Saint Sophia’s Cathedral (Explore)
Image by Bert Kaufmann
Собор Святої Софії / Софійський собор
Kiev/Kyiv/Киïв – Kyiv City Municipality – Ukraine
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus’. The cathedral is one of the city’s best known landmarks and the first patrimony on territory of Ukraine to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex. Aside from its main building, the cathedral includes an ensemble of supporting structures such as a bell tower, the House of Metropolitan, and others.
The first foundations were laid in 1037 (or 1011), but the cathedral took two decades to complete. (According to Dr. Nadia Nikitenko, an historian who has studied the cathedral for 30 years, the cathedral was founded already in 1011, under the reign of Yaroslav’s father, the varangian [Viking] and Grand Prince of Kievan Rus’, Volodymyr/Vladimir/Valdemarr the Great. This info has been accepted by both UNESCO and Ukraine, which officially celebrated the 1000:th anniversary of the cathedral during 2011. The structure has 5 naves, 5 apses, and (quite surprisingly for Byzantine architecture) 13 cupolas. It is surrounded by two-tier galleries from three sides. Measuring 37 to 55 m (121 to 180 ft), the exterior used to be faced with plinths. On the inside, it retains mosaics and frescos from the 11th century, including a dilapidated representation of Yaroslav’s family, and the Orans.