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Best of Kiev » The Golden Gates

The Golden Gates

Address: Украина, Киев, ул. Владимирская, 40А

The Golden Gates is one of the few extant monuments of the Kievan Rus' defensive architecture. The gates were built in about 1037 at the time Yaroslav the Wise was ruling, after the construction of the New Town shafts of the defense had been completed. The construction was striking with grandeur and inapproachability: over the powerful military tower located the Church of the Annunciation; that was very symbolic for a Christian city, as the Gates served the main entrance to Kiev.
The architectural style of the gates is totally different from similar structures erected by architects of Europe. European structures generally fulfilled only defensive functions and were represented by towers. The Golden Gates in Kiev can rather be compared to the triumphant Golden Gates of Constantinople.
After the invasion of Batu Khan in 1240, Golden Gate gradually dilapidated, although they still remained the main entrance to the city. From the notes of travelers of XVI-XVII centuries, and judging by the drawings made in 1651, it’s borne in that at this time the Golden Gates were in a dilapidated condition, but didn’t lose their status of the main entrance to Kiev until the middle of the XVIII century. It was the Golden Gates in 1648, in front of that the jubilant citizens of Kiev were welcoming Bohdan Khmelnytsky returning with a victory after the battle of Zhovti Vody. After the unification of Ukraine with Russia in 1654, Russian embassy officially entered Kiev through the Golden Gates.
There were several attempts to recreate the original appearance of the Golden Gates, but this intention was realized only in 1982 during preparation to the celebration of the 1500th Anniversary of Kiev. Nowadays inside the shaft segments an exhibition hall is arranged, where you can see undestroyed parts of the fortifications, and there is also a ladder ascending which you can admire the view of modern Kiev.
There are many legends telling about the origin of the name 'Golden Gates'. They were called 'Golden' by analogy with Constantinople gates, the second version is that you had to pay 1 gold coin to enter the city through the Gates, but the most plausible version is that they were called 'golden', because they were covered with copper which shined in the sun like real gold.

This and many other places you can visit during our Kiev sightseeing excursion.


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