Kyiv, Ukraine

General Information

Regional secretariat


Administrative status

Capital of Ukraine

Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

Registration Year


Historical function

Testimony to the cultural and religious interaction between Kievan Rus, the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe

Location and site

Designed to rival Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral symbolizes the ‘new Constantinople’, capital of the Christian principality of Kyiv, 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 Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra contributed to the spread of Orthodox thought and the Orthodox faith in the Russian world from the 17th to the 19th century.

Urban morphology

The Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra represent two outstanding complexes of cultural heritage monuments from the Middle Ages and Early Modern period (Kyivan Rus’ and Hetmanate Periods).

The property consists of two separate components: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and its related monastic buildings and the monastic complex of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra with the Church of the Saviour at Berestovo.

According to the original design, Saint-Sophia Cathedral was built as a dominant architectural element of the urban environment open to a wide and overall view. In the 19th century, the setting of the Cathedral changed due to the modification of the traditional urban fabric.

Registration criteria

Criterion (i): Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv­-Pechersk Lavra represents a masterpiece of human creative genius in both its architectural conception and its remarkable decoration.

Criterion (ii): The property is a result of the cultural interaction of the Kyivan Rus’, the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe. Architecture and monumental painting at the property reflect the changes of Byzantine architectural and artistic traditions that acquired a new sense under the influence of local vision. It revealed, in spiritual tradition as well as in architectural planning, encompassing the tradition of underground Orthodox cult architecture of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The Dormition Cathedral was an example for the construction of similar churches in the Eastern Europe region during the 12th to15th centuries.

Criterion (iii): Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv­-Pechersk Lavra bears exceptional testimony to the centuries-old Byzantine cultural traditions of neighbouring countries in general and of Kyivan Rus’ in particular. Over the centuries the property had a major spiritual influence in Eastern Europe.

Criterion (iv): Saint-Sophia Cathedral is a unique edifice that reflects in its architecture and mural decoration the peculiarities of churchwarden order. The construction of the Cathedral laid the foundation of an architectural school that influenced the cult architecture and monumental art of Kyivan Rus’ and then of Eastern Europe.

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is an exceptionally valuable architectural ensemble formed over the course of almost nine centuries, which reflects changes in stylistic trends in architecture, as well as the process of the improvement of engineering structures.

Historical reference

Saint-Sophia Cathedral, located in the historic centre of Kyiv, is one of the major monuments representing the architectural and the monumental art of the early 11th century. The Cathedral was built with the participation of local builders and Byzantine masters during the reign of the Great Prince of Kyiv, Yaroslav the Wise, as the main Christian Church of the Kyivan Rus’ capital. The Cathedral has preserved its ancient interiors and the collection of mosaics and frescoes of the 11th century is unique for its integrity. Its masterpieces include the Pantocrator, the Virgin Orans, the Communion of the Apostles, the Deisis and the Annunciation. The architecture and monumental art of the Cathedral had a wide influence on the architecture and decoration of the Kyivan Rus’ temples. Monastic buildings constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries in the Ukrainian Baroque style surround the Cathedral. The architectural ensemble includes the bell tower, Metropolitan’s house, the refectory, the Zaborovsky gate, the south entrance tower, the cells of cathedral elders and the seminary encircled by a stone wall. Over the centuries, the Cathedral and monastic buildings have expressed a unique harmony of architectural and natural forms,   and national spirit and have held a significant place in the traditional historic landscape of Kyiv.

The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is an architectural ensemble of monastic buildings situated on the plateau overlooking the right bank of the Dnieper River. The ensemble was formed over many centuries in organic combination with the landscape, and acts as a general urban dominant. Founded by St. Anthony and St. Theodosy in the 11th century, the monastery became a prominent spiritual and cultural centre that made a significant contribution to the development of education, art and medicine. The architectural ensemble of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra comprises unique surface and underground churches from the 11th to the 19th centuries, in a complex of labyrinthine caves that expands more than 600m, as well as domestic and household buildings from the 17th to the19th centuries. The architectural ensemble acquired its modern aspect as a result of construction activities in the 17th to the 18th centuries in the heyday of the Ukrainian Baroque. The main monuments of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra ensemble are the Dormition Cathedral, the Trinity Gate Church, the Great Bell Tower, the Church of All Saints, the Refectory Church, the monastery defensive walls with towers, the cave complexes of St. Anthony (Near) and St. Theodosy (Far) with surface churches, the Exaltation of the Cross and the Nativity of the Virgin and the Church of the Saviour on Berestovo.

For centuries, the Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery, with relics of saints buried in caves, has been one of the most important Christian pilgrimage centres in the world.

Source :



Mr. Vitaliy Klitschko

Kyiv City State Administration

36, Khreshchatyk Str.
Kyiv, Ukraine