Medieval Sources of Our Common Heritage: Lednica Island – St. Sophia of Kyiv

Medieval Sources of Our Common Heritage: Lednica Island – St. Sophia of Kyiv

A stand exhibition “Medieval Sources of Our Common Heritage: Lednica Island –  St. Sophia of Kyiv” is open on May 6 at 12:00 in Poland at the Museum of the First Piasts at Lednica.

The exhibition represents the relationship between Piast Poland and Kyivan Rus in the early Middle Ages and the common Polish-Ukrainian historical heritage.

The most important object of sacred architecture in Ukraine is the Cathedral of the Wisdom of God (St. Sophia) in Kyiv of the XI century, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is managed by the National Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv”. On the other hand, the fortress at Lednicki Island, with the best-preserved relics of the Pre-Romanesque Palace and sacred architecture in Poland, is often cited as the place where Meshko I could be baptized. Lednica Island, which is managed by the Museum of the First Piasts at Lednica, has been recognized as a Historical Monument called the “Christianization of Poland”.

The presentation of these historical monuments which are one of the first Christian buildings in both countries and belong to the outstanding cultural heritage of Ukraine and Poland, is the basis of the exhibition and the result of the 5 years of scientific cooperation between the Museum of First Piasts on Glacier and the National Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv”.

According to the agreement, from 2021 this exhibition was to be opened simultaneously in Kyiv, near St. Sophia, and in Dziekanowice, near Lednicki Island. Therefore, all information on the stands is presented in three languages ​​(Polish, Ukrainian and English). Unfortunately, Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the ongoing war thwarted our plans, so for the present the exhibition will be available only in Poland.

The exhibition will include, among other things, information about the contacts between Poland and Ukraine in the early Middle Ages, embodied, in particular, through the dynastic ties of the ruling families of both countries, the presence of historical and cultural artifacts that were considered imports.

One of the stands is dedicated to the Polish-Rus border of the early Middle Ages, in particular the so-called Cherven Cities, which was not only a place of confrontation between the Piasts and Volodymyrovychi, but also a zone of cooperation and contacts of the subjects of both dynasties, the beginning of our good neighborliness.

We also want to demonstrate that the marriages of the descendants of Mieszko I and Volodymyr the Great played an important role in the interaction between Poland and Rus-Ukraine. In the 10th and 12th centuries, there were probably more than 20 such alliances, which, according to history and archeological finds (in Kyiv and Lednica Island), were a very strong factor in cultural interactions, strengthening interstate cultural ties.

Especially now, in these difficult and painful days for the Ukrainian people, given the need to promote the common, rich history of Poland and Ukraine and cooperation of cultural institutions, we want to show the result of our joint work in the form of this exhibition.

The exhibition is held under the honorary patronage of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Poland Andrii Deshchytsia.