Cave Monastery

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Hrushevsky Street, Kyiv, Ukraine

Cave Monastery Kyiv Reviews

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Visit the Famous Destination Sep 13, 2017
This is the famous destination in Kiev included into most of the city tours.

You will be taken to the monastery through the main entrance called Holy Trinity Church Gate. The monastery is called Cave Monastery for it was founded in the caves by the monks in early Middle Ages. The monastery comprises twenty-five churches and cathedrals.

The Cave Laura (“laura” means “a merited monastery”) is one of the oldest monasteries in Ukraine and Russia. Its official name is Kiev Pechersk Lavra National Historical and Cultural Reserve. The monastery complex has kept this status since 1996. The monastery itself occupies what is called Lower Laura, and the National Reserve occupies the Upper Laura. Both parts of the Laura are open for visitors.

Monks St.Antonius, who was later joined by St.Theodosius,founded this monastery in 1051 in caves. According to the legend, St.Antonius was blessed by Virgin Mary Herself for that noble mission.

They built caves in the high cliffs of Upper Kiev and the monastery became a good refuge for lots of monks and the parish. Gradually it became the center of Christianity in ancient Ukraine and Russia, the feudal state called Kiev Rus.

The monastery was honored with the status of laura in 1688.

In 1731-1745 the Great Laura Belltower was erected. It was built by a German Baroque architect Johann Gottfried Schaedel (1680–1752) who had worked in Russia since 1713. The architect valued his creation a lot and told his friends about it,"You, my majestic creation, erected with my imagination and energy, will be solemnly met by our descendants".

The belltower's height is 96.52 meters (316 feet). It consists of four 8-facet tiers: the first one was designated for archives, the second one - for the library; the third one - for the bells and the fourth one - for the clock mechanism. The diameter of the basement is 28.8 m and its depth is seven meters. The thickness of the walls of the first floor is eight meters. The second tier is adorned by thirty-two Corinth columns located in groups between eight arches.

The belfry clock was built in 1903 by a clockmaker from Moscow Andrey Yenotin who gave a guarantee period of only fifteen years for the clock. But the clock has functioned perfectly ever since, thank God.

The belfry was the highest structure in the city until the huge Motherland monument was erected on the neighboring hill and the monument’s height reached 102 meters, which is a bad sign for according to the old church chronicles, no building in the city can be higher than its belfry, otherwise the city will suffer.

There are cave churches there and the coffins of the saints who lived in the 10th through 12th century.

Those places are a place of pilgrimage of many Orthodox Ukrainians and Russians of our country.

The full name of the monastery is: Holy Assumption Laura of the Caves.

The ancient caves are from five to twenty meters deep under the surface. There are Far Caves and Near Caves, both of them have three cave churches. The caves are names as to their distance to the main cathedral - Holy Annunciation Cathedral of the monastery.

The caves are famous for their numerous holy remains. There are tombs of 122 of saints of the Russian Orthodox Church. In this respect they are a unique Christian sanctuary.

Overall, thousands of monks were buried in those caves after the monastery had been built above the ground and all the underground churches had been built.

You can see and visit lots of churches and cathedrals on the monastery territory and this is one of them.

Annunciation Cathedral is very impressive. It was restored in the nineties and now looks very modern and at the same time ancient. Pieces of its restored walls were left unpainted to show how they looked like in old times.

The monastery belfry with its height of 96.5 meters used to dominate the hills over the Dnipro until the Motherland statue was erected nearby in 1982. The statue proved to be 102 m high, which infuriated the priests for according to the old tradition no building in the city could be higher that the belfry. It is considered bad luck. Let us hope for the best!

When you visit the monastery, take a look at the Museum of Historical Treasures, where you will see a vast collection of arts objects made of gold, silver and precious stones from the pre-Christian times to the nineteenth century.

The Cave Monastery is known for its caves built by the monks who lived a life of hermits there living and praying in small cells all their life.

Dozens of them were canonized after their death for their Christian deeds.

You can see the undecayed saints’ bodies who rest in their coffins for hundreds of years imperishable.

Their coffins get changed, but their bodies remain undecayed for hundreds of years.

The saints still heal people who come to pray to them with their strong faith.

Laura is the title given to the most outstanding monasteries in Russia.

You can also visit several museums located on the territory of the state reserve there, among them miniatures museum and others. The entrance fee is UAH 25 to enter the territory, UAH 50 to enter the belfry. A guided tour in English is also available. That three-hour-long guided tour in English will cost you UAH 1,000. The photography fee is UAH 200, and the video fee is UAH 400.

Enjoy your visit!
The old entrance gate: Trinity Gate
Visiting the cave monastery
The monastery belfry
Visiting the Cave Monastery in Kyi…
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