One of the oldest squares of Kyiv is located between Volodymyrska street, Volodymyrskyi passage, Ally Tarasovoi street, Sofiiska street and Rylskyi lane.
Sofiiska square was the main square of Kyiv is times of Prince Yaroslav Mudryi (Wise). According to the chronicle “The Tale of Bygone Years”, here, on “the field outside the city,” Yaroslav defeated nomads Pechenegs in 1036, who were making their invasion for more than a hundred years. Yaroslav has begun the construction of grand temple on the place of victory the next year after victory. Other ancient sources refer to the foundation of St. Sophia to 1017. Construction was carried out for years, until the cathedral appeared in all its beauty.
The construction of St. Sophia was the act of establishing the state might of Kyivan Rus for Yaroslav. Metropolit church was named as the main sanctuary of Constantinople – Hagia Sophia – because of the desire not to yield to Byzantium. A square near the cathedral played a role of triumphal square. In 1648 inhabitants of the city were meeting Cossack regiments of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi there after the victory of Pyliavtsi.
In November, 1917, Universal III on the creation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, and in January, 1919 – Act of Unification of the Ukrainian National Republic and Western Ukrainian National Republic were proclaimed here.
The square changed the name twice during the Soviet times. Before the Great Patriotic War it was called the Red Square of heroes of Perekop, and since 1944 – Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Square. In 1993 it got the original name back.
In 1988 the inauguration of the monument to Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, timed to celebration of the 900-th anniversary of the baptism of Rus took place on the square. The bronze equestrian statue of hetman was designed by M. Mykeshyn and installed on a pedestal of granite boulders. This is one of the most famous monuments of Kyiv, which became the symbol of the city.
At the end of the twentieth century, the square was reconstructed. Sofiiska Square was the venue for mass meetings from ancient times till today and is one of the favorite places for citizens and guests.
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