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Top architectural sightseeing and landmarks of Kiev - ideas on city exploration routes

Kiev Pechersk Lavra, St. Andrew Church, Monument of Independence , and St. Michael Golden-Domed Monastery are the architectural landmarks for not only tourists, but also for residents of Kiev. The majority of these monuments were created several centuries ago. They witnessed many important events, so besides the architectural value for Ukraine, these landmarks are of a great historic importance. In this review, you will be able to get acquainted with the main architectural sites of Kiev. Also, we will look at them from an unusual point of view – only interesting facts and photos, which come together with a 3D visualization of every monument. Use our unique technology to fly over all architectural places of interest of Kiev – the video is at your fingertips.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Kiev

» In the 11th century, a priest dug a hole in the ground in a forest to serve the Lord in seclusion. The followers joined him. Constructions began to arise.
»  Nowadays, the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (it means “street”) is a monastery complex with 14 Orthodox monasteries. There are museums, a functioning monastery, a printing house, bell towers – 41 buildings in total. The area occupied is 30 hectares.
»  The objects that are particularly revered are the remains of the departed men of God who did a lot for the country. Wonder-working icons are brought here.
»  The holy site is located on two elevations by the Dnieper River. The white-stone Dormition Church (1073) is considered to be the main temple.
»  The landmark of the place is underground passages stretching for 400 meters. The grottoes are 15 meters deep. They have churches and crypts.
»  The relics are put in wooden boxes and covered with mantels. Some have wrists that are able to be seen to show that a body is not destroyed by decomposition.
»  Three myrrh-leaking heads rest in cells. Studies showed that the fragrant organic oil has healing properties. The phenomenon defies scientific laws.

St. Andrew Church, Kiev

» The stone Orthodox church was laid on the site of a former fortress bastion on top of a mountain in 1744.
»  The builders had to construct a 15-meter-high ground part under the base of the building to make it stronger and prevent it from being destroyed by groundwater.
»  It had been intended to be built by the time Empress Elizabeth I came to the area as part of her pilgrimage to Kiev.
»  The shape of the 47-meter house resembles an elongated cross. The church is covered with a huge dark green dome. It is decorated with gilded garlands. There are turrets rising on four sides.
»  Stucco molding and cast iron were used to decorate the walls of a religious building for the first time.
»  Turquoise walls contrast with snow-white colonnades and decorations in the form of unfolded scrolls. All items are gilded.
»  The interior is as picturesque as the exterior. All frescoes picture biblical themes. Their distinctive feature is thoroughly painted details in the characters’ costumes, their poses, still lifes, nature pictures. Such painting is not typical of cult asceticism.
»  39 icons for a 3-tier carved iconostasis had been created by a Ukrainian artist for 3 years.
»  The church is named for Andrew the Apostle.

Monument of Independence , Kiev

» The 42-meter triumphal column is located on the square in the center of the city. An architect from Kiev worked on its construction.
»  The vertical structure is faced with light Italian marble brought from the Mediterranean.
»  To make it more stable, a reinforced concrete frame was installed inside the stela. A 1.5-ton counterweight was also placed there so that the monument could resist the forces of nature. It can hold back the flow of a hurricane wind and ground movements. There are spiral stairs leading to the top.
»  The elevation resembles a temple.
»  A statue of a girl in a long shirt rises in the middle of the monument. It is a symbol personifying the Mother of God with open arms. Her all-embracing gesture means intercessory prayer. The guelder rose branch in the hands, embroidery on the dress, and headdress ribbons are painted in gold leaf. Guelder rose has always been considered a symbol of Ukraine.
»  The statue of Berehynia itself is cast in bronze. It weighs about 20 tons. The sculptor’s daughter served as a model for the female figure.
»  Three projects were selected by the jury of the competition. They formed the basis of the design.
»  The monument commemorates the independence of the state and was built on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

St. Michael Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev

» The church complex consists of a cathedral, refectory, church, and a bell tower.
»  According to legend, the monastery was founded by the first bishop of the city. The temple dedicated to the archangel was ordered by the grandson of Yaroslav the Wise (1113) as the evangelist was the heavenly patron of the townspeople.
»  The facade cladding mixes flat brick masonry and rows of stone.
»  It was the first time in the history of architecture when a dome was gilded on a religious building, which is why it is called ‘Golden-Domed’.
»  Princes of Kiev rest in this place.
»  The interior of the hall is lined with mosaic panels. There were times when such images stretched along all the walls.
»  Only 45 square meters of the original several-century-old mosaics remained intact. The pictures are called flickering as the patterns were selected in such a way that it seems the shades are opalescent.
»  The community was presented with a gift from Emperor Alexander I. He gave the icon of St. Michael into their possession. The frame is made of pure gold and decorated with diamond inserts.
»  There is an altar canopy in the monastery courtyard. It has a stone fountain bowl from where a spring comes out. It is furnished with picturesque columns and adorned with frescoes. The bowl is covered with a gilded coating.

Kiev Fortress, Kiev

» The fortifications of the ancient fortress form a whole complex. The constructions of the kind had been built since the 12th century. Fortified wall panels were erected specially for reinforcement.
»  Emperor of All Russia Peter I personally ordered the construction of the powerful citadel.
»  The defensive complex was completed in 1723.
»  The fortress had through passages built in the second half of the 18th century.
»  Museum exhibits tell visitors about the history of the rampart called the Kosyi Caponier (“Skew Caponier”).
»  Initially, three rope roads led to the fortification. The cableway was used to deliver building materials, ammunition, and soldiers.
»  Special hollows that could immediately fill with water were dug. There was enough power to overturn enemy ships. There’s evidence of the facts in the chronicles.
»  The museum complex exhibits the relics of the former construction: personal award badges, soldiers’ uniforms, weapon arsenal.
»  The wagon that transported prisoners sentenced to death from cells to the military fort remained intact. The last prisoner in the punishment cell was the designer of the fortress.

Church of the Saviour at Berestove, Kiev

» In the heyday of Kievan Rus, there was a village where the Kiev nobility used to stay. The settlement was surrounded by a birch forest. Hence the name – the village of Berestovo (‘береста’ (beresta) means ‘birch bark’).
»  The villagers had their own church. It’s mentioned in the chronicles of 1051.
»  In 1157, Yuri Dolgorukiy, the founder of Moscow, found the last shelter here. A sarcophagus-like tombstone was put on the place where the prince was buried.
»  Many centuries later, a bell tower was built near the main building.
»  The original brickwork – the stripes of pink mortar and slabs – was partially preserved in the church.
»  The interior has a 12th-century fresco called Miraculous Fishing. The painting pictures the apostles catching fish from a lake.
»  The walls were painted by the masters invited from Athos.
»  Today, the house of God looks like a five-headed building. The last renovation transformed the Church of the Savior at Berestovo. The roofing was repaired, and the domes were gilded. The temple that went through many alterations during the history is still functioning.
»  In 1900, during archaeological excavations, the slate tombs, presumably from the time of Ancient Rus, were found here.

Mother Motherland, Kiev

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Facts: » The unbreakable spirit of the nation that managed to go through the terrible patriotic war is embodied in the 102-meter monument standing on the city’s highest point. It can be seen from afar.
»  A female figure with a shield and a sword reflects the image of a protector.
»  Sculptors, construction engineers, surveyors, and scientists worked on the commemorative monument.
»  A slope was drilled 34 meters deep to fix and construct a 32-meter-high base. The metal frame and skin were cast in Zaporozhye, after which experts welded solid stainless steel sheets on site.
»  The entire structure weighs 450 tons, the sword is 9 tons, the shield with an emblem is 13 tons.
»  It’s still a mystery what happened with the tower crane used to build the monument. Some say it was dismantled and dumped into the Dnieper.
»  The monument can withstand the ground movement of magnitude 8.0. There’s a device at the top of it that controls wind gusts.
»  The hollow inside of the statue allows using two lifts to reach the observation platform in 12 minutes. The cab can hold two people. There are stairs installed in narrow parts of the figure.
»  A sculpture of this size had not been made in the USSR before.
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