Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra

Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra

Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, or Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is the unique cloistral complex included into UNESCO World Heritage List. This cloistral complex includes the aboveground part (church assembly) and the underground part (the caves).

The name of the monastery derives from the Ukrainian word "печера" that means "cave", "hole", and the Greek word "lavra" that means the status of great and famous monastery.

Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra traces its roots in 1051 when the monk Anthony found his shelter in the cave excavated in the hillside. After some time the like-minded monks joined his place and started to expand the caves. Later on, when the cloister became too small to house all the monks, they began to build the first aboveground constructions: the Dormition Cathedral, the Gateway Church and the monastery canteen.

The monastery played a key role in the Ukrainian culture development. Due to intensive church building, architects, constructors and painters improved their mastery and skills. The first Ukrainian printing house was founded in Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra. The most famous Ukrainian chroniclers, writers, scientists, artists worked and flourished here. It was here that the historian Nestor the Chronicler composed the Primary Chronicle (the main source of the Ukrainian historical knowledge).

After the heavy fire in 1718 the great reconstruction of the main buildings was made. The Dormition Cathedral and the Gateway Church were rebuilt in baroque, and wall stones were erected around the monastery.

During the Great Patriotic War the monastery suffered grievous losses: the Dormition Cathedral was blown up. Only in 2000, after the long years of Soviet government oppression, it was reconstructed and dedicated. And nowadays Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra is the center of Kiev’s spiritual life that includes 14 churches and 6 museums. It can impress not only a religious person but also a common traveler. It captures people with its exquisite architecture and remarkable atmosphere of peace, harmony and love.


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