Ukraine’s first World Heritage site is well worthy of the distinction. I headed here on my first day in Kiev and it really was an impressive place to visit. It was after The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (then Constantinople), and has 13 green cupolas. The interior, like some of the cathedrals I saw in Russia, was completely covered in paintings on basically every available surface. What we see today is mostly due to renovations done in the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was still overwhelming in scope.
As you first enter the cathedral, the first thing that grabs your attention is of all the paintings. It seems like every square inch of this place has a saint or other religious icon painted onto its surface. It’s often at times like these that I wouldn’t mind a tour, just to get some information on everything that I’m looking at.
The second floor provided great views over the main hall below, and was also home to several exhibitions, the most impressive being a large mosaic of the Virgin Mary.
The cathedral was commissioned by Grand Price Yaroslav the Wise, who is also buried within. In fact, his sarcophagus is the best preserved of the few that remain on the ground floor.
Overall this was quite an interesting place to visit and I’d like to come back for another visit the next time I’m in Kiev.
Monuments: A few sarcophaguses on the ground floor of the cathedral.
Grounds: The cathedral complex is large, and there are multiple buildings you can visit besides the cathedral (unfortunately I did not have time to do so).
Visitors: Yes. This is a major tourist attraction in Kiev, and there were several groups of people there. However, the numbers were minimal.
Site: Saint Sophia’s Cathedral
Established: 1011 CE
Notable Internments: Several grand princes of Kiev including Yarsoslav the Wise
Location: Volodymyrska St, 24, Kyiv
Hours: 10:00-18:00 daily, until 17:00 on Mondays, closed Thursdays