One of a few remaining samples of the fortification architecture of the 11th century, the Golden Gate of Kiev with modest remnants of the brick and stone walls and arches portions is a symbolic message from the Kievan Rus times.
Built together with the St.Sophia Cathedral it dates back to the times of Kievan Rus flourishing.
The Golden Gates were one of the three portals to the fortified part of the city. The construction of the Golden Gates included a watch tower with a platform for guards and a small gate church. According to the medieval symbolics the Gates should have encouraged entering the good to the city and drawing the evil away, while the Gate Church of Annunciation, crowned with a golden dome, should have rendered heavenly protection.
The Golden Gates were the strongest link in the fortification chain and were unapproachable for invaders. Batu Khan Horde on the siege of Kiev in 1240 has damaged the gates from the inner side having broken into Kiev through the other gates. In general, hitting the Gates gesture was a symbol of possession of the city behind the gates. It is related that in 1018 Boleslaw Khrobry hit the Gates with his sword leaving a notch on the sword. This sword with a notch has been named Szczerbiec and has become a Polish Kings’ relic used in coronation ceremonies. And even though this legend is proved wrong due to the younger age of the sword itself, widespread legend reiteration emphasizes meaningfulness of the Gates, a triumphal portal and a defendable entrance to Kiev.
The Golden Gates have been a ceremonial gateway to Kiev for more than a half of millennia. Yet the partially ruined Gates have welcomed Ukrainian hero Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky in 1648 and Russian ambassadors three years later. Another hundred years have passed, and it was decided to cover the ruins of the Gates with earth for safely reasons. The Gates’ ruins remained under the earth for eighty years. First maintenance and reconstruction works were conducted in 1832 and have become the beginning of the Gates’ image restoring process, which is continued till nowadays. Current look of the Golden Gates replicates the 11th century appearance of the portal, with the remains of ancient walls and arches portions resting inside of the modern construction.