Sunday, July 26, 2009


St. Andrew's Church was built on the express order of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna to the 1748 design of outstanding Russian architect Bartholomeo Rastrelli. In 1749—1754, the construction was carried out under the guidance of Ivan Michurin, an architect from Moscow. This structure is the result of fruitful collaboration between both Russian and Ukrainian architects, for quite a number of specialists from St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kyiv were involved in the construction.

Several times during the nineteenth century, the church roofs were repaired, and this re-sulted in the deformation of the dome's initial outline and a loss of exterior decor. The monument remained in this state until the 1970s.
From 1917 to 1953, work to reinforce the foundations and protect the building from subsoil water was carried out, the facades were repaired and the pictorial works conserved.
In 1970 at the request of the St. Sophia Museum staff, the Albertine Museum in Vienna sent the photocopies of Rastrelli's drawings of St. Andrew's Church. In 1978, based on the architect's drawings, the Kyiv restorers headed by architect V. Korneyeva restored the dome to its original form. Today, returned to its original appearance, the church is open to the public as a monument of Russian and Ukrainian architecture.
St. Andrew's Church was built in the Baroque style current in the architecture and art of the late seventeenth — mid-eighteenth century. Borrowed from West-European art, this style was influenced by local architectural traditions and acquired unique national features. Baroque structures are marked by festive, elegant form, a dynamic arrangement of archi-tectural elements and lavish decor. Also typical are the contrasting coloring of the wall surfaces as well as an extensive use of gilt. St. Andrew's Church incorporates all these features. To build the church on a hill, the architects resorted to a unique method: the structure's basement was erected in the form of a residential house adjoining the slope. A wide stairway of iron leads from the street to the balustrade-enclosed parvis.
The exterior displays infinite richness of decor. The walls and drums of the domes are articulated through pilasters and Corinthian (in the first tier) and Ionic (in the second) columns. The basement, the walls and the drums are ornamented with intricately profiled cornices. The lucames are framed with lavish stuccowork, and the pediments feature wrought-iron cartouches bearing the monogram of Empress Elizabeth. The picturesque effect is enhanced by bright coloring: the white columns, pilasters and cornices stand out against the turquoise background of the walls; the capitals and wrought-iron cartouches are gilded. Winding gilded garlands adorn the domes, which are painted dark-green.
The ornamentation of the interior is similar to that used outside. The articulation of wall surfaces through vertical members is complemented by profuse gilt stuccowork adorning the window frames and domes.
The iconostasis is central to the interior decor of the church. This three-tiered structure is characterized by soft, curved outlines. The gilt pilasters, cornices and ornate icon frames of carved wood contrast marvellously to the purple background of the iconostasis featuring icons of various shapes and dimensions. The Royal Gates are covered with carved wooden lattice-work. The decor of the iconostasis incorporates pieces of statuary: heads of cherubs and Figures of angels; The Crucifixion sculptural group crowns the iconostasis.
Rastrelli supervised the interior decoration. He not only designed the entire iconostasis, but also made drawings and moulds according to which woodcutters losiph Dornash and Andrei Karlovsky of St. Petersburg made all the individual elements of the iconostasis. It was installed in Kyiv by craftsman Johann Grot.
Behind the iconostasis in the apse, there are altar canopies on twisted columns adorned with garlands of flowers. Of interest is a pulpit supported by two gilded figures of angels. Painting occupies an important place in the interior design of St. Andrew's Church. It includes eighteenth-century productions, icons from the iconostasis, the painting on the pulpit, and the oil paintings decorating the cupola. Most of the icons (some 25 pieces) were executed by artist I. Vishnyakov of St. Petersburg with a group of his students. The paintings on the reverse side of the iconostasis were done by Ukrainian artists I. Romensky and I. Chaikovsky. Of great value are the works by the talented Russian painter Alexei Antropov. Among them. The Last Supper in the chancel, a number of icons in the icono-stasis, and other works adorning the pulpit and the cupola. The icon Assumption bears his signature.
Though the paintings in St. Andrew's Church are based on religious themes, their manner of execution is entirely secular, and they exemplify realistic, life-asserting art devoid of reli-gious ascetism. Typical of St. Andrew's Church painting are extravagant postures, rich clothing, an abundance of mundane details and an interest in landscape and still-life. The painting in the church is concordant with the woodcutting, the stuccowork, and the build-ing's overall structure.
On the western walls of the transept are two nineteenth-century compositions Prince Vla-dimir Chooses the Faith by an anonymous painter and St. Andrew Preaching a Sermon by Platon Borispolets. The subjects of these historical canvases executed in a Classicist manner were borrowed from chronicles of Old Rus.
The spacious, festive, sunlit interior of St. Andrew's Church gives the impression of a formal hall in a palace. As far as its artistic style, daring conception, and harmonious blending with the natural scenery of the hillside, St. Andrew's Church is considered a gem of eight-eenth-century Russian and Ukrainian architecture.
In 1968, St. Andrew's Church was proclaimed a historical monument to be preserved by the state.

Questions about Ukraine

How can I send an SMS message to someone in Ukraine?

Go to (in English) and enter the cell phone number prefix, the number, and your text message. Not all prefixes are accepted. If you read Russian or can figure this page out, you can send an SMS to any mobile phone operator in Ukraine for free at

How can I look up a street address in Ukraine?

Go to, select the city at the left and enter the street name in English, Ukrainian, or Russian.

I am a U.S. citizen traveling to Ukraine. Are you 100% sure I do not need a visa?

You really do not need a visa. Many recent visitors can confirm this with their personal experience. If you're still in doubt, visit this Ukrainian Consulate site.

How do I get from the Kyiv Boryspil airport to Kyiv?

The Kyiv Boryspil international airport is located 15 km to the southeast of Kyiv. The domestic airport (Zhuliany) is inside of town. To get from Boryspil to Kyiv you will need to take either a taxi or a "Polit" bus. If you decide to take a taxi and are not up to haggling with the taxi drivers, the best idea is to walk up to the taxi stand INSIDE of the terminal 50 m from where you come out into the lobby and talk to a young lady there. The standard price these days is 100-150 UAH ($20-30 USD), depending on where you need to go to within Kyiv. You can go for cheaper still if you agree to ride with other passengers or are stubborn about lowering the price. The Polit buses ("Політ" in Ukrainian) wait in front of the terminal and are either full-sized buses or mini-vans. They run from approximately 4:00 a.m. to midnight every 20-40 minutes (now supposedly they run 24 hours). A ticket costs around 15-20 UAH depending on your destination. The bus stops at Kharkivska metro station, the central bus station ("Avtovokzal"), Peremohy Square, and the central train stration.

How much does a train ticket from Kyiv to Simferopol cost?
It depends on the class of ticket you purchase (more on riding the train in Ukraine). Most foreigners prefer second class ("kupe"). One ticket from Kyiv to Simferopol (see map) costs about 80 UAH ($16 USD), with another 8 UAH for bedding.

Where can I find out about domestic flights in Ukraine and book a plane ticket?

You can search for flights between Ukrainian cities at and book flights online. Kiy Avia offices are located all around Ukraine and have English-speaking representatives.

How does one get to Yalta from Simferopol?

By taxi, trolleybus, state bus, or minibus, all from the Simferopol train station. An acceptable price for a 100 km taxi ride to Yalta would be around 200 UAH ($40), but if the driver speaks English or has a fancy car the price will be higher. The trolleybus takes 2.5 hours to get to Yalta and can be less comfortable, but it only costs around 12 UAH. The state bus (ticket office next to McDonald's) costs 20 UAH; minibuses also cost 20 UAH and are quite comfortable and quick

What's the cheapest monthly rent I can reasonably expect to pay for a basic, no-frills apartment in Kyiv?

$300-450 USD per month for a somewhat shabby apartment with a phone, kitchen, bathroom, and 1 living/bedroom around the edge of town within 10 minutes walking distance from a metro station. Visit our pages on finding accommodations and rental services.

How do I hook up to the Internet in Ukraine?

Around Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities there are stands on the street in central areas of town with phone and Internet cards. Dial-up Internet service cards are also sold in many stores and post offices. Major Internet providers are IPTelecom and SvitOnline. Cards come in denominations from 5 to 100 UAH, and there are a number of tariff plans to choose from. The cheapest is call-back, where the provider calls your phone line to connect, thus freeing you from having to pay phone bills in addition to Internet access. For high-speed Internet access, the most well-known Internet provider is Volia-Kabel (site in Russian only). However, high-speed access may not be available in many Ukrainian towns or even in certain neighborhoods within big cities.

What are typical prices at Internet cafes in Ukraine?

Usually between 4 and 6 UAH per hour (around $1 USD). The central post office in Kyiv charges 10 UAH, and prices are much higher at the Kyiv Boryspil airport. Internet speed may be slow at many Internet cafes, which are mostly used by local boys for computer games.

Do any discount airlines fly to Ukraine?

Not at the moment, however, Ryanair has introduced a new daily flight from London to Rzeszow, Poland, near the Ukrainian border and flies three times a week from Frankfurt to Rzeszow. The average price is 30 Euros one way. From Rzeszow it's a few hours' bus trip to Lviv in west Ukraine (see map). Also, SkyEurope flies to Kosice, Slovakia, just 40 km from Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

Which countries can Ukrainians visit without a visa?

Ukrainians do not need a visa to visit countries of the former Soviet Union except Turkmenistan and the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia). In addition, Ukraine has a visa-free relationship with Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia. To travel beyond Ukraine, Russia, and most other countries of the former USSR Ukrainians must get an international passport. Ukrainians have no trouble getting visas to Poland, and it is not difficult to obtain visas to Slovakia, Hungary, or Romania. Ukrainians can visit other European countries easily by buying a travel package with a travel agency that gets them a visa automatically. Here is a list of countries and visa regimes in Ukrainian.