St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery is located above Volodymyr’s Hill overlooking Podil in Kiev. It was founded in 1108 but demolished by the Soviets in 1934 due to “lack of historical value”. The site where the cathedral was located was used as a sports complex.
After Ukrainian independence, people began calling for the rebuilding of the monastery. The new cathedral opened in 1999 and was constructed based on photos and old foundations found during the excavation in 1997. That in itself is amazing.
The entrance to the complex is under the tall bell tower on Mykhailivs’ka Square. On either side of the tower are frescoes with religious scenes.
For a small fee (I paid 9 UAH), it’s possible to enter the bell tower and climb to the top. There’s a small museum inside with a model of the historic monastery and ecclesiastical art.
Once at the top, there are fantastic views of the cathedral below.
You can also look down onto Mykhailivs’ka Square and get nice views of Kiev. It’s possible to see St. Sophia Cathedral in the distance.
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral is an impressive building. It’s very beautiful on the inside and out. Many mosaics and other pieces from the original cathedral have been reinstalled in the current one.
My favorite part of the building is the façade. It was built in the Ukrainian Baroque style, just as the original cathedral was rebuilt in the 18th century.
When I visited, I decided to stay a few minutes for evening vespers. The priest had an amazing voice, and the young men’s choir added a nice touch to the experience. Since it was the day after Easter, I even got to hear them sing Xristos Anesti in Greek.
Next to the cathedral is the Refectory of St. John the Divine. It’s original to the complex and was built in 1713. When the site was being used as a sports complex, the refectory was used as a changing room. The eastern part of the building is the Church of John the Theologian.
The other interesting structure I found on the grounds is a beautiful fountain.
Outside the monastery gates in the center of Mykhailivs’ka Square is a monument to St. Olga (890-969), a ruler of Kievan Rus’ as regent on behalf of her son, Svyatoslav I. The building behind the monument is the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine. To the northeast is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
To reach the monastery and the square, I took a ride up the historic Kiev Funicular from the Podil district. It opened to the public in 1905 and takes about three minutes to go from one station to the next. The top station is at Mykhailivs’ka Square and the bottom station is at Poshtova Square.