Golden Gate, Kiev, Ukraine
Golden Gate is one of the oldest monuments of Kiev and the unique instance of the defense architecture of the first Slavonic state epoch – Kievan Rus.
Golden Gate was built by Prince Yaroslav the Wise in 1164. The name of the gate is received from the Constantinople’s Golden Gate as a sign of strength and resistance response to the great Byzantine Empire. Originally known as Southern Gate, the Golden Gate was part of the defensive structures of the city and hardly differed from the other guard gates. Soon, realizing their importance, the gate was called "the Great" and Prince Yaroslav the Wise ordered to build the Church of Annunciation suspended over the gate in the tribute to the dominant religion in Rus - Christianity. Since then it became known as the Golden Gate. Door width was 7.5 m, passage height - 12 m, length - about 25 m, height of the walls preserved up to 9.5 meters.
For centuries, the enemy troops attempted to take the city by storm, but the Southern Gate was unapproachable.
For five centuries the Golden Gate guarded the peace of Kiev, but in the seventeenth century it turned into picturesque ruins in memory of many enemies’ attacks, and glory and grandeur of centuries. At that time it was still possible to see the remains of Annunciation church and Dutch artist A. Vesterfeld painted the remains of the Gate in 1651. In a century ruins were covered with earth to preserve them for generations. Only after two centuries the architect Lokhvitskiy detected the gate during the excavation. Due to the joint work of Beretti B. and F. Mehovich remnants structures were strengthened.
Later, there were several reconstruction projects to bring back the original appearance of the structure, but finally it was implemented in 1982 to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of Kiev. The best experts were involved in the reconstruction works, who carefully tried to make the monument as close as possible to convey the power and beauty of the pristine structure. Because the work was carried out in a hurry, the work was not complete properly and there were used low quality building materials: the structure was gradually destroyed and lost its original feature.
In 2007 the new reconstruction was made, gates have been again restored and there were added the elements preserved from the times of Yaroslav the Wise. The exterior of the Golden Gate was completely updated. Now Golden Gate is a museum where you can see the architecture and history of this unique ancient monument.
By Lilit Vanesyan, www.building.am