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Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

Kyiv, Ukraine Ukrainian Pride on Sacred Ground – the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra
Christianity and Buddhism

“Kiev-Pechersk Lavra – an exclusive monastery complex spread over 28 hectares - is a UNESCO world heritage site and about 1000 years old Orthodox center in Ukraine. A riverside large monumental site, built on a sloppy hill boasts magnificent churches, underground caves and grassy landscape. Regarded as the holiest ground across the country, this historical site is also included in the seven wonders of Ukraine. In true sense, the Lavra is preserving Ukrainian culture, pride, history and spiritual sanctity since ages.”

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Overview

History and Belief

The larger than life monastery was founded in 1051 by St. Anthony, an orthodox monk who dug a cave and stayed inside for rest of the life to find peace from Ukrainian unrest. Soon this place became a living abode for other monks giving it a firm establishment and proper administrative framework to run the monastery. Kiev Pechersk Lavra also received support from wealthy kings and influential people in form of money, land and buildings. By 1070, massive structure building started in the complex including Troitskaya Church, Uspenskiy Cathedral and refectory. Gradually, the monastery was developed into a culture development center of Ukraine with lots of academic activities began such as setting up of a printing-house and appointing several famous scholars including writers, doctors, scientists, chroniclers and painters to work in the premise.

In 1718, a massive fire broke out in Lavra, which led to the restoration of damaged structures in successive years for a significant duration. During restoration, Troitskaya Church and Holy Dormition Cathedral were re-built in baroque style, and territory of entire complex was covered with stone walls. By middle of 18th century, Lavra’s exclusive architectural ensemble was created which is preserved till date. The monastery’s tough phase began when communist party rule started in 1917. The communist ruler closed the Lavra, nationalized its assets, and established building museums inside the complex. During the First World War in 1941, the Holy Dormition Cathedral was blown up. Later in 1988 and 1990, the territory of Far Caves and the territory of Near Caves were handed over to newly formed monk community. At present, Kiev Pechersk Lavra is the official residence of Church of Ukraine’s head - Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev.    . 

 


Architecture

The beautiful, massive orthodox cultural center is located on the side of Dnieper River. Initially founded as Cave monastery, the Lavra also called as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves – an underground passage system that can be bifurcated into Near and Far caves.

Pechersk refers to cave and a highly-regarded male monk monastery of Eastern Orthodox Church is called Lavra. Inside the Lavra, Saint Sophia Cathedral is a wonderful architectural monument which belongs to Kievan Rus'. This was the first cathedral in Ukraine that was listed among World Heritage List and shares the honor with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex.

The Gate Church of the Holy Trinity in Kiev is an exclusive example of Ukrainian Baroque style of architecture of 17th and 18th centuries. The south façade of the church contains heavily carved Baroque features with walls bearing frescoes painted exclusively by the monks. Underground caves also have lots of mummified monks, icons and religious relics. The Lavra is an eternal symbol of Ukrainian Christianity preserving its past as well as present and also offers unique atmosphere with a spiritual and calming effect. 

Architectural brilliance of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra ranges from exclusive cathedrals to bell towers to robust stone walls to underground caves. Some the major attractions in the complex comprises the Dormition Cathedral, Great Lavra Bell tower, the Church of All Saints, the Church of the Exaltation of Cross, the Church of the Trinity, the Church of the Conception of St. Anne, the Refectory Church, the Church of the Life-Giving Spring, the Church of the Savior at Berestove and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin apart from the Debosquette Wall, the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary, and the St. Nicholas Monastery.

Standing at 96.5 meters, the Great Lavra Bell tower is constructed in Classical style of building. Designed by Johann Gottfried Schädel, the tiered tower boasts a glided dome and is one of the most noteworthy Kiev skyline feature. The Dormition Cathedral was originally built in the 11th century, which was destroyed in World War II but restored later.

The single room micro-museum inside the complex is very popular as miniature objects preserved in it need microscopes to get details of those. The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is an active monastery, dedicated to Christianity. Apart from the pilgrim purpose, the preserved historical objects and underground caves offer a holistic atmospheric experience to the visitors.

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5 interesting Facts & Myths about Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

  • ·The monastery is also regarded as national historic-cultural preserve, which was granted a national status on 13thMarch, 1996.

  • ·On August 21st, 2007, the complex was included in the ‘Seven Wonders of Ukraine’ through open voting.

  • ·Hermit monks used to live in underground cells lived with one small hole for water and food supply. They devoted their entire life to prayers only.

  • ·According to some beliefs, the underground passages of Lavra Caves extended below the Dnieper River and connect it with other monastery caves of Chernigov and Kiev.

  • ·The composition of air and climate is said to have preserved the monks’ bodies, which can be viewed through glass coffins.

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Travel

How to travel

Kiev being the capital city of Ukraine is connected to all major location across the globe and in the country also. The city offers all modes of public transport including local bus, metro and taxi. From Boryspil Airport,it is just 20 min. drive to reach Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, while the nearest metro station is Arsenalna metro station. The city’s temperature varies between 26°C to 15°C during summer and from -2°C to -8°C in winter. A majority of population speaks Russian and Ukrainian language. Being a capital city all types of accommodations are available around the Lavra and one may choose according to his/her need and budget.  

VISITING DAYS/HOURS

Round the year from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entrance Fee

*There is an entry fee of UAH 50 per person for Adults and UAH 25 per person for Children to visit the Lavra.

See Kiev-Pechersk Lavra on map

Nearby Attraction

Afghanistan 1979-1989 War Memorial

The monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of Afghanistan war, when Afghanistan was invaded by Soviet forces in 1979.

National Historical Library of Ukraine

The Librarywas established in 1939 and has a collection of rare and historic books to promote historical education and research apart from preserving the rare manuscripts.

Rodina Mat

Rodina Mat or the Motherland Monument, also known as 'Brezhnev's Daughter,' is a 62 meter high titanium statue that symbolizes the victory of Soviet Union over the Nazi Germany. The monument is an exclusive structure, which can be viewed from several points near Kiev.

Park of Eternal Glory

Park of Eternal Gloryis the famed memorial dedicated to the soldiers who died in the Great Patriotic War.

Memorial in Commemoration of Famines' Victims

This memorial is a global centre dedicated to Holodomor victims of 1932-1933. The memorial is also recognized as national museum of Ukraine.

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