The Golden Gates of Kiev


This view of the Golden Gates of Kiev 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. Located on the south side of the city, the gates formed one of three entrance gateways to Kiev constructed in the first half of the 11th century by Yaroslav the Wise. They were a considerable achievement in fortifying Kievan Rus. It has been determined that the structure was a huge tower pierced by three tiers of apertures. Although heavily damaged over the centuries, the ceremonial gateway endured until the mid-17th century. In the 18th century, the remains of the Golden Gates were covered over with earth. Archaeologists led by Kindrat Lokhvytsky rediscovered the ruins in 1832 and uncovered them, and five years later the extremely thick gate walls were strengthened by buttresses and iron rods, which is how they appear here. 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