A Brief Description of Kiev

Description

Maksim Fedorovich Berlinskii was a writer, teacher, and historian, born in 1764 in the village of Nova Sloboda, near Putyvl, in Kursk Oblast, Russia (present-day Sumy Oblast, Ukraine). The son of an Orthodox priest, Berlinskii attended Kiev Theological Seminary (formerly Kyiv-Mohyla Academy), before training at the Saint Petersburg Teachers’ Seminary. In 1788, he began teaching at a secular Kiev gymnasium where he remained for 46 years. During this time, Berlinskii composed numerous books and articles on Ukrainian and Russian history, archaeology, and topography. In 1814, Berlinskii met Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumyantsev (1754–1826), a historian much interested in Kiev and Ukraine. With Rumyantsev’s financial support, Berlinskii produced Plan drevnego Kieva s obiasneniiami o ego drevnostiakh (Plan of ancient Kiev with explanations of its antiquities) in 1814 and the present work, Kratkoe opisanie Kieva (A brief description of Kiev). Published by the Department of Education in Saint Petersburg in 1820, this work is regarded as the first scholarly history of Kiev, as well the first book-length, detailed description of Kiev’s ancient churches. The text begins with an overview of the history of the city from its beginnings to 1800, followed by descriptions of numerous churches, including Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Saint Vasily Church, the Church of Saint Ilya, Saint Sophia Cathedral, and Saint George Cathedral. A detailed map shows these and other churches, monasteries, and convents, such as the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and the Convent of Saint Irene; the Dnieper River; and historical sites such as the Golden Gates of Kiev. The work contains two other lithographs.

Last updated: July 12, 2012