Sophia Square: history, architectural monuments, events
Square is one of the many attractions of the capital of Ukraine, which has a long history. Here is installed the famous monument to the national hero - hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky. Also from the square overlooking the beautiful St. Sophia Cathedral.
A bit of history
According to legend, Sophia Square was once a field adjacent to the city walls, on which in 1036 Yaroslav the Wise was able to crush a large army of Pechenegs who attacked Kiev lands. In honor of his victory at this place, he ordered the construction of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, and the square in front of him called Sofia.
This Orthodox church is an architectural masterpiece, which is made in the original Byzantine style. Behind its walls is concentrated the richest cultural heritage dating back to the era of Kievan Rus. There are architectural monuments, numerous sculptures, paintings, works of jewelry and much more.At least 3,000 m² of ancient frescoes are preserved on the walls of the temple, although initially they were twice as large. Also here you can admire the amazing mosaic with a total area of 260 m².
For several centuries, the Sofia Cathedral played an important role in the life of the country, as events affecting the formation of statehood took place within its walls. First, the grand dukes cared about the temple, and then the hetmans. For a long time, the cathedral served as a residence for the metropolitans and was a model of the true Orthodox faith. Now St. Sophia Cathedral is a museum-reserve, not a religious temple.
Monument to the Great Hetman
Without an equestrian monument to Bogdan Khmelnitsky, it is already difficult to imagine the view of Sophia Square. This monument was opened in the summer of 1888. His story is quite extraordinary. At that time, there was no money in the city treasury for the creation of the monument, but its construction was not postponed until later. They decided to erect the pedestal from stones that remained after the construction of the bridge over the Dnieper River was completed. In turn, the maritime department also set out to help the city authorities and provided ship copper for the manufacture of the monument.
The equestrian statue of the hetman was delivered from St. Petersburg, but not immediately installed. For a while she was kept in the territory of one of the police units. It is interesting that representatives of the clergy spoke out against its installation, who did not like that the believers who were going from St. Michael’s Church to St. Sophia could see only the back of the horse, but this is not entirely ethical. In the end, the monument was installed in such a way that it looks good on all sides.
In our time, the monument to Bogdan Khmelnitsky is the hallmark of the capital of Ukraine. None of the sightseeing tours of Kiev’s sights can now do without visiting this place.
It is no secret that Sophia Square is one of the most sacred places in Kiev. This was known to all the conquerors who had managed once to subjugate this ancient city. Having entered it, the first thing they wanted was to establish here the symbols of their power - banners or monuments. For example, this happened in the winter of 1919, when the Bolsheviks managed to seize the city. They immediately began to install the busts of their leaders - Lenin and Trotsky, as well as an obelisk called "Glory to October!", Which was made of plywood.However, all these Bolshevik symbols did not last long — after six months they were destroyed by the whites who seized power in the city.
Sophia Square in Kiev played a big role in the development of Ukraine as a state. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Universals of the Central Rada were proclaimed here. On the same square, but already in 1991, the All-Ukrainian Popular Assembly was held, which adopted the Act on the State Independence of the Country.
Despite its long history, Sophia Square is still the center of modern, not only political, but also the cultural life of the city. Recently, it has become a tradition to install here the Ukrainian nativity scene, which is a popular Christmas theater. His actors show everyone their puppet shows.
In addition to the colorful and merry Christmas performances, a big, beautiful tree is installed to celebrate the New Year, which is usually delivered directly from the Carpathian Mountains. Below you can see a photo of a Christmas tree on Sophia Square in Kiev. Next to it, folk festivals are always held, accompanied by the performances of numerous folk groups.
In 2007, almost the entire area for the first time during its existence turned into a huge rink. Then everyone had the opportunity to skate absolutely free. And in the warm season, the square becomes a huge concert hall, where popular Ukrainian and foreign singers and groups perform. There are also a variety of open-air exhibitions.
How to get to Sophia Square
It is located in the territory of the Upper (Old) city, in the Shevchenkovsky district, between the St. Sophia Cathedral and Vladimirskaya Street.
It can be reached in four ways:
- go to st. metro called “Maidan Nezalezhnosti” and go down Sophia Street, passing along it two blocks;
- ride the subway to the station. "Postal Square", take the funicular and go up to the Mikhailovsky Golden-domed Cathedral, and then go through the Vladimirsky passage;
- on trolley buses numbered 16 and 18;
- go to st. Metro "Golden Gate", and then go down the street Vladimirskaya.