Following the disaster at Notre Dame de Paris yesterday, and because I’m in Kiev this week, it seems appropriate to share my photos of Saint Sofia with you today.
Begun in the early 11th century, Saint Sofia is the most famous site in Kiev, Ukraine. It was built in the eastern orthodox style. Its roof contains 13 cupolas of varying sizes, some of them covered in gold. A gold-covered carved screen surrounds a door made of silver. Two-tier galleries comprise a second floor on three sides. Fresco paintings — some ancient and most newer – grace the galleries.
Through the centuries Saint Sofia has often been at the center of conflict between various Christian sects. Wikipedia says, “After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and during the Soviet anti-religious campaign of the 1920s, the government plan called for the cathedral’s destruction and transformation of the grounds into a park. The cathedral was saved from destruction primarily by the effort of many scientists and historians. Nevertheless, in 1934, Soviet authorities confiscated the structure from the church, including the surrounding 17th–18th century architectural complex, and designated it as an architectural and historical museum.” It remains a museum today.
(The image at the top of this post is of a model of St. Sofia located at the site. I think it gives you a better idea of the cathedral than any of my photos of the exterior do.)
A personal note: Since my granddaughter was a tiny child I’ve told her I’m taking her to Paris one day. Soon she’ll be old enough for that. Sadly, she will not be able to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Notre Dame cathedral. Paris, my favorite city, has been the location of some very unfortunate events in the past few years. Don’t let that keep you from visiting! Paris will always be the world’s most beautiful city. If you have been to Paris, please share your favorite memory or place with us in the Comments section below.