Kiev Pechersk Lavra

Description

Kiev Pechersk Lavra
Photo from wikipedia.org [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Kiev Pechersk Lavra or Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Ukrainian: Києво-Печерська лавра, Kyievo-Pechers'ka lavra, Russian: Киeво-Печерская лавра, Kievo-Pecherskaja lavra), also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery which gave its name to one of the city districts where it is located in Kiev.

Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1051 the Lavra has been a preeminent center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery complex is considered a separate national historic-cultural preserve (sanctuary), the national status to which was granted on 13 March 1996. The Lavra is not only located in another part of the city, but is part of a different national sanctuary than Saint Sophia Cathedral. While being a cultural attraction, the monastery is currently active. It was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on 21 August 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.

Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kiev-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Onuphrius.

Etymology and other names

The word pechera means cave. The word lavra is used to describe high-ranking male monasteries for monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Therefore, the name of the monastery is also translated as Kiev Cave Monastery, Kiev Caves Monastery or the Kiev Monastery of the Caves (на печерах).

Foundation and early history

According to the Primary Chronicle, in the early 11th century, Anthony, an Orthodox monk from Esphigmenon monastery on Mount Athos, originally from Liubech of the Principality of Chernihiv, returned to Rus' and settled in Kiev as a missionary of monastic tradition to Kievan Rus'. He chose a cave at the Berestov Mount that overlooked the Dnieper River and a community of disciples soon grew. Prince Iziaslav I of Kiev ceded the whole mount to the Antonite monks who founded a monastery built by architects from Constantinople.

Buildings and structures

The Kiev Pechersk Lavra contains numerous architectural monuments, ranging from bell towers to cathedrals to underground cave systems and to strong stone fortification walls. The main attractions of the Lavra include Great Lavra Belltower, the notable feature of the Kiev skyline, and the Dormition Cathedral, destroyed in World War II, and fully reconstructed in recent years. Other churches and cathedrals of the Lavra include: the Refectory Church, the Church of All Saints, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove, the Church of the Exaltation of Cross, the Church of the Trinity, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Church of the Conception of St. Anne, and the Church of the Life-Giving Spring. The Lavra also contains many other constructions, including: the St. Nicholas Monastery, the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary, and the Debosquette Wall.

Great Lavra Belltower

The Great Lavra Belltower is one of the most notable features of the Kiev skyline and among the main attractions of the Lavra. 96.5 meters in height, it was the tallest free-standing belltower at the time of its construction in 1731–1745, and was designed by the architect Johann Gottfried Schädel. It is a Classical style construction and consists of tiers, surmounted by a gilded dome.

Gate Church of the Trinity

The Gate Church of the Trinity is located atop the Holy Gates, which houses the entrance to the monastery. According to a legend, this church was founded by the Chernihiv Prince Sviatoslav. It was built atop an ancient stone church which used to stand in its place. After the fire of 1718 the church was rebuilt, its revered facades and interior walls enriched with ornate stucco work made by master craftsman V. Stefaovych. In the 18th century a new gilded pear-shaped dome was built, the facade and exterior walls were decorated with stucco-moulded plant ornaments and a vestibule built of stone attached to the north end. In the early 20th century the fronts and the walls flanking the entrance were painted by icon painters under the guidance of V. Sonin. The interior of the Gate Trinity Church with murals by the early 18th century painter Alimpy Galik is of great artistic value.

The All Saints Church

The All Saints Church erected in 1696–1698 is a fine specimen of Ukrainian baroque architecture. Characteristic of the church facades are rich architectural embellishments. In 1905 students of the Lavra art school painted the interior walls of the church. The carved wooden iconostasis is multi-tiered and was made for the All Saints church in the early 18th century.

Church of the Saviour at Berestov

Side view of the Church of the Saviour at Berestove seen with its campanile, designed by architect Andrei Melenskyi in the Classical style.

The Church of the Saviour at Berestove is located to the North of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. It was constructed in the village of Berestove around the start of the 11th century during the reign of Prince Volodymyr Monomakh. It later served as the mausoleum of the Monomakh dynasty, also including Yuri Dolgoruki, the founder of Moscow. However being outside the Lavra fortifications, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove is part of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra complex.

Caves

Imperishable relic of saint Ilya Muromets in Kiev Pechersk Lavra

The Kiev Pechersk Lavra caverns are a very complex system of narrow underground corridors (about 1-1½ metres wide and 2-2½ metres high), along with numerous living quarters and underground chapels. In 1051, the monk Anthony had settled in an old cave in one of the hills surrounding the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. This cave apparently grew, with numerous additions including corridors and a church, and is now what we know as the Far Caves. In 1057, Anthony moved to a cave near the Upper Lavra, now called the Near Caves.

Foreign travellers in the 16th–17th centuries had written that the catacombs of the Lavra stretched for hundreds of kilometres, reaching as far as Moscow and Novgorod, which had apparently brought about to the knowledge of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra around the world.

Burials

There are over a hundred burials in the Lavra. Below are the most notable ones

  • Ilya Muromets – in the caves (c. 11th–12th century)
  • Nestor the Chronicler – in the Near Caves (c. 1114)
  • Saint Kuksha – in the Near Caves (c. 1114)
  • Alipy of the Caves – in the Near Caves (c. 1114)
  • Agapetus of Pechersk – in the Near Caves (c. 11th century)
  • Oleg son of Volodymyr II Monomakh – in the Church of the Saviour at Berestove (c. 12th century)
  • Eufemia of Kiev daughter of Vladimir II Monomakh – in the Church of the Saviour at Berestove (1139)
  • Yuri Dolgoruki – in the Church of the Saviour at Berestove (1157)
  • Skirgaila – regent Grand Duke of Lithuania (1397)
  • Konstanty Ostrogski – near the Cathedral of the Dormition (1530)
  • Vasily Kochubey – near the Refectory Church (1708)
  • Ivan Iskra – near the Refectory Church (1708)
  • Pyotr Stolypin – near the Refectory Church (1911)
  • St. Spyridon – in the caves (c. 19th–20th century)
  • Pope Clement I – his head in the Far Caves (his remaining relics brought to San Clemente in Rome by St. Cyril and Methodius)
  • Other people buried

During the Soviet era, the bodies of the saints that lay in the caves were left uncovered due to the regime's disregard for religion. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the bodies were covered with a cloth and to this day remain in the same state.[citation needed].

Museum

The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is also one of the largest Ukrainian museums in Kiev. The exposition is the actual ensemble of the Upper (Near Caves) and Lower (Far Caves) Lavra territories, which house many architectural relics of the past. The collection within the churches and caves includes articles of precious metal, prints, higher clergy portraits and rare church hierarchy photographs. The main exposition contains articles from 16th to early 20th centuries, which include chalices, crucifixes, and textiles from 16th–19th centuries, with needlework and embroidery of Ukrainian masters. The remainder of the collection consists of pieces from Lavra's Printing House and Lavra's Icon Painting Workshop. The museum also provides tours to the catacombs, which contain mummified remains of Orthodox saints or their relics.

Museum on the lavra territory are:

  • Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine
    • Martynivka Treasure
  • Book and print history museum
  • Museum of Ukrainian folk art
  • Theater and film arts museum
  • State historical library

Image

Others

Next to the monastery is located famous Kiev Arsenal factory, known for the Bolshevik Uprising in 1917.

Photo (45)

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Video (2)

Street view

Info

Website: lavra.ua
Schedule:
All days at 06:00-20:00

Reviews

tourist photo
02.08.2017 Wayne
Yes, it costs money to see. But, the price was inexpensive, and worth it.

The catacombs are crowded at times. But, it is amazing how much devotion the people showed in such humble circumstances.

As for all the shops? What do you expect when tourists descend upon a small site? Have you been to Rome lately?
 Excellent
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01.08.2017 Dave
Great place. Offers great tours and history. Very nice to take a walk around
 Good
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01.08.2017 Axel
Super interesting place, much history. Most info in Ukrainian tough. Maps have english info. Tours in english available.
 Good
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31.05.2017 Daniel
A beautiful must see destination while in Kiev.
 Excellent
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02.05.2017 Kateryna
Great historical place, though under the reign of Moscow Orthodox Church it has been turned into a tasteless museum of commerce and corruption(((
 Not bad
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14.09.2016 Kasia
Huge place, so much to see and know. You need a least an hour.
14.09.2016 Georgiy
it's one of "must to be visited" place in Kyiv, also recommended to walk to the Slava park
 Excellent
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11.09.2016 Andrey
The sense of contradictory. That awe which would have to occur in such a Holy place to which people in former times was on his knees there. The smell of gasoline from Executive cars and expensive perfume from the clergy. The smell of big money. Biznesproekt. But as a historical and architectural object of equal beauty and importance, there is similar.
 Excellent
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06.09.2016 Pavel
Kiev-Pechersk Lavra
(Pavel Egorov, Antler)
The pain was gone, soul yearning,
Easy to breathe, and the air is clean
My mind is a white sheet,
Comes from the sky the inspiration
Going down the gift of God down
The soul is pure as at birth.

From the white walls of peace emanates
Only the wind gnaws the silence.
The sun caresses the old days,
Cold in autumn, warm.
In the night, under the dim moon,
The Windows of the cells are slightly yellow.

In the spring, the smell of chestnuts,
Wake up herb meadows,
And Dnieper Brega,
Under Orthodox talisman
Sink into the velvet carpet,
Glades blushing tulips.

Caves pillar, hero,
Standing above Laura, one.
Bells, giant,
Kiev gives your ringing.
As the Prince of fairy tales and legends,
White tower above the Dnieper river.

Over the mazes in space,
Shines an ancient monastery
Church, stone vizier
Crowns Kiev mountains
Peace - the spiritual elixir
From altars within the cathedrals.
 Excellent
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03.09.2016 Pobedka
Well maintained, quiet, neat, nice. But all this solely for the money - ranging from a minimum of entrance fee is 20 UAH, to the paid toilets. Angered permission to shoot on a DSLR for 200 UAH: "this-W-professional-recording". On phones and tablets can shoot. There are many shops with religious paraphernalia, icons have their own products, delicious pastries. There are refectories and canteens. You can dial svyachenaya water. Great view from the bell tower, I recommend. Height 40 UAH.
 Not bad
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21.08.2016 Vladislav
Absolutely no atmosphere of a Holy place, is only on corporate business environment both in the market! When you sign a bunch of beggars on teretorii father a Lexus and Mercedes, shops at every turn!!!
In the gospel povestvovaniya about this as follows:
"And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and benches of selling pigeons, and said unto them, it is written — My house a house of prayer shall be called; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
(Matt. 21:12-13)"
Shame to us all that the greatest of the shrines and the seventh wonder of Ukraine, we are allowed to make the cesspool!
P. S. do not think for a religious fanatic)))
 Awful
07.08.2016 Leon
A quiet atmosphere. You get relaxed just walking here. Best hours after 5pm.
 Excellent
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03.08.2016 Maks
Most impressed by the local caves. Very atmosphere inside. Alas, religion has become business,so be prepared to pay even for the entrance to the grounds.
 Good
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17.07.2016 Vasily
Beautiful Park, has a Museum. But somehow became the entrance fee... Not good...
 Bad
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12.07.2016 Aleksey
For the entrance you have to pay!
Too many paid services!
And even the beggars inside the fall.
 Bad
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06.07.2016 Oleg
I was in the monastery for a long time.
Beautiful extraordinary, words can not convey.
It is a pity that the cave was being repaired. Failed to attend.
 Excellent
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27.06.2016 Anna
All paid no Holiness. Saw and Porsche and Bentley and landrover priests. Support all those who commented on Commerce. Easier to go to an ordinary Church and it will be heartier.
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24.06.2016 Markmaster
All very authentic.
tourist photo
14.06.2016 Oksana
Take a tour guide in order to understand the history and the importance of the relics and the monastery. It is a must place to visit in Kyiv, and Ukraine in general.
 Excellent
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08.06.2016 Ethan
Of all the places I've traveled, Kiev and the Pechersk Lavra hold a special place in my heart. The narrow tunnels are lit only by candlelight and the mood is very solemn as people venerate the saints, whose bodies have been preserved in some cases up to nearly a millennium. The complex is filled with amazing churches and chapels, all looking down on the Dnieper. Definitely more of a powerful experience if you're religious, but everybody should experience this place/
 Excellent
06.06.2016 Sergey
Ancient frescoes, the atmosphere of spirituality, the laity. All this allows to abstract for a while from the everyday problems.
 Excellent
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04.06.2016 Dmitro
Beautiful, spiritual place. It's nice to come and relax from all worldly things. But! And here is now dominated by Commerce!
The entrance to the old monastery, district-belfry - paid (free to walk around the monastery, which is just below).
But if You have no desire or means to pay for a ticket, you can freely go during the morning or evening service. Women definitely need to be in a skirt and with his head covered, otherwise pass.
 Excellent
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03.06.2016 Brother
Be sure to visit the caves. It is a surreal and very spiritual experience. Don't miss the newly renovated church.
 Excellent
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02.06.2016 Brian
Located on the hill above the Dnipr River, the Pechersk Lavra is a beautiful, quiet area for history and contemplation. It's a Mecca of sorts for faithful Orthodox believers. The various buildings house ancient and interesting iconography. There is plenty to see for a few hours of your time.

Read online ahead of time for details on attire. Also, plan to hire a tour guide (or bring a local friend) to get the most out of your visit.
 Excellent
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23.05.2016 Maksim
Loved the place
 Excellent
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29.04.2016 MAXIM
#1 place you should go if you visit Kiev. Take caves,very interesting. Go eat for good price. Women,cover your head if you go inside church.
 Excellent
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13.04.2016 Raza
Everyone who comes in Kiev shall visit this place. You will enjoy it.
 Good
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04.04.2016 Ekaterina
Only positive emotions! A Holy place! Caves of the Kievo-Pechersk saints. You can go to the temples, to exhibitions, to buy a tour, just walk. Everywhere is clean, beautiful. View of the river is stunning!
tourist photo
27.03.2016 Roman
The place is beautiful, but the feeling of the Holy that there is nothing left. If you want to go to Church, it is better to choose another place.
 Not bad
04.03.2016 Tomas
Great place to see, lots of history and great views.
 Excellent
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02.03.2016 Anton
Indeed, every guest of Kiev and the city is obliged to come here. And in the spring this place is and pulls
 Excellent
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17.02.2016 Lucille
Beautiful, historic, religious & World Heritage site. Stunning with its history, architecture, views, serenity, interesting exhibitions. And great place to purchase icons.
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10.02.2016 Vladislav
First visited monasteries in 2010.
Was very surprised a vast territory, around which takes a lot of time.
The churches are admirable, very majestic.
My special attention went to the new bell - it is huge! I do not know how they plan to lift it in place (for a few years and is at the bottom).
I was lucky, I got to the chime of a bell. Oh this sound. Very low and powerful. The sound makes vibrate every fibre of the body :)
Certainly deserve attention of the cave. And the Museum of miniatures.

I recommend everyone to visit: religious and no people.
 Excellent
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06.01.2016 Aleksandr
A magical place with a magnificent view of the Dnieper. You can really feel the history. Don't forget to get water with you!
18.12.2015 Mykhailo
It's a cultural place, for all of Ukrainians. Please find time and visit it, recommended by me
 Excellent
02.12.2015 Nancy
Through photos & descriptive information I was taken to the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev, Ukraine. A lovely destination I will not likely have the chance to visit. Beautiful photographs, but repetitive scenes. Still was very enjoyable!
 Excellent
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18.11.2015 Roman
One of the most interesting places in Kyiv with great view and ancient buildings. Caves are worth visiting, just be sure to come before 4 p.m. You can also visit a museum and park of Ukrainian History in World War II and watch some military machines near.
 Good
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02.11.2015 Anatoliy
A quiet place, but only in the evenings ;) beautiful and historically interesting , includes a lot of ancient structures and a fascinating tour cost 3-5 $ USA
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29.09.2015 Vikusichka
Not very impressionable to walk to the caves. And then my cousin went then a half day with a straight face. And all the rules, caves, Holy places, etc., cool in the Museum of miniatures)))
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29.09.2015 Katerina
A place of solitude
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12.09.2015 Bru
Great area! Beautiful views! Interesting excursions!A mandatory place to visit in Kiev! In the caves stuffy
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03.09.2015 Miroslav
Duzhe Garneau!!!
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01.09.2015 Valeriya
The place itself is very beautiful, but the entrance fee, the priests on cool cars, paid trips..in short everything is steeped in Commerce.
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17.08.2015 Katerina
Atmospheric place. In caves with narrow passages the stuffy was scary. Better to go with a guide.
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14.08.2015 Katharina
A great place for the soul.Often expose and bring icons rare healing power.Great cafe on the territory of Lavra.When the holidays and many people pray and listen to preaching on the street.There is a column
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12.08.2015 Vladyslav
A great place for the whole family. In the near and far caves special atmosphere. With the laurels offers excellent views of the Dnieper river. Near the lower entrance of the sources of Anthony and Theodosius can quench your thirst in hot weather. Spring is always beautiful here.
 Excellent
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12.08.2015 Ali
There are exhibitions around the place but the cash desk is closed on Sundays.
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16.07.2015 Vladislav
For the input no need to pay! There is no Commerce on the part of the Church! The money for the entrance you require a reserve, which is owned by the state, not the Church. Enter through the monastery entrance!
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04.07.2015 Vladislav
No need to pay for anything. To the monastery you can go absolutely free. To go in caves, don't need a guide, you yourself can go there yourself. Only you need to go from the monastery!
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11.04.2015 Manu
Really impressive place , serenity, calm and religious..)) must to see ))??
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Изменено: 2017-10-18 23:01