to mine the temple. But St. Sophia Cathedral was saved from the modern barbarians. The activity of the reserve authority was rewarded with the European gold medal for the preservation of historical monuments by the international jury of the Hamburg Foundation in 1987.

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