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Kiev Golden Gate
Kiev Golden Gate is a monument of 12th-century fortification, one of the few that have survived to nowadays. The construction strikes visitors with its grandeur and inaccessibility: over the powerful battle tower was housed the church of the Annunciation - it was very symbolic for the Christian town. In fact the Golden Gates served as the main entrance gate to Kiev. Golden Gate was built in 1164, after they had completed the construction of the defense shafts of the New Town.
It is difficult to imagine that the size of the great city of Yaroslav the Wise was once limited to the current downtown of Kiev. Defensive ramparts passed through Lviv square where the Lviv gates were based, across streets Yaroslav’s shaft to the Golden Gate. Further away defenses were falling down to the Independence Square (Maydan Nezalezhnosti), were Lyadsky (Lyashskie) gate were settled, and then following up the hill to the ramparts of St. Michael's Square. The total length of the defense ramparts was 3.5 kilometers.
The architectural style of the gate, built by Prince Vladimir, is totally different from similar structures erected by architects in Europe. European structures provided defensive function mainly, represented as simple towers while Golden Gate in Kiev, rather can be compared with the triumphant Golden Gate in Constantinople.
Kiev Golden Gate served as an entrance tower and a triumphal arch at the same time, which led to the main "aristocratic street " of the city. High arched doorway, being bound in gilded copper gate and head gate of the temple created a proper festive atmosphere. Golden Gate did not disappoint their creators in the difficult days of the Tatar siege in 1238. The conquerors considered city gates to be too impregnable , and decided to break down the city wall in a different location with the help of their battering machines.
Over the time, the building was dilapidated. From the notes of travelers of 16-17 century, and judging from the drawings made in 1651, it becomes clear that at this period of time Golden Gate were in a dilapidated condition, without losing the status of the main entrance to Kiev though until the mid-18th century. It was at the Golden Gate in 1648, when the jubilant Kievian people met Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who returned with a victory after the Battle near Yellow water city. Through the Golden Gate the Russian embassy solemnly entered into the city Kiev , after the unification of Ukraine with Russia in 1654.
At the boundary of 17th and 18th centuries the reconstruction of fortifications has started in Kiev, and the earthen bastions were erected in front of the gates. In the mid-18th century ruins of the monument had been covered with earth, and near to the old place new gates were built with the same title.
Only in 1832, the old Golden Gate again became available for visiting. Kondraty Lokhvitskiy, using his own funds, as well as money received by charitable subscription, conducted excavations, which helped to bring the historic monument to Kiev people. Lokhvitskiy was amateur archaeologist, and his dilettantism irritated professional archaeologists, but he has done a great contribution for the history of Kyiv. As a result of excavations the passage was bulldozed, and the remains of earthworks removed, which were located on both sides of the gate before. Under the guidance of architect Vincent Beretti ruins were fundamentally and reliably reinforced.
In the mid-20th century, the Golden Gate state caused serious concerns among scientists. In 1970, they have got the idea to close the ancient monument with a pavilion covering it to protect the “ruins” from atmospheric effects, as well as recreate the original look of the Golden Gate. Thus, the ruins will be preserved, and at the same time, given the opportunity to show the citizens of Kiev and visitors a historic monument in the form in which it existed at one time. Project of Golden Gate conservation made it possible to preserve the ancient masonry, including those elements that were added during the renovation and restoration in the 17th and 19th centuries.
Pavilion-monument of Golden Gate was opened in May 1982, to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of Kiev. Now they have arranged an exhibition hall inside the shaft segments, where you can see the remaining part of the fortifications, also there is the staircase, on which you can climb up to admire the view of modern Kiev.
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