Are you interested? Then hurry up to the capital centre! Imagine you standing in the middle of Independence Square and looking at the Lach Gates, while a triumphal figure of my defender Archangel Michael is looking at you with a barely perceptible gentle smile. These gates were built so long ago that it is difficult to remember the exact date, their first mention in the chronicle dates back to 1151. The Lach Gates was part of the defensive complex of fortifications in a princely city of Yaroslav.
These gates have forever entered in world history as a result of the events of 1240. For more than 70 days the siege of my fortifications by numerous Mongolian and Turkishled hordes led by Batu Khan lasted. But they stormed the city through the Lach Gates.
However, my history lives not only by wars and conquests. You can see a fan-shaped run of the streets from this point on Independence Square and on each of these streets you will find many personal discoveries. However, if you are a romantic person, I suggest you to make a walk along Kostolna Street. Read more about this route in the "I am a romantic" section.
Quite a limited number of cities can boast of such a rich and interesting history as mine. But even fewer number of cities can reveal to a modern researcher of ancient history such important artefacts as which I possess. So next we will visit a real legend of ancient times - the Golden Gate. This legend was built in the early 11th century and its first mention dates back to 1037. What was the Golden Gate for the city inhabitants at that time? And was it truly golden? There is no doubt that the Golden Gate is an integral symbol of mine today. The symbol of Kyiv.
The Golden Gate was a symbol of greatness, prosperity, and power, as well as the main gate of the city for its inhabitants of the 11th century because the Gate was never conquered by enemies during its entire existence.
Honorary guests of the prince, ambassadors, and merchants entered the city through the Golden Gate. The prince's wife went out on a triumphal procession. The prince's daughters and the embassy went to distant lands to mount the thrones of European kingdoms.
A "precious" name to the Gate was given by analogy with the main entrance to the city of Constantinople. The Annunciation Church was built above the gate, its dome was made of copper and glittered with a golden glow in the sun. The Golden Gate's restored building carefully preserves glorious past and the remains of an authentic defence structure, the main volume of which now keeps the museum.
The Golden Gate Museum has also a recreated gate church called the Annunciation Church. Many Kyivans believe that if you visit it and make a wish while standing in the centre under the dome, you will get the "good tidings". And if you want to know about some other miracles, then go to the "I am a mystic" section.
Therefore, having overcome the front sidewalk of the main gate, we find ourselves in the city of Yaroslav, the heart of Kyivan Rus and our next stop is Saint Sophia Cathedral. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the place where time stops in the centre of a modern and bustling metropolis. It’s a long story about the temple built in honour of the holy Wisdom of God (Sophia), but this picture is worth a thousand words.
Visit the main church of the Sophia Monastery, go up to the central choirs and you will see what will divide your life into 'before' and 'after' - a mosaic image of Our Lady Orant. There is a belief among the Kyiv natives that as long as Orant stands (also called the Indestructible Wall), Kyiv will stand. And if we take into account that it has survived from the 11th century till these days and has not succumbed to harsh historical circumstances, then it is truly strong enough.
Next we cross Sofia Square, a place where in ancient times the city community gathered to resolve fateful issues, then we overcome the intersection of Velyka Zhytomyrska Street and Volodymyrska Street and go further to Starokyivska Mountain. Oh, by the way, I have a hint for those who are attentive! After the intersection, pay attention to the carriageway of Volodymyrska Street, as there are foundation outlines highlighted in red stones. It is another historic building - Sofia Gates.
Why are we going to Starokyivska Mountain? Because it was here where Kyi, Shchek, Khoryv and their sister Lybid founded a settlement and named it Kyiv in honour of their older brother, Princess Olga cared for her little grandson, who will grow up to be the Baptist of Kyivan Rus (Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles), and it is the intersection of all roads and interesting routes of my rich inner world.
See you there! Your Kyiv.