Monument to the Baptism of Rus’ (column of Magdeburg Law)

The monument to the baptism of Rus’ (other names: the column of Magdeburg Law, the lower monument to St. Vladimir), is the oldest monument in Kyiv and is located in Kreschaty Park. Magdeburg Law was granted to Kyiv in the 18th century, during the reign of Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great. According to this law, all taxes collected from local merchants were directed exclusively to the city treasury.

The monument was built in 1802 at the expense of the Kiev magistrate and wealthy citizens, designed by architect Andrei Melensky (best known for such works in Kiev as Contract house, Saint Nicholas Church, Church of the Nativity, Exaltation of the Cross Church). The column symbolized the baptism of Rus’, which is why it is also called the lower monument to Prince Vladimir (monument to Vladimir the Great is located higher in the park Vladimirskaya Gorka) and it is located just above the Khreschatyk stream (this is the name of the ravine along which the stairs to the monument now pass). A pool was built under the column, where water was taken from springs and a stream – springs ooze there from the slopes to this day. Before the appearance of the monument there, and even after it, this area was also called the Holy Place – according to legend, here the prince baptized his sons in Pochaina. Pochaina reached this place in the 19th century, separated from the Dnieper by a sandy spit.

Since ancient times, there was a well with a small wooden chapel above it, which belonged to the Church of the Nativity. After the construction of the monument to Vladimir the Great, on the terrace of Vladimirskaya Gorka in 1853, this monument began to be called the lower monument to St. Vladimir, and over time – the monument to the Magdeburg Law.

With the start of large-scale works on the improvement of the Naberezhnoye Highway, the planning of Vladimirskaya Gorka and Vladimirsky Descent in the 1840s, the monument was not serviced for a long time. With the money collected by the people of Kiev, in 1862 it was overhauled and the surrounding area was landscaped. Since July 1861, a solemn procession of the cross from Church of the Tithes in honor of Prince Vladimir was held annually to the monument of the baptism of Rus’, with the participation of almost all of Kyiv clergy. In 1988, on the occasion of the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Rus’, the monument was restored to its original form (except for the pool) after its destruction by the Soviet authorities during the October Revolution.

In 2013, before the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’, the stairs to the column were completely replaced (it was built in 1915), the underground passage to the Dnieper embankment was repaired and painted with maps of famous places in Kiev, the column and the chapel were also repaired, and the embankment at the exit from the transition was decorated with bas-reliefs. Next to the monument, on the site of the former tram line, an alley of Magdeburg law also appeared. In May 2016, references to Russia and Emperor Alexander were destroyed on the column – a trident was installed in its place.

Where is the monument to the baptism of Rus’ (the Magdeburg right column)?