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Legends about Kiev

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Legends obout Kiev

Legends about founding of Kiev

Every nation has an enormous collection of Legends and parables.

The Slavs, and in particular Ukrainians, have also inherited their intriguing and philosophic stories, that we want share with our guests.

In this heading you will find many Legends and stories about Kiev, its origin and development during the different epochs.

Very often Legends are covered under a veil of secrecy and magic, but at the same time intersect with reality of old events: hikes, famous wars and battles, Kings’ and Empires’ ups and downs.

Welcome to the bewitching world of ancient stories

 №1 It's not a plain

Most Kiev inhabitants know well that the city stands on seven hills. But you can bet for any sum that nobody can enumerate those hills. Why? Because there are more than 7 visible hills, at least 15. Some of them are called “mounts” (Mikhaylovskaya, Baykova, Batyeva, Cherepanova) though their size hardly allows to call them even hills. One more thing is that so called hills are actually the spaces between ravines or shores of ancient small rivers. That’s why geographers consider that Kiev relief is flat, but you will hardly believe it when you get to Kiev and walk up and down its steep streets.

№2 The most popular

There is one hill that every Kiev inhabitant knows – Vladimir Mount. Actually, this is the name of the park, and the mount itself is called Mikhaylovskaya. It got its name from Mikhaylovsky Golden Dome Monastery. Today the main buildings of the monastery have been restored, and you can visit it on Vladimir Mount. The Monastery appeared at the end of the XIV century around Mikhaylovsky Cathedral, which had been built even earlier, in the XII century. The cathedral was famous for its large golden domes and amazing mosaics, hundred of thousands pilgrims came to visit it. The name Vladimir mount is known in Kiev only since 1853 when a 20 meter high monument to Saint Prince Vladimir was erected on the terraces of Mikhaylovskaya Mount. People say that the stubborn Kiev Metropolitan Philaret refused to hallow the monument he called an “idol” and was convinced only after the promise to bring into life his own idea – to build a Cathedral in honor to Vladimir, today’s Vladimir Cathedral. There was no park at Vladimir mount and even no trees, and the monument actually stood at the empty place near water-tower. The mount became green only by the beginning of the XX century due to Kiev gardeners. Only then the hill with its flowers, grass, pavilions and brick paths became popular with Kiev inhabitants.

№3 The most famous

If Western European witches prefer to gather for Valpurg night at the hill Broken in Germany, Slavic witches picked Lysaya Mount (Bald Mount) near Kiev. No other Kiev hill is as famous as Lysaya Mount which stands between Saperna Slobodka and Stolychne Shose in Kiev. There are several Bald Hills in Kiev, all of them are marked by “bald” heads, that means that in pagan times the forest was cut down and heathen temples were built there. In Christian times those places were considered to be the abode of evil forces. It is difficult to say why Kiev Bald Mount became notorious, maybe one of the reasons was Orest Somov’s bestseller Kiev Witches, which appeared 200 years ago. In 1870 the mount was hallowed and Kiev fortress was built on it. Nevertheless, it was still considered to be a “dark place”. Reputation of the fortress on the hill was indeed gloomy, here death sentences were executed, and bodies of the criminals were buried. But no sabbaths of witches were noticed on the hill, just Bulgakov’s Margaret (Master and Margaret) flew to this place before the ball of Satan. Today you won’t see archaic witches and werewolves on the Bald Mount, instead of them you can meen elves, hobbits, orks, and people in roles of other Tolkien heroes at the week-ends.

 №4 The most many-sided

Zamkova mount (Castle Mount) in Kiev is surrounded by cathedrals. The life at the Zamkova mount was boiling up even centuries and millenniums before Kiev was founded. It became the important part of Kiev from the first years of its existence, being a residential area, the administrative center, a cemetery and a rest place. It is still a question how the mount was called in ancient times, but certainly, not Zamkova, as the Castle was built only in the XIV century. It was a wooden castle not very well fortified, but it protected well from the tatar invasions. The nomads managed to bury it only once. The castle was considered to be the residence place of Lithuanian and Polish Voevodes, but its uncomfortable conditions didn’t tempt rich magnates to live in it. That’s why when Polish Voevode Adam Kissel decided to dwell in it, stunned Kiev inhabitants called the mount Kiselevka. Kissel was the last representative of Polish rulers in Kiev. After his flight from Kiev in 1653, the building gradually went to ruins, its walls decayed and the arms were stolen. The spontaneous cemetery appeared on Kiselevka and the Flor Monastery was built under the hill. Since that time, the mount crowned by a beautiful Trinity Church got its third name – Flor Mount. The Monastery and its ruined walls were one of the nicest Kiev places.

№5 The most romantic

Near Andreevskiy Spusk there is “a mount of sighs” Uzdykhalnitsa. The origins of its name are unknown. Uzdykhalnitsa Mount was connected with Zamkova Mount by a bridge, called Crooked Bridge. The name of this mount is first mentioned in the documents of the XVI century. At those time the hill was made lower in order to protect Zamkova hill. During the works ancient recluse cave was found with a pot inside, but no treasures. Today the hill is often visited by tourists, as it has the famous Richard Lion Heart Castle and Bulgakov’s house. The tunnels, staircases and galleries of Richard Castle led to the top of Uzdyhalnitsa with a beautiful view of Podil. In recent years the half official youth festival of Ukrainian cinema takes place on this hill.

№6 The most gloomy

You could hardly call differently Shekavitsa Mount which is a cemetery since ancient times. The tomb of Prophetic Oleg, mentioned in The Tale of Temporal Years chronicle, was located here. But this mount wasn’t always gloomy. At first here was a densely populated end of Kiev which disappeared after Mongol invasion. Then the mount was picked by farmers which grew wheat on its flat top and vines on its Southern slopes. There were traditional May festivals and humorous shows of Kiev Mohyla Academy students on the hill. Only after the terrible plague epidemic of 1770, the city cemetery appeared on Schekavitsa. The mount got sinister reputation then, even its streets were called Funereal and Black Ravine and the cabmen were afraid to go at those streets.

№7 The most sporting

Under Cherepanova Mount (Skull Mount) the Kiev Sports palace is located. For many years the boys living at the streets near Cherepanova Mount were looking for some mysterious skulls, but it was Kiev governor Cherepanov whose name the Mount bears. There was a fortress on this hill, and all the buildings are still preserved including Military Hospital and Kosoy Kaponir – notorious prison of Czars. The mount became famous as citadel of Kiev sports. The officers of the fortress began playing football on Cherepanova Mount in the beginning of the XX century. In 1920 Red Stadium was built there, and the enormous Republican Stadium appeared in 1941, but wasn’t opened until the end of World War II. Since 1946 footbal game the sporting epoch of Cherepanova Mount began.

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