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Pechersk Lavra Tour

Cave Monastery in Kiev

Excursion timing — 3 hours
Historically speaking, Kiev is considered one of the most important religious centers of the Orthodox world. With its monasteries, cathedrals, and churches, Kiev remains the powerful center of Orthodoxy for millions of Orthodox Christians throughout Ukraine, Russia, and Belorussia.

Despite the persecution of Christians during the communistic era of Soviet history, the Pechersky Lavra Monastery has continued to maintain the centuries-old traditions of its 11th century founding fathers, Antony and Feodosy.


We can assure you, that upon leaving the Pechersky Monastery, you will feel well educated on Orthodoxy.

The Pechersky Monastery is comprised of complex caves, magnificent architecture, churches, and museums. On an excursion to the monastery, you will become familiar with the history of this place, travel through the caves and see the ancient catacombs, which have been the final resting place for many holy figures since the 11th century.

In 1990, the Pechersky Monastery was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list, proving that this place is of great historical importance to not only Ukraine, but to the rest of the modern world as well.
At the start of this monastery, the sacred Antony and Feodosy, and their monks lived within the cave network, which later became their own final resting places. Later, Prince Svyatoslav declared the area holy grounds and the Uspensky Cathedral, one of the most important in Ukraine and Russia, was constructed.

In time, the number of monks residing at the monastery increased and it eventually became the main religious center of all of Kievan Rus.

The monastery is divided into two parts, the Upper and Lower Grounds.

The Upper Grounds are open to the public and are where you will find the museums and shops. The Lower Grounds are home to an operating monastery.


The Belltower

In the Upper Monastery there is a famous belltower, built 96 meters high on top of the highest point in Kiev.

Constructed in the 17th century, this tower remained the tallest building in all of Imperial Russia until the construction of St. Isaak Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

It is common to hear these bells ringing while in the area.

Constructed at the end of the 19th century, Refectory Church is located on the grounds and is still used as a dining room for monks, famous choir music performances, and for celebrating the most significant of religious holidays.

Also located in the Upper Monastery are two very interesting museums which we usually include in our excursion of the monastery: the Museum of Jewelry, and the Miniatures Museum.


The Museum of Jewelry

The Museum of Jewelry is a beautiful collection of ornaments and jewelry which belonged to all the people of Ukraine throughout the country’s history. These people include: The Scythians, Khazars, Pechenegs, Sarmatians, and Ancient Slavs.

Included in this collection is probably one of the most important pieces in Ukraine: the gold Scythian Pectoral, found during the excavation of a Scythian imperial tomb near the city of Odzhonikidze by Ukrainian archeologist Boris Mozolevskiy.

The museum is also rich with other kinds of exhibitions of Christian and Jewish history within Ukraine, brought under one roof from various churches and synagogues around Ukraine.


Miniatures Museum

On the grounds of the monastery is the cozy museum of micro-miniatures, created by the famous Ukrainian artist Nikolay Sjadristy.

In this collection are some of the smallest works of art in the world, all viewable under powerful magnifying lenses and bright lamps. What looks like a grain of rice is really an entire world of magic and wonder!


Caves

The Lower grounds are where you will find the ancient cave system. The opening of the cave is open to the public - to all pilgrims as well as tourists just looking to catch a glimpse of a part of Orthodoxy’s rich history.

Some parts of the route are restricted, but this will not hinder your experience. Each day, thousands of pilgrims from all over Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other Orthodox countries come to visit these caves and pray over the tombs, which according to Orthodox dogma possess a salutary force for believers.
Women - before entering the Pechersky monastery, be sure that you have a scarf (for covering your head) and are dressed in an appropriate skirt or dress (no short skirts or pants!)
Under the Orthodox faith, which is more traditional than most Western denominations, women are required to cover their heads and dress in a feminine manner, as an act of respect and grace before God. Women who do not obey this rule may be forbidden from entering the more holy places of the monastery, or at the least, offend many of the pilgrims and visitors.
Men - before entering the Pechersky monastery, dress appropriately. This includes pants (not shorts) and preferably no offensive t-shirts; button-down, short sleeve or long of some kind would be most appropriate.
Each excursion takes about three hours, and begins near the exit of Metro station “Arsenalna”, next to the big gun.

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