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Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine is ns monument of 11th-century architecture, painting, and mosaic work. The cathedral was named after Hagia Sophia and, as los main temple of ns state, played the role of its spiritual, political y cultural centre. Under the domes of saint Sophia Cathedral, there were solemn inaugurations of the Grand Dukes, holy councils, receptions that ambassadors and the signing of politics agreements. Chronicles were kept at los cathedral y the very first known library in Rus was created there.

Estás mirando: Catedral de santa sofía de kiev


It is not known for certain who founded los cathedral; there are dos common versions of ns foundation of ns shrine. Follow to Primary Chronicle, ns founder of the cathedral was duke Yaroslav ns Wise of Kyiv (c. 978-1054), who built los cathedral in mil treinta y siete after his decisive victory over Pechenegs. Various other sources state that ns cathedral was established by Vladimir los Great (c. 958-1015) in 1011. Delaware the research of pared inscriptions inside ns cathedral, historians assumed the it is possible ns foundation of los cathedral was laid in 1011. The second theory has actually been accepted by both los Ukrainian government y UNESCO, which solemnly celebrated ns 1000th anniversary of los cathedral in 2011.

The cathedral is constructed of large natural stones – granite & rosa quartzite in los Byzantine technique.


Even though we carry out not recognize the nombre of the architects, we deserve to assume that it was constructed by first-class master of los Byzantine Empire. They applied quite usual features of both Rus and Byzantine style into ns cathedral. Amongst them are los number that domes y their shape, los increased variety of naves, the distinct pyramidal shape, los disproportion between ns width y length of ns body of the cathedral, and striving because that height.

The cathedral is constructed of large naturaleza stones -papposo granite y rose quartzite in the Byzantine an approach of blended brick-stone stonework (with brick gaskets), as uno result of i m sorry two-colour strips of various textures are created on ns main surface. Los facades of los church were not plastered; los masonry continued to be open. Today, we can see ns original stonework on some unplastered sections of los cathedral.

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Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kyiv
Serhii Ventseslavskyi (CC BY-SA)

Originally, smo Sophia Cathedral was un cross-domed church with 13 domes. The sede high dome of los temple in byzantine style was built to remind the Christ – the cabeza of the Church. The 12 other domes of the cathedral were connected with los apostles. Los arches of ns cathedral represent the heavenly gateways through which los people gotten in this sacral place.

In ns 17th century, Petro Mohyla (1597-1647) y Ivan Mazepa (1639-1709) funded ns reconstruction of ns cathedral and thoroughly rebuilt the upper part of saint Sophia. Because that this work, an italiano architect Octaviano Mancini (c. 1580-1638) to be invited. Also, the entire ensemble of the surrounding structures of saint Sophia was built. Ns building of the cathedral after the reconstruction and the neighboring constructions have differentiating features of the Cossack baroque.


Inside there are 260 square meter of mosaics and 3 thousand cuadrado meters of frescoes date to ns 11th century. Mosaics of ns 11th century adorn the main parts of los cathedral – the centrar bath and the main altar. They space arranged in a strict order follow to ns heavenly hierarchy. Next to each mosaic composition, over there are inscriptions in Greek explaining the imagery. The names of los mosaicists are unknown. All los mosaics of los cathedral room made on uno shiny gold background and they room richly coloured. For all los colour variety of mosaics, los predominant tones space grey-white and blue in combination con purple. At the highest location of los main dome, there is ns mosaic that Christ Pantocrator.


The frescoes preserved in smo Sophia Cathedral additionally date regreso to the 11th siglo – they were made during los construction of ns cathedral. In ns 19th century, during ns reconstruction of the cathedral, ns frescoes to be restored with oil paints. The whole ensemble of the frescoes of los cathedral was subordinated in its contents to a single destinado a – los introduction of ns recently embraced Christianity. At the same time, the painting of ns main cathedral of the state was to show the greatness that Rus, its international recognition, and the role of Kyiv in ns political life of Europe. Hence, uno significant place is given to secular compositions. On the three wall surfaces of the central nave, opposite los main altar, a princely family members portrait of los founder of los cathedral was painted y it is either the family of duque Vladimir or his ellos eran Yaroslav.

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Saint Sophia Cathedral has served as uno tomb since its foundation. Ns necropolis of los cathedral contained burials the dukes and the higher clergy. The is also ns oldest in Rus y covers a long period that history. Most of the names of those buried in Sofia’s necropolis space unknown; however, those established burials show that prominent numbers were laid to remainder there. Ns most famous entombments belong to Yaroslav ns Wise and Volodymyr Monomakh (1053-1125).


Bell Tower

The campana tower of saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv is an architecture monument in los Cossack Baroque style. Its building and construction was sponsor by Ivan Mazepa in 1699. Los height is 76 metres (250 ft). Initially, the bell tower to be three-tiered, however in 1851-1852, it to be elevated by an additional tier y was crowned with ns wooden pear-shaped onion dome, covered con gilded copper sheets. Ns sculptural decor the the campana tower perfect interacts con its architectural composition. That is decorated con various stucco ornaments, which space interwoven con plot bas-reliefs. Practically all ns stucco has actually been preserved.


The Millennium-old background of los cathedral has actually been troubled. Saint Sophia Cathedral has survived adversary invasions, looting, partial destruction, repairs y reconstructions. Los first significant threat to ns church was the pillaging of the ciudad in 1169. Kyiv to be captured and destroyed by duque Andrei ns Pious (c. 1111-1174) that Vladimir-Suzdal, that took all los gold items y church relics, in particular, los icon of ns Blessed Virgin. Ns cathedral survived y was revived. Then came one of ns most difficult periods of Kyivan history – the siege the the city by ns hordes the Batu khan in mil doscientos cuarenta when los majority of ns architectural frameworks were turned right into ashes. Smo Sophia Cathedral survived again. However, looted y devastated, smo Sophia lost its previous beauty and majesty, although that remained los city"s main operating church. In the próximo century, Cyprian (1330-1406), ns Metropolitan that Kyiv, funded the repair of ns cathedral. In los 15th century, saint Sophia was looted y pillaged twice, first by Edigu cannes (1352-1419) in 1416 and second in 1482 by Menli me gustaría Giray (1445-1515). From 1497 to 1577 the cathedral to be abandoned. In 1577 the cathedral was repaired y later offered to los Greek-Catholic Church.

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Bell Tower of saint Sophia Cathedral, Kyiv
Posterrr (CC BY-SA)

In 1633 a new dawn come for the cathedral. Ns cathedral became ns property of the restored Orthodox Kyiv metropolitanate of los Patriarchate of Constantinople. Ns revival is connected con Kyiv urban Petro Mohyla, who controlled to found a convent, overhaul ns cathedral y decorate it. Wooden monastery structures were developed around the cathedral y the entirety territory was surrounding by ns high wood fence. Petro Mohyla associated the italiano architect Octaviano Mancini in los works in ns cathedral. Los main building materials to be brick and lime-sand mortar. Bricks were supplied for stonework walls, vaults, y foundations.

Later, los reconstruction to be carried fuera by Hetman Ivan Mazepa. Construction of nuevo stone structures around ns cathedral began. Such buildings as a campana tower, uno metropolitan house, y the entire style ensemble of the saint Sophia Cathedral were built. Ivan Mazepa gilded ns main dome in ~ his very own expense. All these buildings and the renovated cathedral derived traits of Cossack Baroque.

In the 20th century, smo Sophia Cathedral played a significant duty in history y faced many threats to its existence. At the beginning of ns century, two important occasions happened there. The first is ns dedication the Pavlo Skoropadsky (1873-1945) to ns hetman of all Ukraine in 1918 and los proclamation of the Unity plot in 1919, which flor “two Ukraines”. But soon after, the Ukrainian individuals Republic fell y the ciudad of Kyiv became part of ns Soviet Union.

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Fresco in the smo Sophia Cathedral
Unknown Artist (Public Domain)

In ns 1920-30s, Bolsheviks want to demolish los cathedral as they walk to many other churches every around the USSR, however decided to save it. The territory of ns Sophia Cathedral was declared a estado Historical and Architectural Reserve. Every gold and silver items to be confiscated, los gilded iconostasis to be dismantled, any kind of gold was stripped, and the rest was burned. In mil novecientos cuarenta y uno when the la red Army was retreating desde Kyiv, smo Sophia was mined, but los explosion did no happen. During los Nazi occupation that Kyiv, los exhibits of the Sofia Architectural and Historical museum were looted, and some of the expensive icons y photographic archives were required to Germany.

In ns post-war period, plenty of reconstructions were carried fuera de at ns cathedral and surrounding buildings. Many new frescos y mosaics to be discovered and research to be done. In 1990, the ensemble of the smo Sophia Cathedral was included in los UNESCO world Heritage List. Today, los cathedral is un highly ancha and renowned structure that attractive tourists desde all around los world. The square in prior of los cathedral is regularly offered for celebrations of freedom Day, Christmas, Easter, and many various other holidays.

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Editorial ReviewThis write-up has to be reviewed for accuracy, reliability y adherence to academic standards prior to publication.


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My surname is Artem. Identificación am uno Ukrainian student y a history enthusiast. My interests incorporate economics, history, geography, international relations, architecture, urbanism and linguistics.