Kiev’s history is inseparable from the history of development of all Slavic nations and the history of the Ukrainian state. How many epithets awarded to our capital – a World War II city-hero, Golden Domed Kiev, a Spiritual Center of Orthodoxy and many many others. There are some versions of the Kiev’s development.
Who did establish Kiev?
According to one of them the settlement was founded by Sarmatian tribes before the Christian era and that means that Kiev is much older than 2000 years old. Too zealous historians have managed to find it on the maps of Ptolemy (100002nd century AD).
According to another one, standing on a hill near the Dniper Saint Andrew prophesied about the great and holy city.
The third version is based on a legend about three brothers and their sister. The excavations of the XX century have confirmed that Kiy (the oldest brother) was a nonfictional person. He really founded Kiev, that was mentioned in chronicles of the beginning of V-VI centuries.
This date is officially considered as the beginning of Kiev’s history. And historians found out that fact that Kiy was a founder of the whole dynasty.
First it was fortress city of ancient Polyanes. Its walls were surrounded with ditches and fortifications. It was founded in Starokievskiy hill, then gradually been expended down to Podol and further.
In 882 happens change in dynasty, when Oleg the Wise leads his troops to Kiev. He has invited princes Ascold and Dir for a feast in Ugorskiy Hill, after then both princes were killed and it was a start for the unification of the Slavic lands around Kiev. So started the Kievan Rus’ history.
During the reign of Oleg Kiev became one of the largest cities in Europe, and the world had known about the power of the Kievan princes.
Oleg was Rurikovich himself – a descendant of legendary Scandinavian Prince and the founder of the ancient imperial dynasty, which reigned until era of the Romanovs. Oleg’s successor at the Kiev throne became his son Igor.
After Igor was killed, his wife Olga became a ruler of Kievan Rus who was the first accepted Christianity among Slavs and even been trying to baptize the Rus, but it was failed. But for her wisdom and piety is canonized by the Orthodox church.
The era of Vladimir the Great
The Christian baptism Rus has got during the reign of Vladimir the Great in 988. Kiev becomes a spiritual center of Christianity in Rus. Namely during this time were built a lot of churches and temples, due this we have an opportunity to admire the golden domes of the our capital.
That’s why Kiev has long been called the gold domed. Right after the Baptism Vladimir started to build first temple – Desyatinnaya Church. It’s famous because it was the first building of ancient architecture that was built of stone.
Unfortunately, it has not been preserved up to now, it was destroyed by Batu Khan during the attack of Kiev.
Yaroslav the Wise
The greatest flowering of Kievan Rus’ was when Vladimir the Great was succeeded on the throne by his son Yaroslav, which after wards has got a nickname the Wise.
During his reign the Kiev territory became much bigger, and on the site of the battle with Pechenegs, after unconditional of Rusichis Victory there was built St. Sophia Cathedral in 1037.
During his reign were built new fortifications around Kiev, were built Golden Gate, and two monastery were established. Yaroslav dreamed of turning Kiev into spiritual mecca of Christianity and he succeeded brilliantly.
Due to Yaroslav were translated many christian and scientific books from Greek into Slavic.
Were created such works as “Words of Law and Grace” and completed the first Russian legislation “Russian Truth”.
In St. Sophia Cathedral was founded the first library. Yaroslav’s children were linked by family ties with the ruling dynasties of Europe, thus contributed to the strengthening of the Kiev principality.
Somehow after Yaroslav’s death as a result of civil strife Kiev gradually turned into a bone of contention between the princes and it was transient in one hands while others.
Finally, the biggest part of the Ukrainian territories was attached to the Lithuanian principality in 1362.
So, that was the end of the Prince’s Era of Kievan Rus’.
To get free from the Lithuanian oppression has helped the establishment of Zaporozhzhya Sich. Hetmans came to power.
The ancient city in miniature
If you have a desire to see all the beauty of ancient Kiev architecture, come to Kiev and be sure to visit The Kiev Miniatures Park, that is located in the Hidropark territory where you’ll be able to see many temples, monuments, sights in a scale 1:33.
A park is unique – all models are outdoors, so they need often be restored. Besides that organizers are busy with creation of the new models. It has been prepared about 4 years till it has been open.
The creation of each model of the building is a painstaking process, because it is often a handmade work.
There are about 700 models at the Mini-Kiev’s territory. Here are allowed to perform wedding ceremonies, as this place is attracting the newlyweds. Here are its own Mini-Khreshatik, Dniper river with its bridges, Maidan and even an Airport with airplanes.
Let’s take a look at Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra. In the beginning it was a monastery established in the times of Yaroslav the Wise. Its main attraction are caves where are stored the incorruptible relics of the temple founders Anthony and Theodosius, and not only. Here were buried Ilya Muromets, Nestor the Chronicler, Agopit the healer, and 118 of Saints.
Lavra bell Tower
This is a whole architectural ensemble consisting of three main parts. But special attention should be paid to the Lavra bell Tower that was built by an architect Johann Schedel in 1731-1745. At one time Ivan Mazepa had financed the construction of the foundation what for were used 5 mln. pieces of breaks of different size and form.
The basement is buried six feet deep. The structure of the bell tower is a four- tiered tower – 96 and a half meters in length and 28 meters in diameter. The thickness of the bottom wall is 8 meters.
St. Michael Golden Domed Monastery
The history of this monastery is remarkable, it was founded in the era of the Kievan princes, miraculously escaped and survived to the present day. It famous because it contains the relics of St. Barbara.
In 30th of the past century it began be erode and all historical relics started to export. But due to a miracle the temple was not completely destroyed and even till now makes happy the Orthodox pilgrims and tourists of its beauty and stateliness.
It was found during the reign of the son of Yaroslav the Wise, Vsevolod. It’s present view was formed at the end of XVII century and the beginning of XVIII.
The center of this composition is St. Georgy Cathedral. At the territory of monastery there is preserved the ancient St. Michael’s Church, dating of the XI century. It was refurbished in XVIII by an architect M. Yurasov.
It is an oldest monument of architecture, history of fortification technology that kept to our days. It was built at the same time with St. Sophia Cathedral. One of the three gates in a strong chain of fortifications built by Yaroslav the Wise around the upper town, the most triumphant, powerful and solemn gate through which Kiev has met the winners.
St. Sophia Cathedral
St. Sophia Cathedral it is not just a downtown, it is Kiev’s heart. Its dimensions are impressive. Its land over five acres filled with architectural monument of the ancient architecture with majestic St.
Sophia Cathedral in the middle. It is a world famous monument of architecture and art of the XI century that is a symbol of the unity and power.
Uspenskiy Cathedral in Lavra
Uspenskiy Cathedral is of the same age as St. Sophia. It is a great spiritual center of Orthodoxy and whole Christianity, due to its authority that has formed along centuries.
Despite of countless destruction, rebuilding and the almost complete destruction of the explosion on November, 3, 1941, cathedral was rebuilt after the long-term war (100001951-1972).
Church of the Nativity in the Podol
It has a special meaning for Ukrainian people. Namely here was a coffin with the body of the great grand son of Ukraine, its main kobzar T. Shevchenko on the way to the last resting place of his.
Temple is one of three Empire styled, the neoclassical cathedrals built in 1810-1814 by architect Milenski and destroyed in 1930.
If to walk down by the steep and curving Vladimirskiy Descent to Podol, so to the eye there will be open nice picture of almost whole Podol area.
Church of the Nativity is situated in the corner of Alexandrovskaya street and Pochtovaya square is the end of the road leading from the hill down to Podol.
The National Bank of Ukraine
This building is almost 200 years old. It was built in 1839. Shortly after construction has been complete there was purchased a large two-store building at Institutskaya street that belonged to the noble assembly.
It was a fancy two-store building with a spectacular eight-columned portico and two tabs on the sides of the facade. The building was purchased for the expansion of commercial activity, for which was not enough its own building.
St. Andrews Church
Andrew’s Church – it’s a swansong of the legendary architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. It rises on a hill of Starokievskaya mountain. From its terrace you can see the whole Old Podol area, Dniper river and new residential areas.
The church was built after the wish of empress Elizabeth. Construction was carried out by the Ukrainian architects with the assistance of the specialists from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
This magnificent building is a monument to the community of the masters. Throughout its existence church was restored numerous times. Soon after Elizabeth’s death it had been abandoned for many years.
The National Opera
In the central part of the town, at the intersection of the most crowded streets – Vladimirskaya and Bohdana Hmel’nitscogo, between the St. Sophia and National University there is a pearl of Ukrainian architectural Art a real temple of Muses – The National Opera. The appearance of this pearl was preceded by sad event. On February of 1896 during the morning staging of “Eugene Onegin” in one of the dressing room there was a fire that quickly went over to the other premises.
In couple of hours from the city theater building that was built in 1856 by architect I. Shtrum, were almost nothing left. It was not en extraordinary event. Only during two years in America and Europe burned out 22 theaters.
And only due to human genius and inspiration from above, there were created new architectural masterpieces that still delight us with its grandeur and magnificence.
Park “Kiev in miniature” – it is a unique chance for Kiev residents and guests of our city to take a glance at Ukrainian capital’s sights with an eagle flying high.
An additional info:
Address: Kiev, “Hidropark” metro station, Brovarskoy prospect, 9-V. Near the restaurant “Mlin”.
Tel. : 516-46-10, 541-03-56
Working hours: Mon – Fri 10:00-19:00, Sat-Sun and holidays – 10:00-20:00
Admission Fees: 10 grn, pensioners and children up to 8 years free admission.
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