Kyiv

Posted by Vasilisa on 27 Apr 2009

Maidan NezalezhnostiKyiv, a city of the golden domes, the Jerusalem of the lands of Rus is situated on the Dnipro River. Kyiv with about 3 million habitants is the capital of Ukraine. Kyiv was well known for centuries as one of the largest centers of Christianity in the world.

Ancient Kyivan Rus, which reached its greatest period of ascendancy during the 11th and 12th centuries, was a center of trade routes between the Baltic and the Mediterranean. The city of Kyiv and the power of Kievan Rus were destroyed in 1240 by Mongol invaders and the lands of Kievan Rus were divided into principalities located to the west and north: Galicia, Volynia, Muscovy and later, Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. Once a powerful force on the European scene, Ukraine's fate in modern times has been decided in far-off capitals. As a result, modern Ukrainian history, for the most part, has been defined by foreign occupation.

The art and architecture of Kyiv are world treasures. The Cathedral of St. Sophia, where the princes of Kyiv were crowned in the years of Kyiv's grandeur, has outstanding mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 11th century. Overlooking the old section of Kyiv, Podol, stands the Ukrainian Baroque church of St. Andrew, much beloved by Ukrainians. The Percherska Lavra, the Monastery of the Caves, a short trolley ride from the center of town, has two 11th-century cathedrals on its grounds, in addition to its world-famous catacombs, bell tower, and museum collections. Close to the center of town stands the Golden Gate, a structure which dates back to 1037. This recently reconstructed remains of the former fortified wall of the city defined the limits of the city in centuries past. Several blocks away, stands the magnificent 19th-century Cathedral of St. Volodymyr.

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