The architectural tradition on the territory of Ukraine had a long historical way of evolution. The most ancient memorials of monumental and building architecture on the Ukrainian lands have the origin of the former Greek settlements on the Black Sea coast which belong to 8-7th century BC. Most of those big cities were located in Crimea: Khersones (Chersonese) near Sevastopol, Feodosia, Pantikapej (contemporary Kerch), Fanagoria in front of Kerch, and Tira above the Dniester estuary, Taman, Tanais near the contemporary Rostov-on-Don etc. The remnants of the architectural complex of Bilsk (7-3rd century BC) are identified with the preancient city Gelon, mentioned by Herodot.
The experiments with the saved insignificant remnants of the antique buildings and other artistic productions point out that in 8-6th century BC Prechernomorye was influenced with the so-called ionic style and since 5th century there were templates of Athenian and, later (2nd century AD), of Roman building. The found bases of the defensive city walls (Olvia, Pantikapej, Nimphej, Gorgippia), dwelling houses, temple of Apollo in Olvia and various fragments of columns and capitals show their difference from the Greek paragons – attic and those of Asia Minor. The tombs with an arch made of stones are of special interest. This new for that time constructive mean of cover was not known in the very Greece but only in some settlements, for example in Alexandria.
Ukrainian baroque is characterized by special peculiarities, in particular by using the traditions of folk art. Its original style was clearly reflected in the architecture of Levoberezhie and Slobozhanshina, unified with Russia in result of liberation war of Ukrainian people in 1648-1654.
The other situation was on the western lands of Ukraine which belonged to Poland. There differed everything – clients, tastes, architects (generally foreigners), building techniques and materials. The policy of catholic expansion became stronger. Just this policy caused the building of a number of catholic convents in Galitsia, Volyn’, Podilya and Pravoberezhie. One of the first structures which cmpletely corresponded the architectural style of baroque was the Jesuit church of Peter and Pavel in Lvov, erected by the italian Jakomo Briano in 1610-1630. This church had the peculiarities similar to the Gothic architecture.
Residence of the Metropolitans in Chernovtsy (Chernovtsy State University) is a real pearl of the city. This magnificent palace complex was designed, in 1864—1882, by the Czech architect Josef Hlavka.
Famous builders and masons from the Czech Republic came to build this palace complex; brick factories, quarries were specifically built near the city. Metropolitan residence combines Gothic, Byzantine, Oriental, and other architectural styles. It consists of three independent, united together stylistically buildings: Main - Metropolitan, Seminary and Church of the Three Saints, and the Monastery – House for visitors.
The ensemble interiors are designed and implemented according to Karl’s Jobst and Karl’s Svoboda drawings and outlines. The structures form a courtyard with a fence and monumental gates. The Marble Hall of the Main building, painted by famous painters, stands out among other interiors of the complex.
The buildings that currently house the Chernovtsy State University were established in the 18th century by order of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 19th century university (along with the surrounding lands) came into power the Romanian kingdom. After returning to land Bukovina Ukraine - University became a state university in the Ukrainian language learning. University Park is located nearby, which is a monument to the famous architect J. Hlavka.
Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in XI century. It is located in the heart of the city. There preserved through the centuries 260 m² mosaics and 3000 m² frescoes. It’s hardly anywhere else in Europe to find a church where preserve so many frescoes of XI century. Around the cathedral there are the 17th century monastic buildings, made in the architectural style of Ukrainian Baroque. The interior of the cathedral is almost unchanged. In the late 18th century there appeared iconostasis and in 19 century - cast iron floor tiles.
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is a storehouse of works of art, which attracts historians and tourists to see and admire the wonder of Byzantine and ancient architecture. Anyone, who crosses the threshold of the cathedral, is stroke with the figure in the central apse - the figure of a praying Virgin Mary. The height of the mosaic is 6 meters. Mosaic is composed of stone and glass plates of different colors and shades (about 177 shades of different colors). The mosaics, on which the Eucharist and the Fathers of the Church are depicted, are astonishingly well-balanced. The central apse and the dome are decorated with mosaics; the walls of the cathedral are decorated with frescoes.
Saint Sophia Cathedral had repeatedly burned, rebuilt in the XIII century, suffered from the invasion of hordes of Batu Khan, in the XV-XVI centuries it remained without a roof - all this has adversely affected the frescoes. Up to the present day there survived little more than two thousand of 5000 m ² of frescoes created in the XI century. At the end of XVII century the ancient frescoes were whitewashed with limestone, and were re-discovered by accident in 1843 when a piece of plaster fell from an oil painting and murals opened XI century. However, the clearing of the walls was carried in the inappropriate way and the workers removed some fresco painting.
Mosaics originally occupied a huge area, but there preserved only the third part of them. Mosaic palette contains 177 colors. Blue has 21 shades, green – 34, yellow – 23, red - 19, gold - 25, silver - 9, that shows the high professional level of masters. Smalt pieces, faced up on wet plaster, were placed under different slope so that the rays of light falling on them reflected at different angles and created sparkling, light-bearing surface that attached to the mosaic of the Cathedral the special expressiveness.
Architectural forms and painting of the cathedral form a unique unity. Frescoes as the ornament of embroidery adorn the walls, pillars, arches. Among the exquisite and colorful paintings you can see the images of saints and scenes from the Gospels. In contrast to other samples of Byzantine religious art, which have reached our times, on certain frescoes in the cathedral there are not biblical, but secular subjects - among them portraits of the family of the Grand Prince Yaroslav.
Painting of XI century, which adorns the tower of the Cathedral, depicts scenes of games, organized in Constantinople by Emperor Constantine Porfirogenet in honor of Princess Olga. On the frescoes there are depicted mimes, jugglers, musicians, dancers, trainers, racing chariots. The later frescoes of the cathedral (17-19 c) are devoted only to religious topics. 300 graffiti on the walls of the cathedral show a high level of literacy of Kievan Rus XI century.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra or Kyiv Pechersk Lavra also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery which gave its name to one of the city districts where it is located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1015 the Lavra has been a preeminent center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery complex is considered a separate national historic-cultural preserve (sanctuary), the national status to which was granted on March 13, 1996. The Lavra also not only located in another part of the city, but is part of a different national sanctuary than Saint Sophia Cathedral. While being a cultural attraction, the monastery is currently active. It was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on August 21, 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.
Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kiev-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve, and theUkrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Volodymyr.
In the late 2010 a monitoring mission of UNESCO was visiting the Kiev Pechersk Lavra to check on situation of the site. According to the Minister of Culture Mykhailo Kulynyak the Kiev's historic site along with the Saint Sophia Cathedral is not threatened by the "black list" of the international organization.