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Sophia is one of the oldest and most famous churches of Ukraine, located in the center of Kyiv and is considered a unique monument of painting and Ukrainian architecture of 11-18 centuries. It is an area that belongs to the monastery of St. Sophia, and is part of the same National Reserve.

According to "Tale of Bygone Years", St. Sophia Cathedral was founded in 1037. Novgorod Chronicle delivers another date - 1017. But be that as it may, the founder of the cathedral is considered to be of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The centuries-long history of this magnificent monument is full of enemies’ invasions, partial destruction, looting, repairs and reconstructions. At the time of Kievan Rus at the cathedral the first school and library were built, there were written chronicles here the princes went to the throne, received ambassadors and claimed important political agreements.

Sophia is famous for its famous mosaics and frescoes. Especially valuable are mosaics dating from the eleventh century that adorn the main altar and the central dome of the temple. They depict the main characters of the Christian religion. Image Orans (in shape of the Virgin Mary, who raised his hands in prayer) is a real masterpiece of mosaic art. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that through the implementation of an image on the inner surface of the dome, Orans of each point of the cathedral looks different - bowed in prayer, standing on your feet or on lap. Mosaic pattern pleasing to the eye glowing golden background, rich colors, brightness and saturation of colors. In images dominated by blue and gray and white tones that blend with soft purple.

Frescoes of St. Sophia also are dated back to the eleventh century. During the reconstruction of the cathedral in the nineteenth century they were renewed in oils, using the contours of the old images. Later, during another restoration, accidentally discovered that a layer of oil paint and plaster preserved many ancient frescoes. They opened where it could be done.

From time immemorial Sophia served as the burial place of the higher clergy and princes. In the necropolis church are dozens of ancient tombs, covering almost a thousand years - starting in 1054 and ending in 1995 year. Identification graves showed that necropolis found the last refuge of such eminent persons as Yaroslav the Wise and Vladimir Monomakh, St. Macarius, Gideon (Svyatopolk Chetvertinskaya) and others.

by Ostap Ukrainets