Monuments

Famed in legends and traditions, the Kyiv's eventful past was represented in numerous memorials of the monumental art; the city's and park's statuary, monumental compositions, memorial boards, as well as tombstones of the Kyiv's necropolis. Some of them became the city's symbols, their images formed a part of Kyiv's emblematics.

The oldest of them is the Magdeburg Column on the Dnipro hillside terrace nearby Naberezhne Shose (Highway). It was set up in 1802 - 1808 by architect A. Melensky on the occasion of the confirmation of the rights granted to Kyiv as far back as the 15th century according to the Magdeburg Charter. This peculiar symbol of the free town was erected due to the funds of the Podil magistracy and citizen's donations.
The 18-m Tuscan column topped with a small gilded cupola and cross is set up on the 5-m arched pedestal above the spring made in the form of a bowl. Functionally, the monument is similar to the chapel over the spring (well) traditional for Ukraine. In this spring, Khreshchatytsky, as the legend tells, twelve sons of Prince Volodymyr were baptized. The well is said to have existed since that time. And the Magdeburg Rights Column has two more titles: the monument to the baptism of Rus and the lower monument to Prince Volodymyr. Every year the Kyiv magistracy used to organize solemn processions from the upper monument to the lower one on the St. Volodymyr's Day, July 15. Nowadays, a staircase runs up to the Volodymyr Hill.

The memorial to Great Princess Olha unveiled in Mykhailivska Square in 1996 recalls, against our will, a Greek myth about the death and resurrection of the magic bird Phoenix. First it was set up and sanctified in 1911. Its authors - sculptors I. Kavaleridze and P. Snitkin and architect V. Rykov - could not imagine that in some years, in 1919-1923, the monument would be destroyed. The fact was that its picture was reproduced in all editions dedicated to the city. Many Kyivans believed that the statue of Princess Olha, was buried in the same place where the monument had been set up. Fulfillment of the decision on its re-establishment adopted by the Kyiv State Administration began with the excavations in 1995. Indeed, the old foundations and broken statue were found there.
The snow-white monument from the Carrara marble specially brought from Italy was set up on the former place. The figure of Princess Olha risen on the central pedestal is flanked by the figures of Apostle Andrew the First-Called and Slavonic enlighteners Cyril and Methodius at her either side. The history of Ukraine and Kyiv is bound up with each of them. Apostle Andrew brought the idea of Christianity to Kyiv and foretold the city's great future; Princess Olha was one of the first Christians in Rus got baptized in the 950s; Cyril and Methodius created the alphabet and thus laid down the foundations for the old Russian written language.

The Monument to Prince Volodymyr, who baptized Rus, was erected in 1853 on one of the terraces of the Volodymyr Hill (Volodymyrska Hirka) Park laid out at the same time. The authors of the monument are sculptors V. Demut-Malynovsky and P. Clodt, architect K. Ton. The bronze 4.5-m statue of Prince Volodymyr is set up on the 16-m cast-iron pedestal made in the form of a chapel in the pseudo-Byzantinesque style. Volodymyr the Great in his princely mantle with a large cross in his right hand and the Great-Prince's cap in his left hand faces the Dnipro where, at the place of flowing the Pochaina River into the Dnipro, the Kyivans were baptized at his behest. The pedestal bears a bas-relief showing a many-figured composition "The Baptism of Rus", representation of Archangel Michael, the star and the cross of the Order of St. Volodymyr and other decorative elements. The monument's silhouette on the steep hillside became an integral part of the Kyiv's right-bank view.

One more symbolic sight of the city is the Monument to Bohdan Zynovii Khmelnytsky, Hetman of Ukraine, who headed the Liberation War of the Ukrainian people in the 17th century. It is set up in the centre of old St. Sophia Square where in December 1648 the Kyiv dwellers welcomed the Cossack troops after their first victories over the Polish gentry. Known is Hetman's saying, "Kyiv is a city of mine! I'm the voivode of Kyiv". An outstanding historian, professor of the Kyiv University M. Koslomarov initialed the monument erection in the mid-19th century. At the same time the collection of the donations began. The monument was unveiled in June 1888. The authors of the design are sculptor M. Mykeshyn and architect V. Nikolayev. The monument total height is 10.85 m.
The dynamic figure of the equestrian, all of a sudden checking his rearing horse on the burial mound, a lot of which are spread over the warriors' graves scattered all over Ukraine, as if personifies the heroic-romantic past of the country and at the same time reminds of the hardships fell to its lot.

In the park in Contract Square (Kontraktova Ploshcha) opposite his alma mater, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, is a bronze Monument to Hryhory Skovoroda, the enlightener-humanist, pliilosopher and poet. For 25 years he had been travelling over Ukraine propagating his philosophical views. Such as he was, in his ordinary cloth, with the travelling bag in his hand, he was represented by sculptor I. Kavaleridze and architect V. Gnezdvlov. The monument was unveiled in 1976.

One of the best Kyiv's monuments is the Monument to Taras Shevchenko, the classic of the Ukrainian literature, poet, thinker, artist, set up in 1939 in the centre of the park opposite the University (sculptor M. Manizer, architect Ye. Levinson). The poet's thoughtful figure is set up on the red granite pedestal bearing the words of his "Testament",

"And in the great new family,
The family of the free,
With softly spoken, kindly words,
Pray, men, remember me",

The stars of the first magnitude in the pantheon of the outstanding Ukrainians of the late 19th . beginning of the 20th centuries are Ivan Franko, the scientist, poet, public figure, and Lesya Ukrainka, the poetess, an author of more than twenty drama works staged on the scenes worldwide.
The Monument to Ivan Franko was erected in 1956 in the park opposite the theatre which bears his name (sculptors 0. Suprun, A. Bilostotsky, architect M. Ivanehenko), and the Monument to Lesya Ukrainka was unveiled in 1973 in the centre of the square named after her (sculptor H. Kalchenko, architect A.Ihnashchenko).
Erected in 1982 to commemorate the 1500th Anniversary of Kyiv, the Memorial Sign to the Founders of Kyiv in the Novodnytsky Park near the Dnipro gained wide popularity (sculptor V. Borodai, architect M. Feshchenko).

Among the magnificent compositions notable is the complex of the Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 opened in 1981. Its grounds, in addition to the gigantic figure of the Motherland over the museum's building, incorporate seven compositions (about 100 bronze figures) in which themes of the front, home front and secret work are embodied. The compositions typify the ordeals that our compatriots had to endure in this terrible war. The monument is created by sculptors and architects of Kyiv and Moscow: Ye. Vuchetych, V. Borodai, F. Sohoyan, V. Vynaikin, V. Yelizarov, Ye. Stamo, H. Kislyand others.