Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex. Aside from its main building, the cathedral includes an ensemble of supporting structures such as a bell tower, the House of Metropolitan, and others. In 2011 the historic site was reassigned from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Regional Development of Ukraine to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. One of the reasons for that move was the fact that both "Sofia Kyivska" and Kiev Pechersk Lavra are recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Program as one complex, while in Ukraine the two were governed by different government entities.
The complex of the Cathedral is the main component and museum of the National Preserve "Sophia of Kiev" which is the state institution responsible for the preservation of the Cathedral complex as well as four other historic landmarks across the nation. The cathedral's name comes from the 6th-century Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople (meaning Holy Wisdom, and dedicated to the Holy Wisdom rather than a specific saint named Sophia ). According to a less popular theory, its model was the 13-domed oaken Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (ca. 989), which Yaroslav I the Wise determined to imitate in stone as a sign of gratitude to the citizens of Novgorod who had helped him secure the Kievan throne in 1019. The first foundations were laid in 1037 (or 1011), but the cathedral took two decades to complete.
In 1740 the Cathedral was completed to its present form. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and during the Soviet antireligious campaign of the 1920s, the government plan called for the cathedral's destruction and transformation of the grounds into a park "Heroes of Perekop " (after a Red Army victory in the Russian Civil War in Crimea).
The cathedral was saved from destruction primarily with the effort of many scientists and historians. Nevertheless, in 1934, Soviet authorities confiscated the structure from the church, including the surrounding seventeenth–eighteenth century architectural complex and designated it as an architectural and historical museum. On 21 August 2007, the Saint Sophia Cathedral was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine, based on votes by experts and the internet community.