Monday, August 16, 2010

Vyshgorod, Established 946

Vyshhorod (Ukrainian: Вишгород) is a city in the Kiev Oblast (province), in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Vyshhorodskyi Raion (district), and is located along the Dnieper River upstream from the national capital, Kiev. Population: 22,933 (2001 est.)

The earliest historical mention of Vyshgorod, whose name literally translates as "the town upstream" dates as early as 946, when it was described as the favourite residence of Saint Olga. Also mentioned in De Administrando Imperio, Vyshgorod had been the fortified castle and residence of the monarchs of Kievan Rus on the Dnieper from that time until 1240, when the Mongols sacked it. It was there that Vladimir the Great kept a harem of 300 concubines.

After the Mongol invasion, the location was not mentioned until 1523 and even then it was documented as a poor village. Vyshgorod grew considerably following the construction of the hydroelectric Kiev power plant and was finally incorporated as a town in 1968. The old town was excavated in 1934-37 and 1947. The most striking find was the basement of the eight-pillared Church of St. Basil, founded by Vladimir the Great and named after his patron saint. As the church was one of the largest in Kievan Rus, it took twenty years to complete it. Before the Mongol invasion, the church housed the relics of the first East Slavic saints, Boris and Gleb, but their subsequent fate remains a mystery. The ancient cossack military monastery, the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery, was located not too far away from the city.

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