Sights of Kiev: St. Sophia Cathedral, the bell tower (Part 3)

Before you, a small virtual tour to St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, or rather, to its bell tower, one of the main attractions of Kiev.

What is the bell tower?

The bell tower is a structure in the form of a tower for bells. Usually it is attached to the church or is a separate structure.

The bells always informed the residents about the beginning and end of the church services, about important good events in the life of the city, and also warned about the danger: fires, enemy attacks, epidemics and so on. Our guides in Kiev will be able to give you more examples.

The first belfries

Sights of Kiev: St. Sophia Cathedral, the bell tower The first belfries in Christian churches appeared in the 4th century in Rome. In Eastern Europe they began to appear in the 14th century and were still quite primitive structures.

One of the first bell-towers in Kiev – was built in St. Sophia Monastery, tells a guide.

The bell tower of St. Sophia Cathedral

When Petro Mogila established a monastery at the territory of Sofia Cathedral, he built two bell towers, but they were wooden and not preserved until our time.

The first stone bell tower on the territory of the monastery was built in 1699-1706. It was three-tiered. The architect remained unknown. But our interesting tours around Sofia Cathedral and Kiev will definitely not leave you indifferent.


Sights of Kiev: St. Sophia Cathedral, the bell tower After the earthquake, the upper tiers began to be collapsed. Then Metropolitan Rafail Zaborovsky invites architect Shadel to Kiev to reconstruct the bell tower.

The same architect was building the Great Lavra Bell Tower.

The new restored belfry had a baroque dome and was richly decorated with stucco on the facades.

But at the beginning of the 19th century the dome burned down because of a lightning strike. We resumed it a little differently than it looked before.

Modern bell tower

Kiev began to be built up by high houses and the bell tower gradually lost its dominant position in the architectural ensemble of the city. Therefore, in the middle of the 19th century, the fourth tier with a new dome were built on it. Architect Sparro.

Interesting facts about the structure of the bell tower of St. Sophia Cathedral

Sights of Kiev: St. Sophia Cathedral, the bell tower The height of the bell tower is 76 meters. The belfry is decorated with a wooden dome, covered with copper and gold leaf. An interesting fact is that the dome is not fixed in the stone structure of the walls of the bell tower. It is held only by its own weight. Good streamlining of the form allows it to withstand strong wind fluctuations.

In the first tier of the belltower is the main entrance to Sofia Kievskaya. You will be impressed with the stucco decorations of the bell tower, which are different in execution and composition on different tiers.

What saints are on the bell tower of Sofia

On the third tier St. Vladimir and the holy apostle Andrew on the eastern facade are depicted, the apostle Timothy and the archangel Raphael on the western facade.

The choice of these saints is not accidental. Apostle Andrew preached Christianity on the lands of the future Kievan Rus. There is a legend that he put a cross on one of the Kiev hills and foretold here the foundation of the great city. Vladimir was a prince who made Christianity the official religion in Russ. Saint Timothy and Raphael were the patron saints of the metropolitans, during the reign of which the bell tower of Kiev Sophia was built.