Physics of Liquid Matter: Modern Problems
May 23-26, 2008, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine

St. Sophia's Cathedral

vul. Volodimirska 24, Tel. 228-6152, Open daily 10 am - 5 pm, except Thursday

It's just a short walk to get to the Kiev's oldest surviving church, St. Sophia's Cathedral. Begin walking down the street directly across from the entrance to the Golden Gate, Zolotovoritska. Keep to the right at the end of this short street and you will come out onto Volodimirska Street. The entrance to St. Sophia's is just a few steps to your left through the Southern Gate Tower. Today, the complex of buildings and churches that make up St. Sophia's is a museum. In addition to the cathedral, exhibits include models of ancient Kievan-Rus towns. Tickets may be purchased at the kiosk inside on your right just before you reach the Cathedral.

St. Sophia's is the highlight of many visitors' stay in Kiev. This majestic 13-domed church was named after the Constantinople. Sofia in Greek means "wisdom". The Cathedral was built in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise (he's buried inside) to commemorate the victory over the Pechenegs (Asian nomadic tribes) and to glorify Christianity. The church became a holy place of worship for ancient Kievites, as well as, a major cultural and political center in Kievan-Rus. Adjoining Yaroslav's Palace, Saint Sofia's was often used to receive foreign diplomats and negotiate treaties. The first library and school in Kievan-Rus were situated in the church. Sohpia's made a huge impression on the ordinary citizens of Kiev in that era, with its rich frescoes and mosaics, many of which are still intact almost a millennium later. Saint Sofia's is a national treasure of Ukraine.

Behind the Cathedral on your right stands the four-story (76 meters/249 foot), ] azure and white, stone Bell Tower (1744-1752). The Ukrainian Baroque fourth story and gilded cupola of the tower were added in 1852. On your left, heading back in the direction of the main entrance before you reach the ticket booth, is the 18th c. Refectory. It's now a museum and houses archaeological and architectural displays. Model panoramas of the city in the 10th-12th centuries depict Kiev before it was razed by Mongol invaders in 1240.