Ukrainian architecture

Ukrainian architecture is a term that describes the motives and styles that are found in structures built in modern Ukraine, and by Ukrainians worldwide. These include initial roots which were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. After the 12th century, the distinct architectural history continued in the principalities of Galicia-Volhynia. During the epoch of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, a new style, unique to Ukraine was developed from the western influences of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After the union with the Tsardom of Russia, architecture in Ukraine began to develop in different directions, with many structures in the larger eastern, Russian ruled area built in the styles of Russian architecture of that period, whilst the western Galicia was developed under Austro-Hungarian architectural influences. In both cases producing fine examples. Ukrainian national motives would finally be used during the period of the Soviet Union and in modern independent Ukraine.

Medieval Rus' (988–1230) 

A model of what the original Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev might have looked like.

The medieval state of Kievan Rus' was the predecessor of modern states of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine and their respective cultures, including architecture.

The great churches of the Rus', built after the adoption of Christianity in 988, were the first examples of monumental architecture in the East Slavic lands. The architectural style of the Kievan state which quickly established itself was strongly influenced by the Byzantine

Early Eastern Orthodox churches were mainly made of wood with the simplest form of church becoming known as a cell church. Major cathedrals often featured scores of small domes, which led some art historians to take this as an indication of what the pagan Slavic temples should have looked like.

Several examples of this survive to this day, however in the course of the 16-18th centuries, many of these were externally rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style (see below). Examples include the grand St. Sophia of Kiev - the year 1017 is the earliest record of foundation laid, Church of the Saviour at Berestove - built from 1113-1125, and the St. Cyril's Church, circa 12th century. All can still be found in the Ukrainian capital.


The Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernihiv dates to 1030 (left), whilst the nearby Cathedral of Boris and Gleb to 1123 (right).

Although certain buildings were reconstructed during the late-19th century, such as the Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, built in 1160 and reconstructed in 1896-1900, the Paraskevi church in Chernihiv, built in 1201 with reconstruction done in the late 1940s, and the Golden gates in Kiev built in 1037 and reconstructed in 1982; the latter's reconstruction was dismissed by some art and architecture historians as a revivalist fantasy.

Secular architecture of Kievan Rus' has scarcely survived.

Cossack epoch

Early Ukrainian Baroque


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