The Golden Gate was built in 1017 by Yaroslav the Wise as one of three main entrances in the Kiev city walls. It was originally called the Southern Gate, then the Great Gate of Kive, and later called the Golden Gate. Partially destroyed in 1240 by the Golden Horde, the ruins were excavated in 1832 and the gate was completely reconstructed by the Soviets in 1982. Nobody knows exactly how it looked, so architects used their imaginations based on historic descriptions.
On the west side of the gate is a statue of Yaroslav the Wise. It was erected in 1997.
Inside the gate are the ruins of the original gate and a small museum.
It was believed that the original gate was topped by a church. A small non-functioning church was constructed with the rest of the gate.
There are also some nice views at the top. You can see Golden Gate Square below and the Renaissance Hotel, which is one of the more interesting buildings on the square.
The aforementioned Renaissance Hotel is on the northeast corner of the square. It’s run by Marriott.
Just to the west of the Golden Gate is the Baron Castle, with its signature gargoyles hanging off the building. It was built in 1898 by a Polish man named Podgorski. He lived in the house for only three years before he died. The home was then converted into a cinema and later an apartment building.
A few more steps west is the Karaite Kenesa, a former synagogue built between 1898 and 1902 in the Moorish style. Since Soviet times, it has functioned as a school, puppet theatre, and cinema. Since 1981 it has been the Ukrainian House of Actors. The building originally had dome on top but it was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. The Karaite Kenesa is one of the only synagogues that was not returned to the Karaite Jewish community after Ukrainian independence.
A short walk north of the Golden Gate, towards St. Sophia Cathedral, is the building that houses the Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service of the Ukraine. The Security Service is a successor of the Soviet KGB. The building was constructed between 1913 and 1928. During World War II, the Nazis used the building as the Gestapo headquarters and a prison for members of the Kiev underground movement.