The Churches of Kiev
Kiev Travel Blog› entry 14 of 15 › view all entries
We spent this morning on the train from the Crimea to Kiev. Kiev is the capital of the Ukraine, and is a surprisingly vibrant and wealthy. 5 million people live in Kiev (although only 2.6 million are registered), giving it 10% of the Ukrainian population. The city is ancient, once the capital of Kievian Rus 1000 years ago, ruling over a swathe of Eastern Europe from the Baltics to the Black Sea, but it was built of wood and burnt down frequently, so almost nothing is left of the original city. The city was also quite small until recently (with 70 000 people in 1834), and only grew large as a sugar refining city in the 1840s. Due to its 778 day occupation by the Nazis in WWII it was designated a Soviet Hero City.
the afternoon, after arriving, we were taken on a city tour.
the national university we went to St Sophia, built from 1017 to 1031
CE. It is no longer a functional church, being turned into a national
museum in 1934, although they have a service in it once a year on
August 24th for independence day. The church is a world
heritage site due to the 11th century paintings they
recovered inside, under layers of newer paintings, with 3000m2,
more than any other church. The complex also includes the bell tower,
built in the 18th century during the major renovation of
St Sophia, and “Little Sophia” a small church that was the one
most commonly used, as St Sophia itself was too cold.
St Sophia we walked down to St Michael’s, the church facing St
Sophia down a long boulevard.
St Michael’s we walked down to St Andrei’s and Andriyivsky Uzviv,
and then caught a bus to a look out over Kiev. The look out is a
monument to the unification of Russia and Ukraine, with a steel arch
and a statue commemorating Homo
now complete with a Matrix amusement ride.
Finally we had our last group dinner, and Lydia, John and myself went out for beers afterwards with Jason and Julia.