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From the series of excursions in Kiev
"
Golden Gate - Kievan Rus Gateway"

Golden Gate at times of Kievan Rus was the central entrance gate of Kyiv, right now - one of the oldest architectural monuments located in the heart of the city. Why golden? Because Yaroslav the Wise ordered to erect the construction by the Byzantine pattern in the manner of the famous Golden Gate in Constantinople in order to all distinguished foreigners could immediately notice Kyiv’s glory and his greatness.

Chronicle claims that Golden Gate and Saint Sophia Cathedral are of the same age, and the dates of their finishing is 1037 year. However, already in 400-500 years, documents show that gate was laying in ruins, and in the 17th century all there mains of structures were covered with earth, forming in their place bastions. The reason for the destruction of the gate remains unknown, and seems to be unknown forever. In 1832, after the excavation, Golden Gate saw the light again. At that time it have been the two surviving stone structures on the hill on which there were prints of ancient wooden beams. Strengthened with buttresses and connections after repair of masonry, the remains of the gate in this form existed formore than 150 years, until they were decided to be restored in 1970.

Golden Gate has been reconstructed in the form of donjon tower (with geared walls) with so-called "small tower" on the external facade. On the one side the passage is closed with lifting gate, and on the other -with the swing gate, made by example of Russian fortifications of the period. Gate Church restored in a single bath house, of course, by Byzantine modelas well. At the external part of the gate there are stored wooden defensive wall, which gives the Gate its authentic look.

 Inside the Golden Gate now there is a museum dedicated to the history of the actual building - its construction, reconstruction and existence. The central element of the exhibition are the remains of the original Golden gate. In addition, traces of that period fortifications can be seen in the topography of the area - for example, the existence of the external shaft pit indicates a significant difference at the height Zolotovorotskay passage.

While visiting the museum, you can hear a lot of legends about the city in general and the Golden Gate particularly. Extremely catchy and original is the story of the destruction of the gate:

It is said that the following happened during the Mongol invasion, when mongols came to Kyiv, in the city lived knight, named Mykhailyk - and he gave the Tatars to know that the city has a strong defenders. Than Tatars told towns people to give them Mykhailyk and they will kill no one in Kyiv. Mykhailyk heard citizens consulting to give him toTatars, mounted his horse and shouted that while giving him they will neither see Golden Gate once again nor will they hold out. Then he rode through the city,pulled out of the ground the Golden Gate and brought them to Constantinople, where they still stand. Soon after that Kyiv was ruined.

People say as well, that the sword "Scherbets", which was a symbol of the Polish crown of King Boleslaw I the Brave broke exactly at Golden Gate.
Of course, there’s hardly any true factin both legends, but they clearly indicate that the Golden Gate was fabulous building and well-known in neighboring countries, not only in Russia, and that even after the destruction they continued to personify formidablity and unbreakable power to which we can touch nowadays.

by Ostap Ukrayinets'

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