St. Sophia Cathedral

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Historical information
Plan of museum
Architecture and murals
- Plan, Ground floor
- Mosaics
- Frescos
- Graffiti
- other details
Sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise
North cloister
- Plan, First floor
Bell Tower
Cells of the Cathedral Elders
Metropolitan's Residence
South Entrance Tower
Zaborovsky Gate
First Rus library

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The Refectory (Heated or Little Sophia) is situated opposite the south side of the cathedral and is one of the main buildings in the St. Sophia Monastery complex. It was built from 1722 to 1730. The architecture is typical for 18th-century refectories which combined a dining hall and a church. The long horizontal refectory was joined to a tall church at the eastern end. The horizontal section was two-storeyed. Above the dining hall, the second storey was used as a storehouse for food products and monastic utensils. Below the dining hall, there was a large basement. All the premises had vaulted ceilings. The kitchen and a tower with spiral stairs leading to the first floor adjoined the building on the south-west. The dining hall was heated with a large stove faced with decorative ceramic tiles.

In the sixties of the 18th century the refectory was reconstructed with the famous Ukrainian architect I. Grigorovich-Barsky, takirig part. In 1822, following the design of architect A. Melensky, the refectory was again reconstructed. It was made into a heated church - the Little Sophia. In 1872 the church was widened according to the design of Jurgens. The vaults above the former dining hall were taken down and both floors made into one high-arched nave leading to the chancel in the east. Along the north and south walls, one-storeyed aisles were added which joined the nave by wide arches cut into the original outer walls. A little lobby was built onto the west facade and the tower was demolished. In the 1970s, large scientific research and restoration works were carried out which help us to correctly determine the past history of the refectory's construction and to discover its original architecture and specific decor. During the restoration, the building was partially given its early 18th-century aspect.

Thus, at present, the former refectory is a baroque building with a pear-shaped cupola over the chancel, the kitchen and a tower in the south-west corner. Over the western entrance rises a high pediment decorated with pilasters, ornamental vases and volutes. The main building has a typical Ukrainian stepped roof and the lateral sections have lean-to roofs.

Ornamental plastering used for decorating the window embrasures and cornices played an important role in the exterior. Classic elements such as Ionic were combined with motifs of Ukrainian decorative folk art. The garlands of stars and beads that frame the windows of the original 18th-century walls are especially unique. The 19th-century windows of the lateral annexes are enhanced by delicate half-engaged columns and pediments. On the eastern wall there are cruciform windows which are especially attractive. The refectory, with specific outlines and individual architectural features, is one of the valuable memorials of Ukrainian baroque architecture of the 18th century.

Refectory. View from the north-west:

St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev

Refectory. View from the south-west:

St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev

  •  Mosaics and frescoes of St. Sophia Cathedral IN KIEV

    Virtual tour around the museums grounds of Saint Sophia Cathedral

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    National Historical Reserve "St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev"
    Address: Vladimirskaya Str. 24, Kiev Ukraine
    Underground station "Golden Gate".
    Hours: 10:00 - 17.30
    Closed: Thursday