Unfortunately, history did not record the names of the builders of this ancient wonder. Most probably they were Byzantine craftsmen invited by the prince.
More than 30 artists worked on painting the interiors (the area of frescoes in the church is 3000 square metres). And the area of mosaics from the 11th century in Sophia cathedral is the largest in the world: 260 square metres! Frescoes and mosaics painted on golden background can be divided into three groups: Evangelic legends, Bible stories, and lives of St. George, St. Anna and the Archangel Michael. There are 34 shades of green smalt and 25 shades of gold!
The masterpiece of mosaic art is the central depiction of Oranta, a six-metre figure of the Virgin Mary, whose hands are raised in prayer. The uniqueness of the mosaic on the cupola is that, from different points of view in the cathedral, Oranta looks depicted in various ways: standing, bending in praying or on her knees.
The beauty of the frescoes and mosaics is highlighted by the carved marble details of the altar screen, stone Metropolitan armchair, mosaic floors and wooden gilded baroque-style iconostasis dating from 1747. Originally, the latter had three layers, but only the lower one remains: the other two were destroyed in the 1930s by the Bolsheviks. A carved six-tonne sarcophagus of Yaroslav the Wise made of the precious Byzantine marble rests at St. Sophia. When scientists opened it in 1936, they found male and female skeletons.
St. Sophia’s Cathedral saw crownings of princes, chronicles were written here, translations of scripture were made and it hosted the first Kyiv Rus library and school. In 1633-1647, Kyiv metropolite Petro Mohyla renovated the church and founded a monastery here. When most of Kyiv turned into ruins during the Second World War, Sophia of Kyiv was almost untouched, is it not a miracle?