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Kiev Sights | Saint Sophia Cathedral | UNESCO World Heritage
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Kiev Sights | Saint Sophia Cathedral | UNESCO World Heritage
Saint Sophia Cathedral was created as the main cathedral of Kievan Rus in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Inside Saint Sophia Cathedral princes were erected on throne of Kiev, here they received foreign ambassadors and conclude treaties. In the cathedral was conducted chronicles and founded library of Yaroslav the Wise.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev belongs to cross-type cathedrals. Their core is spatial cross in the center of which is located the dome. The dome rests on four pillars with arches from which diverge cylindrical vaults of the main nave and transept. This type of cathedral buildings was formed in Byzantium at the end of IX century. Length of Saint Sophia Cathedral in the east-west direction is 41,7 meters and the width from north to south - 54,6 meters with a total area of 2310 square meters.

Saint Sophia Cathedral | UNESCO World HeritageLighting space provided by windows in drums of domes which are above Saint Sophia Cathedral thirteen domes. Such many domes in history of Byzantine churches construction does not know. The other difference is that the cathedral has a pyramidal silhouette. The modern appearance of Saint Sophia Cathedral was created at the beginning of XVIII century. It significantly changed superstructure of external galleries with new large domes on them.

Interior of Saint Sophia Cathedral is decorated with mosaics and frescoes. Area of mosaics of the cathedral that stored until today is 271 square meters and the area of original mosaic images reached 640 square meters. Approximate area of frescoes stored in all parts of Saint Sophia Cathedral interior is 3000 square meters and their tentative initial area reached 6 000 square meters.

The core of picturesque ensemble of Saint Sophia Cathedral is the image of Christ Pantocrator surrounded by four archangels placed in the central dome and the figure of Virgin Oranta in the conch of apse of the main altar. Oranta means Virgin who prays.

Saint Sophia Cathedral OrantaOranta figure dominates in the interior of the cathedral and over other mosaics and frescoes. Its height she is about 6 meters. Oranta is standing with hands raised on a wide platform decorated with precious stones. On her - blue tunic, purple mafory with gold folds and red boots. From his belt hangs a white handkerchief. Oranta figure stands out among the paintings of Saint Sophia Cathedral with special grandeur, monumentality and richness of colors.

In 1987 an international jury of Hamburg Foundation awarded Sophia Reserve by European gold medal for preservation of historical monuments. In 1990 Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev together with the whole complex of monastic buildings was included in UNESCO World Heritage list. After Ukraine gained independence the reserve acquires the status of a national and now its name is National Reserve "Sophia of Kyiv".

You could visit Kiev Sights - Saint Sophia Cathedral | UNESCO World Heritage with Tour "Kiev Sights"

Pavel Korsun | Ukraine tours travel guide

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