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7 Wonders of Ukraine: Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev

8. September 2009 by Gregg 0 Comments

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is another of the Seven Wonders of Kiev; named not after a literal “Saint Sophia”, but named after the Hagia Sophia (or “Holy Wisdom”) Church in what is now Istanbul, Turkey. It was named, along with the other Wonders in a 2007 poll that combined the wisdom of numerous prominent Historical experts and an internet survey.

Taking two decades to build, the Church is a marvel of Ukrainian Baroque architecture, featuring the famed “Pear Dome” roofs that typify a lot of the early Russian styles. Many notable figures in Ukrainian and Russian history have been buried at the Cathedral, including Vladimir II, Vsevolod I and Yaroslav I the Wise who founded the Church.

During the early Soviet Years, the Church was to be demolished and the grounds turned into a National park. Thanks to testimonials and the encouragement of Ukrainian historians, this was averted but the Cathedral was still confiscated from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and turned into a museum.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Government intended to give the Cathedral back but ran into issues as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had split into various factions, each claiming rights over the Church. This exploded into violence after the death and attempted burial of Patriarch Volodomyr, Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchy.