Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in XI century. It is located in the heart of the city. There preserved through the centuries 260 m² mosaics and 3000 m² frescoes. It’s hardly anywhere else in Europe to find a church where preserve so many frescoes of XI century. Around the cathedral there are the 17th century monastic buildings, made in the architectural style of Ukrainian Baroque. The interior of the cathedral is almost unchanged. In the late 18th century there appeared iconostasis and in 19 century - cast iron floor tiles.
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is a storehouse of works of art, which attracts historians and tourists to see and admire the wonder of Byzantine and ancient architecture. Anyone, who crosses the threshold of the cathedral, is stroke with the figure in the central apse - the figure of a praying Virgin Mary. The height of the mosaic is 6 meters. Mosaic is composed of stone and glass plates of different colors and shades (about 177 shades of different colors). The mosaics, on which the Eucharist and the Fathers of the Church are depicted, are astonishingly well-balanced. The central apse and the dome are decorated with mosaics; the walls of the cathedral are decorated with frescoes.
Saint Sophia Cathedral had repeatedly burned, rebuilt in the XIII century, suffered from the invasion of hordes of Batu Khan, in the XV-XVI centuries it remained without a roof - all this has adversely affected the frescoes. Up to the present day there survived little more than two thousand of 5000 m ² of frescoes created in the XI century. At the end of XVII century the ancient frescoes were whitewashed with limestone, and were re-discovered by accident in 1843 when a piece of plaster fell from an oil painting and murals opened XI century. However, the clearing of the walls was carried in the inappropriate way and the workers removed some fresco painting.
Mosaics originally occupied a huge area, but there preserved only the third part of them. Mosaic palette contains 177 colors. Blue has 21 shades, green – 34, yellow – 23, red - 19, gold - 25, silver - 9, that shows the high professional level of masters. Smalt pieces, faced up on wet plaster, were placed under different slope so that the rays of light falling on them reflected at different angles and created sparkling, light-bearing surface that attached to the mosaic of the Cathedral the special expressiveness.
Architectural forms and painting of the cathedral form a unique unity. Frescoes as the ornament of embroidery adorn the walls, pillars, arches. Among the exquisite and colorful paintings you can see the images of saints and scenes from the Gospels. In contrast to other samples of Byzantine religious art, which have reached our times, on certain frescoes in the cathedral there are not biblical, but secular subjects - among them portraits of the family of the Grand Prince Yaroslav.
Painting of XI century, which adorns the tower of the Cathedral, depicts scenes of games, organized in Constantinople by Emperor Constantine Porfirogenet in honor of Princess Olga. On the frescoes there are depicted mimes, jugglers, musicians, dancers, trainers, racing chariots. The later frescoes of the cathedral (17-19 c) are devoted only to religious topics. 300 graffiti on the walls of the cathedral show a high level of literacy of Kievan Rus XI century.