Saint Sophia Tour
Central Kiev TourExcursion 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Further on we pass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and come to the Andreivsky Church - built under a unique baroque influence.
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.
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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