The cathedral is named after the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, which was dedicated to the Holy Wisdom. According to one theory, Yaroslav the Wise sponsored the construction of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in 1037 to celebrate his decisive victory over the nomadic Pechenegs in 1036.
Aside from its main building, the cathedral includes an ensemble of supporting structures such as a bell tower and the House of Metropolitan.The structure has 5 naves, 5 apses, and 13 cupolas. It is surrounded by two-tier galleries from three sides. Measuring 37 to 55 meters, the exterior used to be faced with plinths. On the inside, it retains mosaics and frescos from the 11th century, including a dilapidated representation of Yaroslav’s family, and the Orans.
Originally the cathedral was a burial place of the Kievan rulers including Vladimir Monomakh, Vsevolod Yaroslavich and the cathedral’s founder Yaroslav I the Wise, although only the latter’s grave survived to this day.