According to the “Tale of bygone years”, Kiev was founded by the brothers Kyi, Schek and Khoriv. The names of the brothers remained in the names of its parts (Dakovica), in the chronicle Got its name. The record does not indicate the exact date of the founding of the city. Excavations have revealed that in its territory there were a few small Slavic settlements — predecessors of the future city.
The main core of Kiev VIII—X centuries was the settlement of Andrew’s grief. It was a small fortified castle with pagan temples in the form of a large, round, composed of rough stones of the altar. Around it were found
fragments of modelled pottery, and numerous bones of sacrificial animals. It is possible that in the center of the site of the temple was a wooden idol.
Ancient city wall, built around Andrew’s hill, was made of wood. During the reign of Vladimir it was rebuilt, and the city incorporated a number of neighboring St. Andrew’s hill areas. The excavations established that Yaroslav the Wise built a new city wall. City by area in Yaroslavl several times exceeded Kiev by Vladimir. The wall was built of oak log cabins adjacent to each other. Each individual frame consisted of a rectangle of size m. 19х6 ramparts of the city of Yaroslav reaches a width of 20 m and its power was unrivalled in the history of ancient Russian fortification. In the political and administrative center, an important place was occupied by the Prince’s court. In the X century, the princely court was built gridnitsa, intended for receptions, banquets princely teams, large meetings.
The Prince’s court and is the oldest in Russia stone building — the Church of the tithes, built in 989-996, was the architectural centre of Kiev. The construction of the princely court was surrounded by Torzhok, craft shops and houses of noble citizens. Before the construction of St. Sophia Cathedral Church of the tithes, apparently, played the role of the city centre. The Foundation of the Church was a building with three apses (semi-circular protrusions) on the East side. Inside the ceiling was supported by three pairs of stone pillars. The building was made of blocks, consisting of a thin square bricks, bonded with lime mortar mixed with crushed brick. For finishing details were applied so-called circle brick with rounded corners. The Church was decorated with painted plaster and clay glazed colored tiles of different shapes, of which laid out complex ornamental composition. To the North and South of the tithes of the Church were discovered the ruins of large palaces.
The most striking architectural monument of pre-Mongol period Kiev is built in the early XI century. under Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich Saint Sophia Cathedral. He played a significant role as a center of Church-political life of the Kievan state. During its 800-year history, the Cathedral was repeatedly subjected to surgery. The interior of the Church was divided by pillars into five sections — naves. Over the side aisles towering choruses, destined for the Prince, his family and the court nobility. The vaults and walls of the temple were decorated with scenes from the Bible, a monumental and austere columns the figures of the saints perfectly fit into the architectural motif. The stream of light fell from above for sumptuous mosaic floors. The parapets were decorated with bas-reliefs. Architectural composition in Sofia draws from the traditions of Byzantine architecture.
During the reign of Prince Yaroslav in Kiev were built large stone gates and received in the history of Russian town-planning of the name “Golden gate” – by analogy with the Byzantine. This name is then moved to the main gate of Vladimir.
Have appeared in Kiev earlier than in other towns of Ancient Russia, stone architecture was of great importance for the development of Russian architecture.
In a number of places were opened in Kyiv houses of townspeople, craftsmen. Most are of a semi with a mud stove in one corner.
Excavations have shown that Kyiv was the main centre of ancient crafts XII— first half XIII century Kyivan artisans produced a wide variety of things, from simple clay pots and wooden spoons to the finest jewelry. Craftsmanship meet the basic needs of the urban population, and its objects were exported far beyond the borders of the city. Here were developed blacksmithing, ceramics, woodworking, jewelry, glass, kasterine and other crafts. In XI—XII centuries. develop the art of stone-masons and carvers, manufacturing of building bricks. Difficult to trace archaeologically the development of crafts such as tanning, weaving and tailoring, but they were widely known in Kiev.
In the autumn of 1240, Kiev was destroyed by the hordes of the Tatar-Mongols under the leadership of Batu Khan. Archaeologists managed to reconstruct the specific events of this tragedy. It is established that the Church of the tithes was the last stronghold of the defenders of Kiev. Those ruins was opened cache with a depth of 5 m, the bottom of which were several skeletons along with precious things. Obviously, there were killed the rich people. Near the gate, which were later named Satyavani, excavated two dwellings. In the furnace of one of them found the skeletons of two girls, in another a group of skeletons. The decline of Kiev is traced on historical and archaeological sources. The center of political and economic life of Russia shifted to the North.