Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv” is a leading museum institution of
Ukraine. Its history dates back to 1934. The conservation area includes 6
museums and its storage collections number circa 90 thousand depository units.
Among them are the archaeological materials, arts and crafts, architectural
construction materials and unique architectural drawings etc.
activity of the National Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv” was recognized
by the international community. In 1987, the International Hamburg Foundation
awarded the European Gold Medal for the preservation of historical monuments.
In 1990, St.
Sophia Cathedral of the 11th c. and its
ensemble of the 18th century monastic buildings were inscribed on
the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 1994, by Decree of the President of Ukraine St.
Sophia Reserve acquired national status.
Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv” is the largest museum complex in
Ukraine, the monuments of which are included into tour itineraries of Kyiv -
St. Sophia Cathedral of the 11th c., The Golden Gate of the 11th
c., St. Cyril’s Church of the 12th c., St. Andrew’s Church of the 18th c. and Autonomous Republic of Crimea - The Sudak
Fortress of the 3d –18th c.
Cathedral of the 11th c. is the most outstanding monument of
architecture among the properties of the conservation area. Traditionally,
visitors begin their discovery of Kyiv and Ukraine with St. Sophia Cathedral. The
cathedral is a combination of the best artistic achievements of the Byzantine Empire and Kyivan Rus.
Cathedral is the main church of Kyivan Rus. It was a political and cultural centre of
the state. Thus it was a place of the
enthronement of princes, consecrations to metropolitanate, receptions of foreign
ambassadors and conclusions of political pacts. The first library and
scriptorium of Kyivan Rus were founded in the cathedral. The name of the
cathedral comes from Greek word “sophia”, which means “wisdom”, i.e. wisdom of
Sophia Cathedral has preserved its ancient architecture and ensemble of mosaic
(260 sq.m.) and fresco (3000 sq.m.) paintings of the 11th c., which is a unique collection concerning its integrity. A majestic
mosaic portrayal of the Virgin Orans in the apse of the high altar is a focus
of attention. The image of Orans is called “the Unbreakable Wall”. From ancient
times it is believed that as long as the image of the Virgin Orans is in St.
Sophia so long the city of Kyiv