The Baptism of Russia monument, which is also known as the Column of Magdeburg Law, is located on the lower terrace of the stirs beneath the picturesque Vladimirskaya hill. The stairs lead to the Dnieper quay. This monument is, in fact, the oldest in Kiev. It looks like a pedestal with four pylons that is fortified by flying buttresses. Vaulted arched shapes of the monument are crowned with Tuscan Order Column.
Earlier a stream used to flow through this territory. According to an old legend, the sons of Prince Vladimir were baptized in this stream. It was considered sacred by the Orthodox church, and that’s why they built several small chapels and held religious processions there. The chapels were used to store the icons of Princess Olga, Prince Vladimir and his sons Gleb and Boris.
In the early XIX century it was decided to construct a stone chapel in this place. The project was designed in 1802 by the head architect of Kiev Andrew Melensky, and the construction was funded by citizens. The building went on from 1802 till 1808. That is how a chapel with a column crowned with a small gold dome appeared in Kiev. On its pedestal one could read the worlds: “Dedicated to St. Vladimir, the enlightener of Russia”.
Soviet officials ordered the chapel to be demolished. Soon everything but the archways were gone, and the words about Vladimir disappeared too. The monument received a new name – the Column of Magdeburg Law. This name dates back to times when in 1798 Kiev got its right for self-government back after first obtaining it in the XV century.
To celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Baptism of Russia the monument was renovated and the cross was put back on the dome. Nowadays the monument, which is surrounded by greenery, is a major attraction for Kiev citizens and foreign tourists.
Address of the Baptism of Russia monument: Naberezhnoe avenue.