World Heritage #0527 – Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

Last updated Nov 25, 2019 | Published on Mar 29, 2018North and Central Europe, Ukraine, World Heritage Sites

Kiev is a city with high, gilded, dome-shaped church spires. Some of them belong to the two historically very important complexes on the List.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.


Official facts

Country: Ukraine

Date of Inscription: 1990

Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 527:

Designed to rival Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, Kiev’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral symbolizes the ‘new Constantinople’, capital of the Christian principality of Kiev, which was created in the 11th century in a region evangelized after the baptism of St Vladimir in 988. The spiritual and intellectual influence of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra contributed to the spread of Orthodox thought and the Orthodox faith in the Russian world from the 17th to the 19th century.


My visit

There are two separate complexes. The first complex includes the Saint-Sophia Cathedral and several previously monastic buildings. This complex now mostly serves as a museum and hosts several galleries. The second complex is the monastic complex of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra with the Church of the Saviour at Berestovo. This is a monastery even today and occupies a large area on the west bank of the Dnieper River. 

I arrived in Kiev in 2018 and visited both complexes. The exterior and interior of both complexes are extremely fascinating. 

Read more about my visit.

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