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Kyiv Caves Monastery

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Kyiv It is the capital of Ukraine, but it is also the heart of the country, an ancient city, with centuries of history and cultural richness. here is the famous Kyiv Caves Monasteryor, more precisely, the Kyiv Monastery.

It’s nice orthodox christian monastery which was founded inside a group of caves in the 11th century. Today it is still in force and is not only one of Kyiv’s treasures, but also a great tourist attraction.

Kyiv Caves Monastery

real name is Kyivan Cave Monastery and as we said before, it belongs to Orthodox Christianity. It was founded by San Antonio de las Cuevas in the middle of the 11th century, near the village of Berestove. Obviously at that time the cave was isolated, but time and the evolution of the population determined that it will remain in the heart of the metropolitan area of ​​​​modern Kyiv.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the first monks dug other caves and then built the church above them. The first “abbot” or hegumen of the monastery was Varlaam, in 1057, succeeded by Saint Theodosius of the Caves between the years 1062 and 1074. He introduced the to reign student leading to the creation of the College of Students. This rule was actually developed in the monastery of Stoudios in Constantinople, from the 5th century, but it was Saint Theodore the Studite who brought it to Kyiv.

Centuries later, the communists tried to destroy this order of the Ukrainian church and there is even a martyr who died in the Siberian camps in 1951, during the reign of Stalin. The Studite monks had to go underground and continued their faith in the catacombs. But going back in time, in those years of the beginning of the monastery, they were the Kyivan princes and boyars who patronized the monks with gifts, money, lands and battlements. Some even became monks.

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The monastery It has been looted several times. The fact that many of his monks were wealthy, noble, or educated made him a coveted prey. The cumanswestern Turkish nomadic tribe, attacked in 1096, but also certain princes and the Mongol Batu Khan in 1240. After every attack came reconstruction and they got up new churches and more tunnels were dug underground, caves and catacombs developed.

The attacks, damage and fires only made it bigger, like that, by the 16th century the first monastery had grown into a complex of six cloisters. Each century brought more construction disasters but always, after each, there was rebuilding and expansion. Same came to have a major printing press and library which unfortunately swept away a great fire in 1718.

Despite the jealousy this situation brought with it, in the 18th century the monastery was very richThere were three towns, seven towns, 200 villages and towns, 150 distilleries, 150 flour mills, 200 taverns, and the list goes on. As happened in other parts of Europe, at some point the state secularized everything and retained these properties, in addition to changing some matters of appointing monastic authorities. Subsequently began the Russification of the monastery.

Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, there were about 1,200 monks and novices and it was the center of the Orthodox world, attracting thousands of pilgrims. The attraction was some relics of canonized monks, but also the caves themselves, some of Neolithic origin, where the monks lived and were buried from the beginning. The labyrinth of tunnels, the cells, the catacombs dug in the powder of sandstone and clay…

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The Cuevas Lejos and Cuevas Cerca are one and a half meters wide and two meters high. The burial niches are 0.05 meters deep and 2 meters long and one high, always with mummified remains of monks and saints. Also there are many underground chapels and churcheslike the Church of Varlaam or the Church of Saint Theodosius.

The monastic complex is located on January Levantameinto Street, among the wooded hills, near the Dnieper River. It occupies 28 hectares and is surrounded by walls. There are two areas, upper and lower or far and near, and in both there are many buildings including churches, museums, monasteries and of course, the famous caves.

What to see at the kyiv Caves Monastery

Church tombs, tunnels and museums, basically. The most important church in the complex is the Assumption Cathedral built between 1073 and 1078. The Soviets blew up the building in 1941 and reconstruction did not take place until the late 1980s. There is also the Church of All Saintsthat of the Elevation of the Cross, that of the Nativity of the Virgin, that of the Resurrection, the Church of the Holy Trinity

Among the most interesting buildings is the Favian’s Librarythe Bell tower of the New Cavesthe Pharmacy or the Refectory. There are towers: the Painters Towerthe Clock Tower and Onufrivska Tower, for example. Among the museums is the Book and Advertising Museumthe miniature museumthe National Treasures Museum, among others. Not to mention the walls that completely surround the monastery. A beauty.

as we also said there are many graves and among the most notable are that of Saint Kusksha, that of Nestor the Chronologist, the tomb of Oleg, the son of Vladimir II Monomakh, that of his daughter Euphemia as well, and that of Pope Clement I.

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Today, unfortunately, the oldest remains have been separated into these two parts which we have named above, the Lower Lavra and the Upper Lavra. The caves and the still active monastery are in the lower part while the upper part works under the authority of the Ukrainian Culture Monastery and is what It is known today as a space of cultural and historical preservation.

A possible route? The following is recommended to pilgrims: if you enter through the cave doors, you will see a street that runs along the monastery garden and is surrounded on each side by a gallery planted with vines. We see the river and it is a beautiful postcard. In the second half of the 17th century, the covered and paved gallery was extended from Cuevas Cerca to Cuevas Lejos and continued towards the hills of Cuevas, adding beauty to everything.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s sunny or rainy, it’s always a good idea to walk along the tracks to admire the nature and architecture of this beautiful place. The gallery that connects the two groups of caves was restored in the 19th century and is the same as then. Then, you have to cross the garden, stop in front of the commemorative cross of the two thousandth anniversary of Christfrom where the sight is panoramic on all the caves.

Beneath the garden are the Antony Caves (enclosed caves), while the Theodosius Caves are in the hill opposite the large church. Pilgrims and tourists gather at the kyiv Caves Monastery, and the near and far caves spread over the foundations of the monastery. The trip will be amazing. Do you dare to start it?

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