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Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 11th century
Date of Inscription: 1990, 2005
Location: Europe, Ukraine, Kiev
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Description: Kiev's Saint-Sophia Cathedral was designed to contest against Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia; formed in the 11th century within a region evangelized after St Vladimir’s baptism in 988, it suggests the 'new Constantinople', capital of Kiev’s Christian principality. The spiritual and intellectual authority of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra played a role in the spread of Orthodox notions and the Orthodox faith throughout the Russian world in the 17th-19th centuries. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev (Ukrainian: Собор Святої Софії, Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi or Софійський собор, Sofiys’kyi sobor, Russian: Собор Святой Софии, Sobor Svyatoi Sofii or Софийский собор, Sofiyskiy sobor) is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. The complex of the Cathedral is the main component the National Sanctuary "Sophia of Kiev" the state institution responsible for the preservation of the Cathedral complex along with several other historic landmarks of the city. The cathedral's name comes from the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople. According to a less popular theory, its model was the 13-domed oaken Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod, which Yaroslav I the Wise determined to imitate in stone as a sign of gratitude to the citizens of Novgorod who had helped him secure the Kievan throne in 1019. The first foundations were laid in 1037 but the cathedral took two decades to complete. The structure has 5 naves, 5 apses, and (quite surprisingly for Byzantine architecture) 13 cupolas. It is surrounded by two-tier galleries from three sides. Measuring 37 by 55 meters, the exterior used to be faced with plinths. On the inside, it retains mosaics and frescos from the eleventh century, including a dilapidated representation of Yaroslav's family. Originally the cathedral was a burial place of the Kievan rulers including Vladimir Monomakh, Vsevolod Yaroslavich and of course the cathedral's founder Yaroslav I the Wise, although only the latter's grave survived to our days. On August 21, 2007, the Saint Sophia Cathedral was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine, based on a voting by experts and the internet community. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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