Magdeburg Law Pillar in Kyiv
The history of Magdeburg Law Pillar.
The first monument to the “enlightened” Kyiv was an edifice on the Dnieper embankment in 1808. It is an 18 m high pillar erected above the Khreschatitsky spring in the place “where the children of the most Orthodox Grand Prince Vladimir were baptized.” The monument is known as Pillar of the Magdeburg Laws, saluting the years of Alexander I, when the city of Kyiv once again was granted the privilege of municipal selfgovernance. The pupil of the prominent architect Giacomo Quarenghi Andrey Melensky was commissioned to commemorate this event with the monument.
The 18-meter pillar built by the talented architect had crowned a chapel with a natural source, from which the citizens took healing water for centuries and above which the churches in honor of St. Vladimir, the Baptizer of Rus, towered for years. Interestingly, the source was worshipped as one of the most important shrines of the Orthodox Church. After the Pillar’s completion, the appropriate dedicatory tablets appeared there: “To Saint Vladimir, the Enlightener of Russia” and “To Emperor Alexander I from the grateful and full-hearted Kyiv civil society for upholding our rights and privileges”. The funds for the monument were raised by the entire city. In the 1930s, in the place of the chapel destroyed by Bolsheviks, a beer and soft drinks stall was opened.
This article was published in the book Interesting Kyiv.
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© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
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