Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Monument a Day #1 - Yaroslav the Wise (978-1054)

Bila Tserkva City Day
Yaroslav the Wise with the church of St. John in the background

Inspired by A Soviet Poster a Day blog, I decided to focus on a monument a day in the city of Bila Tserkva where we live. The monuments are testimony to the history of Bila Tserkva and of Ukraine in general, so I thought it would be a fun way to share it with everyone. Most cities in Ukraine are filled with monuments and memorials of historical importance. The majority of these are dedicated to The Great Patriotic War (World War II). Even small villages will usually have at least one memorial. Hopefully this will be interesting as well as educational and through it you will come to know and love Ukraine. I will also include the GPS coordinates in case anyone wants to see the location on Google Earth or better yet, actually come and visit Bila Tserkva.

It's only fitting that the first monument be of our city founder, Yaroslav the Wise. He founded Bila Tserkva in 1032, making it, as of this year, 977 years old. Yaroslav, 978-1054, grand duke of Kyiv (1019–1054); son of Vladimir I. Designated by his father to rule in Novgorod, he became grand duke of Kyiv after defeating his older brother Sviatopolk, who succeeded Vladimir I. A shrewd statesman, he consolidated the power and prestige of Kyivan Rus. He regained West Galicia from the Poles (who had obtained it in return for supporting Sviatopolk), crushed (1036) the Pechenegs (nomadic invaders), and suppressed rebellions by Lithuanian and Finnish tribes. In 1043 he organized the last Rus campaign against Constantinople, in which his troops were routed. At home he encouraged learning, codified laws, erected magnificent buildings and churches, including the famous Cathedral of St. Sophia, and founded (1039) a patriarchate in Kyiv. Yaroslav was in close contact with European dynasties; his daughters were married to Harold III of Norway, Andrew I of Hungary, and Henry I of France. Before his death Yaroslav divided his kingdom among his heirs, designating the oldest, Iziaslav, as grand duke of Kyiv. The others were told to obey Iziaslav as they had their father, but civil war ensued.

Yaroslav is pictured on the Ukrainian two Hryvni note with the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv on the reverse.

The statue of Yaroslav the wise stands at: 49°47'28.74"N 30° 6'30.73"E

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