Golden Gate, Kiev

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This article is about a structure in Kiev. For other uses see Golden Gate (disambiguation)

Coordinates: 50°26′56″N 30°30′48″E / 50.44889°N 30.51333°E / 50.44889; 30.51333

View of the Golden Gates after recent major renovations.
In the 1970s, prior to reconstruction, the Golden Gate still retained its traditional shape, a shape that had been remembered for centuries.

The Golden Gates of Kiev (Ukrainian: Золоті ворота, Zoloti vorota, literally 'golden gates') is a major landmark of the Ancient Kiev and historic gateway in the ancient city fortress, located in the capital of Ukraine. Currently it serves as a museum and can be found on the corner of Volodymyr street and Yaroslaviv Val Street (Yaroslav's Moat). The name Zoloti Vorota is also used for a nearby theatre and a station of the Kiev Metro.

History[edit]

Bolesław I Chrobry and Sviatopolk the Accursed at Kiev, in a legendary moment of hitting the Golden Gate with the Szczerbiec sword. Painting by Jan Matejko

Modern history accepts this gateway as one of three constructed by Yaroslav the Wise. The golden gates were built in 1017-1024 (6545 by the Byzantine calendar) at about the same time the Saint Sophia Cathedral was erected. While some believe that the gates stood some time before that - as depicted, for example, in a painting by Jan Matejko that portrays Bolelaw Chrobry and Sviatopolk I entering the city during the Kiev succession crisis in 1018 - this is now regarded as legend. Originally named simply the Southern Gate, it was one of the three main entrances to the walled city, along with the Lyadski and Zhydivski (Polish and Jewish) Gates.[1] The latter two have not survived. The stone fortifications stretched for only 3.5 km (~2.5 mi). The fortification of the Upper City (Fortress) stretched from the Southern Gates down to what is now Independence Square and where the Lechitic Gate (Polish Gate, Lackie wrota)[2] was located. From there the moat followed what is now Kostyol Street, skirting St. Michael's Monastery and continuing along today's Zhytomyr Street toward the Jewish Gates (at Lviv Square). From there the fortification stretched what is now Yaroslaviv Val ("Yaroslav's Rampart") Street back to the Southern Gate.

Later the Southern Gate became known as the Great Gate of Kiev. After the Blahovist Church (Church of the Annunciation) was built next to the gates, its golden domes became a prominent landmark easily visible from outside the city. Since then, the gateway has been referred to as the Golden Gate of Kiev. The gate's passageway was about 40 feet high and 20 feet wide. For almost half a millennium, it served as the city's Triumphal Arch, a prominent symbol of Kiev. It was reputedly modeled on the Golden Gate of Constantinople. Later a similar name was given to the gates of Vladimir city where one of the Monomakh's descendants, Andrei I Bogolyubsky, established his own state, the Grand Duchy of Vladimir. In 1240 it was partially destroyed by Batu Khan's Golden Horde.[3] It remained as a gate to the city (often used for ceremonies) through the eighteenth century, although it gradually fell into ruins.

In 1832 the ruins were excavated and an initial survey for their conservation was undertaken. Further works in the 1970s added an adjacent pavilion, housing a museum of the gate. In the museum visitors can learn about the history of construction of the Golden gate as well as ancient Kiev.

In 1982, the gate was completely reconstructed for the 1500th anniversary of Kiev, although there is no solid evidence as to what the original gates looked like. Some art historians called for this reconstruction to be demolished and for the ruins of the original gate to be exposed to public view.[citation needed]

In 1989 with the expansion of the Kiev Metro, Zoloti Vorota station was opened nearby to the landmark. What makes it unique is that its architectural ensemble is very much based on the internal decorations of ancient Ruthenian churches.

Yaroslav the Wise Monument. In his hands Yaroslav is seen holding the Saint Sophia Cathedral of Kiev.

In 1997, the monument to Yaroslav the Wise was unveiled near the west end face of the Golden Gate. It is an enlarged bronze copy of an experimental figuring by Kavaleridze.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ In the Ipatiev Chronicles of that period (1146-1151) mention is frequently made of the "Jewish gate" in Kiev. In 1124 the Jewish quarter of Kiev was destroyed by fire. [in:] S. M. Dubnow, Simon Dubnow, Israel Friedlaender. History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. 2001. p. 10
  2. ^ "Lacka Brama, którą latopis wymienia w 1151 - była jedną z czterach głównych bram tzw. grodu Jarosława (były jeszcze Węgierska, Złota w następnych doszła również Żydowska), która prowadziła na płd. wsch., w kierunku uroczyska Ugorskie. [w:] Goranin. Latopis kijowski 1118-1158. 1995; "już w grodzie Jarosława przy bramie lackiej istniała Lacka Słoboda - dzielnica, Polaków, obok dzielnicy Niemców i Włochów, a przy cerkwi Mikołaja - targowa osada węgierska" [w:] T.M. Trajdos. Kościół Katolicki na ziemiach ruskich Korony i Litwy za panowania Władysława II Jagiełły, 1386-1434. 1982
  3. ^ The next day the Mongols surrounded the city, but they concentrated their catapults against Kiev's obvious weak point—the battlements that flanked the Polish Gate, the only part of the city walls constructed of wood. [in:] Thomas J. Craughwell . The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History. 2010. page 184

External links[edit]