NM Learn Russian in Kiev

Saint Sophia Tour

Central Kiev Tour

Excursion timing — 2.5 hours

Our school
is situated within walking distance of the historical center of Kiev, near the Golden Gate and St. Sophia Cathedral sites. So, we naturally offer excursions to the historical sites of our beautiful city.

Golden Gate

We begin our excursions near the newly renovated Golden Gate site which for many centuries served as the main entrance to Kiev. The street our school is located on is called “Yaroslavov Val”- which means Yaroslav’s Barrier Wall.

In ancient days, this street ran along the protective wall which kept the many inhabitants safe from the almost constant threats by nomadic tribes.

The Golden Gate dates back to the 11th century and was constructed under the rule of Yaroslav the Wise.

Golden Gate remained standing until 1240 AD, when it was completely destroyed by the Mongolian warriors of Batu Khan.

The Mongolians were not able to destroy them during an attack, rather from within, after the siege, along with many of the churches and cathedrals of Kiev. In 1982, just before celebrating the 1500 year anniversary of the foundation of Kiev, a small part of the original wall was restored and now serves as a museum.

The St. Sophia Cathedral

Continuing along, we follow the most ancient of all cathedrals in Kiev- the St. Sophia cathedral, which was constructed during Yaroslav the Wise’s rule in the 11th century.
In 1990, the historical importance of this site was recognized on the basis of its artistic value to the world, and the cathedral, along with the Pechersky Monastery, was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
The Sofia Cathedral was built by the Greeks during the Byzantine Empire in 1037 and has dazzled the world with its unique mosaics and frescos for 11 centuries. The Sofia mosaics are some of the most impressive examples of Byzantine art today.

In recent centuries the cathedral collapsed a number of times and was repeatedly reconstructed, until receiving its final reconstruction at the start of the 18th century, in the so-called Ukrainian “Baroque Period”.

Also in this cathedral is a marble sarcophagus containing Yaroslav the Wise’s remains and a perfectly made diagram of the plans for Kiev during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.

Mikhailovsky Cathedral

We continue on to the newly reconstructed Mikhailovsky Zlatoverhy Cathedral, which was constructed in the 12th century. Sadly, during the Soviet and harshly atheistic times, many historical sites of Kiev paid the ultimate price. In the 20th century alone, forty-six churches and cathedrals were destroyed in Kiev alone.

The Mikhailovsky Cathedral was unable to avoid the same fate, and under a government decree in 1934, was violently blown up. Fortunately for us, some parts of the frescos and mosaics of the cathedral survived the explosion and collapse and are now on display in the St. Sophia Cathedral.

In the 90’s, the cathedral was built anew on the basis of drawings and illustrations of the original, and is now open to visitors. Within this cathedral now operates the Kiev Theological Seminary.

Andreivsky Church

Further on we pass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and come to the Andreivsky Church - built under a unique baroque influence.

According to legend, at the site of Andreivsky Church, in the 1st century, Apostle Andrey ascended the hill and told his disciples, “See these mountains?

On these mountains will good fortune shine down from God. There will be a big city, and He will build many churches”. He then erected a wooden cross.

At this site, many wooden and stone churches were destroyed by enemies even while under construction. The modern cathedral here was designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli and constructed in the 17 century under the decree of the Russian empress Elizabeth.

A twelve-year restoration of this cathedral has recently come to an end. Finally you can view fine, beautiful icons from the 17th century.

Andreivsy Hill

Near the church is Andreivsky Hill - a favorite street of most people from Kiev. Andreivsky Hill is a traditional gathering place of artists, musicians, souvenir dealers, and more.

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