saint sophia cathedral
2-minute walk from the apartment

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Saint Sophia Cathedral – Things to do in Kiev

Saint Sophia Cathedral is one the most famous historical and architectural monuments in Kiev. It received different foreign ambassadors and became an important political center for the government. After being badly damaged during the reign of the Tsar, it was rebuilt to the modern cathedral that we see today.

It is also listed on the World Heritage List (UNESCO) together with the Caves of Kiev Monastery.


saint sophia cathedral kiev

The construction of the cathedral started in in 1037, which took almost two decades to complete. The cathedral’s name comes from the 6th-century Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, which means “Holy Wisdom.

It was “Vladimir the Great” , which founded the cathedral in 1011. Together with his son  Yaroslav “The Wise” Muddy , they reigned Rus Kiev in the 11th-century and were eventually buried in the cathedral.

During the invasion of the Mongolian Tartar in 1240, and the cathedral fell in disrepair. It was almost completely destroyed  in the 16th-century when Poland and Ukraine tried to unite orthodox and catholic churches. It was not till the early 17th-century that repair works had started and slowly the renovations of the buildings had begun.


saint sophia cathedral kiev

Meanwhile, if you like inside the cathedral the art-work consist of a mix between mosaics and frescos. The large mosaic art-work is of a praying Virgin Maria, and it decorates the inside of the cathedral. The 6 meters high mosaic consists of stone and glass plates of different colors and hues.

Also present in the cathedral are the portraits of Yaroslav Muddy’s family members. The paintings show scenes of the games arranged in Constantinople by Emperor Constantine, which he hosted in honor of his Princess Olga. The paintings represent clowns, jugglers, musicians, but also dancers, animal trainers and chariot races.

Nowadays the cathedral is an architectural and historical preserve, therefore it is considered the most beautiful temples in Kiev.


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