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“The oldest monastery of the Kyivan Rus”: “Interesting Kyiv” brand new guide book


003One of the series of Awesome Heritage books named “Interesting Kyiv” by NAHS.HAUS is dedicated to the capital of Ukraine. Among 120 brief articles about different places of interest in Kyiv, it includes a piece of information on the most important Ukrainian shrine as well as the historical and culture insight.

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The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, is a spectacular orthodox Christian Monastery and cave complex, standing on a hill overlooking the river Dnipro.

This is a large complex of golden domed churches and onion shaped towers in a mini city, built in a top of labyrinth of narrow underground caves containing chapels, catacombs and monastic rooms.

006This <…> monastery is the most Holy place in Ukraine and center of Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. It was founded by reclusive monks Antony and Fiodosiy in 1051 as a center from which to spread Christianity throughout the Kyivan Rus. It is recorded that the reclusive Reverend Antony first settled in the Varangian caves and his friends and monk began visiting him, bringing him food and clothes. Followers continued to join the community and eventually there was not other option than to build a church above ground. By the 12-th 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 <…> and the monks bodies can still be seen almost perfectly preserved to this day. Since the 13-th century, the Lavra has gone trough several tragic periods of history: devastating raids of the Pechenegs, Polovtsians, Torques, and the overrunning of Kyiv by hordes of Mongol-Tatars led by Batu Khan when all of its buildings were destroyed, plundered, and burned several times over. Reconstruction began only in the 18-th century. The Cathedral of the Holy Dormition and the Trinity Gate Church were build and decorated in the popular- baroque style. The 96.5-meter high Great Lavra Bell tower also appeared by the monastery at that time.

And despite all these terrible historical events, including the bloody years of the 1917 revolution followed by decades of religious persecution and the horrors of WWII, the Lavra has survived and become more and more beautiful.

002Today, there are two parts. The Upper Lavra, which is a recognized historic and cultural monument (since 1990 it is UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Lower Lavra, which is the working monastery. In addition to the beautiful Dormition Cathedral and and the Grate Lavra Bell there are number of exhibitions and museums to enjoy: the museum of microminiatures of N. Syadristy, the museum of jewelry, the museum of Ukrainian folk decorative arts, the museum of books and printing, and the museum of theater, music and cinema. Every year, over 45 million visitors from all over the world tour this majestic monastery complex and are amazed by its beauty and splendor.

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