Saint Michael’s Monastery


This view of Saint Michael’s Monastery is from Souvenir of Kiev, an early 20th-century album showing the main sites of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine and at that time one of the most important cities of the Russian Empire. The monastery was founded in the late 11th century and dedicated to the Archangel Michael, who later was adopted as the city’s patron saint. The cathedral of the monastery was originally constructed in the early 12th century, and its domes were probably the first in Kiev to be gilded, leading to the monastery’s nickname: St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. Gilding the domes of major churches became general practice in the Russian Empire. The interior of the cathedral was famous for its frescoes and mosaics. The main stone construction of the monastery buildings dates from the early to mid-18th century and is in Ukrainian baroque style. In 1746, the number of domes atop the cathedral was increased to seven. Shown here is a view of the bell tower, constructed in 1716–19, and the cathedral with Saint Michael’s Square in the foreground. The 25 views in Souvenir of Kiev are collotypes, made using a chemically-based printing process widely employed before the invention of offset lithography.

Last updated: February 29, 2012