The Architectural Image of Kiev’s Central Square as a Symbol of National Identity

by

Olena Oliynyk

Keywords

  • Architectural history
  • national identity
  • city image
  • public spaces

The epicenter of all large-scale radical protests in modern Ukraine has been Kiev’s central square, called Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). Ten years ago, during the Orange Revolution of 2004, the Ukrainians stood their ground on the Maidan after a rigged election. The more recent events, which rallied the nation even more, have made Maidan a generic name synonymous with freedom and dignity.

The architectural history of the place has played an important role in the formation of the Ukrainian national identity.

National identity is the key component of any state’s national idea and the state itself. In architecture, features of identity manifest themselves in the formation of the main public spaces and the appearance of built-up areas. Urban spaces embody society’s values. This means that in the process of its development, it is essential to ensure the conservation of the city’s identity.

This is why the main objective of Ukrainian society at the moment is to assert its own identity and create its own imagery. Therefore, public zones of the capital of a democratic country should be transformed to emphasize its democratic character and perform other socially important functions.

The visual image of the Independence Square and the Maidan as a catchword have become a symbol of the just struggles of a nation and its self-identification process. Now it is up to architects to underscore its meaning with architectural means.