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Secrets of Sophia square


Sofievskaya (Sofia) square 

located in the central part of Kiev, not far from Independence Square and the streets of Vladimir. Space is so called because of the St. Sophia Cathedral, which was built here in 1037.

The area is kind of an arena of political life, a mirror of social and cultural life of the capital. At the time of Kievan Rus collected here Veche - public meetings, right here in our days has been supported by the Act on State Independence of Ukraine.

Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in the XI century on the orders of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, and for many years served as the residence of Metropolitan of Kiev, as well as a model of the true strength of spirit to the Orthodox believers.

In 1240 Sophia Cathedral was plundered and destroyed by soldiers of Batu, in 1385 - 90 years. Metropolitan Chiprian, recreated it from the ruins, after which more than three and a half centuries, was in ruins, although it continued to operate. In 1596, the cathedral is transferred to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church, 1630-ies selected her Metropolitan of Kiev Petro Mohyla, who restored the cathedral and founded a monastery with him. Work on updating the church continued until 1740, when he finally got the present shape.

Hetman Mazepa made a significant contribution to the preservation and restoration of the cathedral. They built the belfry of St. Sophia Cathedral. To this day, preserved bell cast by order of the Hetman, who is on the second floor of the belfry. The bell is called "Mazeppa".

In 1934, an architectural complex, which includes in addition to the Sofia cathedral bell tower, the house of Metropolitan, the bursa, a refectory, the southern entrance tower, the west gate, a fraternal body, cells, and the consistory, was declared a national architectural and historical reserve "Sophia Museum.

At the turn of XVII-XVIII centuries the appearance of the cathedral was rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style. The inner walls of St. Sophia’s saved a lot of ancient frescoes and mosaics, including the famous mosaic of Virgin Orans. St. Sophia Cathedral became the first entry in the list of UNESCO World Heritage monument of architecture in the territory of Ukraine. Here shranilis well and the tomb of Yaroslav the Wise and his wife Irina. Today Sophia Cathedral - a non-religious temple and museum.

Another no less famous monument Sophia Square - a monument to the Ukrainian historical and political leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Inaugurated July 11, 1888 in Sofia Square in Kiev to celebrate the 900 anniversary of the Baptism of Rus.  The monument was erected at the request of a progressive city on public donations.

On the square in December 1648 Kievites met Cossack regiments led by Bogdan Khmelnitsky, which came to Kiev after defeating the Polish gentry.

Figure Hetman on horseback (sculptor - Mikeshin) installed on a granite pedestal (architect - Nikolayev) in the center of the square. With his left hand Bogdan constrains overheated horse, and the right, compressing the hetman’s mace (in one version), points to the north, toward Moscow. But not because it supposedly was time to unite with Russia, but because he stood in front of the sculptor important issue: Horse tail Khmelnytsky was not supposed to point to Sofia, to St. Michael’s Cathedral, so the sculpture installed this way.

Yet another urban legend says that when the monument had already taken its place, it turned out that the horse is very impolite to turn tail to the Mikhailovsky Golden-Domed Cathedral. Therefore, the pedestal was deployed, and the Hetman’s mace, which, in conception, was to threaten Poland, was directed somewhere in the direction of Sweden. But in Moscow, contrary to another common legend, Bogdan did not show ever.

Sophia Squarefascinates with its vastness, restrained but elegant furnishings. Especially fantastic it becomes a serene Kiev in the evening, when the cathedral and the monument to Bogdan Khmelnitsky envelops the bright haze of light, creating a special pacification of the soul. Mind’s eye are the pictures of bygone years: Princes, veche, leaders, triumphs, rebellion, marches ... But looking around, draw eyes just leisurely strolling step in Kiev or guests. I would like to join this leisurely vanity glorious city, and feel repressed pride in everything that happened here on this square, even, perhaps, should occur. But this is the story of the coming of the day, it is ahead of us on the move. Step, which can be done right now - in Kiev, St.Sophia’s Square.

Author Horostovska Natalia (Aranrut)

The best pleasure of listening to stories of St. Sophia's Square on our excursion to Kiev or to see ancient frescoes and mosaics during a excursion program Walking city tour "Kyiv - ity of Yaroslav the Wise" .

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