THE WORLD FAMOUS KIEV PECHERSK LAVRA
The Pechersk Lavra is the birth place of orthodox Christianity and the site of the most famous and sacred monastery in Eastern Europe. The golden domed monasteries and cathedrals of the Lavra have unique cultural and historical status recognised by UNESCO and is now a protected world Heritage site.
Kiev (Kyiv) - Pechersk Lavra
It is comprised of two parts, the Upper Lavra and the Lower Lavra. The Upper Lavra consists of museums and historical cultural monuments of national importance, and the Lower Lavra is a working monastery under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox church. Plan to visit both parts and give yourself a whole morning or afternoon to fully appreciate all the interesting sights.
There are four entrances to the Pechersk Lavra but the main entrance can be found at the western gate. Wear appropriate clothing if you want to enter the caves or religious buildings. Men are required to wear trousers and women are expected to cover their heads with a scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls can be purchased next to the ticket booths at the entrance.
It is very easy to get to the Pechersk Lavra by metro and then by foot. If you walk directly from metro Arsenal’na to the Lavra it will take you approximately 20 minutes. Your journey will take you past two more places of interest, Holodomor Memorial and the Park of Eternal Glory (Park Slavi). Follow these instructions and it will be possible to enjoy all three of these must see sights in one morning.
First step is to take the metro to Arsenal’na (red line). This is an adventure by itself as metro Arsenal’na is the deepest underground station in the world and is 105.5 metres (350ft) underground. When you reach the top of the escalator (eventually) you should exit left towards the exit. When you leave the station you will see a monument with a military gun, head towards this and then turn left onto the main road. At this point you will have a choice, cross the road to find the bus stop and take the short 10 minute journey in a cramped and uncomfortable bus, or continue left on foot and walk at your leisure.
Let me assume you will walk. After about 5 minutes you will come to steps going down to an underpass, continue forward. You will exit directly in front of the Park of Eternal Glory. If you decide to go through the park, you will slightly deviate from your final destination but we highly recommend you do . As you walk towards the obelisk you will eventually see the fire of eternal flame. To your left you will find fantastic views over Kiev and forward to your right will be the memorial to Holodomor. When you have enjoyed the view, keep to the right to and walk towards the Holodomor monument. You will be rewarded with a remarkable and poignant statue of a starving young girl, and another monument incorporating a museum.
Now return to the main street and continue forward. You will see the “golden domed” churches in the distance. You will be no more than 10 minutes away. Buying tickets is a little confusing so here is the best advice we can give. To enter the grounds of the Lavra go to the main entrance, the cost will be 3 UAH. This will gain you entrance but does not include access to all of the buildings, churches, museums and exhibitions. To get the most out of your visit we suggest you take the guided tour with the English speaking guide (lasts about 2 hours) or purchase an audio guide in your preferred language. We found the audio guide to be very informative and an ideal tool to navigate your way around the Lavra. Audio guides will cost 70 UAH and a 100 UAH deposit which is of course refunded on return of the audio guide. This option provides you access to all the buildings and museums in the Lavra. Keep your ticket safely with you as you will be required to show it at the entrance of each attraction.
The only extra cost to this ticket will be an additional 8 UAH for anyone wishing to go up to the Bell Tower. Tickets can be bought from the kiosk around the corner from the Bell tower entrance.
Standing on a hill overlooking the river Dnipro is the Kiev Peshersk Lavra, a spectacular orthodox Christian monastery and caves. In Ukrainian "pechersk" means cave, while "Lavra" is an orthodox term given to high ranking monasteries in Slavic tongue. In actual fact this is a large complex of golden domed churches and onion shaped towers in a mini city, built on top of a labyrinth of narrow underground caves containing chapels, catacombs, and monastic rooms.
This magical and enchanting monastery is the most Holy place in Ukraine and the centre of Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. It was founded by reclusive monks Antony and Feodosly in 1051 with the intention of spreading Christianity throughout the Kievan Rus. It is chronicled that the reclusive Reverend Antony settled in the Varangian caves and his friends and monks began visiting him, bringing him food and clothes. The community of monks continued to grow and the far caves were expanded. Followers continued to join the community and eventually there was no other option than to build a church above ground. By the 12th century the Lavra had become the leading religious and cultural focal point in all of Eastern Europe. The caves themselves were still used by the monks as dwellings and a place to worship. They were even buried there, the cool humid atmosphere helping to preserve the bodies and mummify them naturally. In fact this apparent miracle only served to enhance the monastery's reputation and the monks bodies can still be seen almost perfectly preserved to this day.
Allow yourself plenty of time for this visit, in addition to the beautiful Dormition Cathedral and the Great Lavra Bell there are a number of exhibitions and museums to enjoy.It is possible to take a candle lit tour (purchase a lovely honey candle) of the caves. Because of the religious significance you will be requested to dress appropriately and women will be expected to cover there heads and bare legs. A scarf is provided at a small fee if required. And be careful of your head inside the caves, if you are particularly tall you may find the low ceiling uncomfortable. Go to the ticket kiosk to purchase tickets.
Please note: This is a working monastery so please act with respect during your visit.