Журнал Viche 2009 №15

№15, 2009

Monuments and Revolutions

The history of Ukraine was marching across the Square. Quite a lot of its characters turned to stone and bronze, as if they saw Gorgon – habitant of nether world. But everything is not that terrible as Homer thought. As far as Gorgon is one of embodiments of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. So taking a look at stone convulsions of today's monuments (and remembering those already regenerated on dust), we can understand the whole whimsicality of our history. I’m not sure that it will add wisdom. Possibly, it will calm us down, showing that even tomfoolery is passing.

Cursed Lyadski Gates

Independence Square is considered to be the centre of the capital. But it was not always so. And even more. Kyiv is over thousand years old. Independence Square and Khreschatik are considered to be the central part of the city only for one and a half of the last century. And till that it was a neglected place called Perevisyshche.

At the times of reign of Princes the end of Kyiv was at modern Sofiyivska Street. At the foot of Kyyavytskyi hill, exactly where present Square is, there were Lyadski Gates. Princes used them to get to the out-of-town residences – to village Berestove. Presently it is the territory of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra where the temple of Spasa rises on Berestove. That is the place where Volodymyr Khrestytel died. That is the place where citizens of Kyiv killed volodymyro-suzdalskyi Prince Yuriy Dolgorukyi: because there was no need to interfere in the affairs of Kyiv. Lyadski Gates were located in cavity. Defensive billows made from the wall blocks stretched along modern Kostyolna and Grinchenko Streets. Is it possible to find more unsuccessful place for fortification building than lowland at present Square? O course, no. Batu Khan shared this point of view. And in December, 1240 Mongols broke into Kyiv exactly through Lyadski Gates. That is how the capital city turned into ruins. And the most majestic page of our history came to the end. However, dear ladies and gentlemen, there are still a lot of clean pages in the history book of Ukraine.

Valentyn Bushanskyi