St. Sophia Cathedral
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Museum ST. SOPHIA CATHEDRAL
Plan of museum
ST. SOPHIA CATHEDRAL
Architecture and murals
- Plan, Ground floor
- other details
Sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise
- Plan, First floor
ARCHITECTURAL MONUMENTS OF THE 18TH CENTURY
Cells of the Cathedral Elders
South Entrance Tower
First Rus library
BRANCHES OF THE MUSEUM
THE SARCOPNAGUS OF YAROSLAV THE WISE
The Grand Princes of Kiev were once interred in the east end of the inner and outer north galleries: among them were Yaroslav the Wise, Vsevolod Yaroslavich, Rostislav Vsevolodovich, Vladimir Monomachus and others. But only the sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise survives today, and may be found in the chapel section of the former north inner gallery, now a lateral aisle. The sarcophagus is rectangular in shape with a lid reminiscent of a single-ridged sloping roof with rounded acroteria at the four corners; the walls and lid are decorated with carvings of grape clusters and vines, palm-leaves, cypress trees, fish, birds, crosses and other early Christian symbolic forms. Its weight is six metric tons. It was made of Prochonessian marble and was probably brought from Byzantium.
During the researches made from 1936 to 1939, the coffin was opened for examination and scientists found the skeletons of a man and a woman whose bones were intermingled. The latter fact, as well as the complete absence of personal articles or chothing, indicates that the sarcophagus was robbed (probably in 1240), A comparison of the anatomical investigation and X-ray tests of the bones with information found in the chronices shows that the male skeleton was almost certainly that of Yaroslav the Wise: the Prince had a limp from birth, and also wounds in the knee and head. The female skeleton was probably that of Yaroslav's wife, Irene.
Using Yaroslav's skull, the eminent Soviet anthropologist M, Gerasimov built up a sculptural potrait of the Prince's head which is on show in the north outer gallery, formerly a cloister. The sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise is a great treasure from the viewpoints of science, history and art.
Yaroslav the Wise. Sculptured portrait (reconstructed):
Sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise:
Virtual tour around the museum’s grounds of Saint Sophia Cathedral