Kyiv, 15 Lavrska Str.,
09:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.,
In spring and summer:
08:00 a.m. - 08:00 p.m.,
Caves are opened:
08:30 a.m. - 04:30 p.m.
+38 044 280 3071
+38 044 254 3390
Entrance to the territory - 15 UAH
Caves - 27 UAH
Museums - 50 UAH
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is the largest and the oldest Orthodox holy site in Ukraine. It is a historical and architectural attraction and a functional monastery. Together with St. Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The monastery was founded in 1051 as a centre of the dissemination of faith, enlightenment and spiritual education, and became the most influential monastery in the Eastern Slavic Orthodox world.
The name of the monastery comes from the word “pechera” which in Ukrainian means “a cave”, in which the monks lived.
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was founded by an Orthodox monk Anthony of Lubech, who came to Kyiv to spread monasticism in Rus and dwelled in a cave above the Dnieper, where the metropolitan of Kyiv – the elder Illarion – had previously sought solitude. One of Antony’s first disciples, Theodorius, became the co-founder of the monastery. The cenobites lived in caves and prayed in underground temples.
Afterwards, Prince Iziaslav Yaroslavovich ceded the whole mount to Anthony and other monks and later the Upper Lavra was erected. It became the first monastery in Rus which gave the birth to monasticism.
The construction of the main temple of the monastery – the Dormition Cathedral – began in 1073. The Kyiv-Pechersk Patericon (collection of hagiographies and spiritual instructions of the ascetic monks) contains a legend about the Varangian Shimon to whom God showed the place where the main church had to be built and gave him the golden belt to mark up dimensions. The construction of the church was completed in four years.
At the same time, the Trinity Gate Church was built above the gates of the main entrance. The church still stands today, and it is now famous for its original frescos and beautiful altar.
In 1169 the monastery got the status of “Lavra” – the main great friary. In the end of ХІI century the territory of the monastery was barriered by lithoidal fortress walls.
Since the 13th century, the Lavra has gone through several tragic periods of history. Its buildings were destroyed, plundered, and burned several times. The complex’s reconstruction began only in the 18th century. The Cathedral of the Holy Dormition and the Trinity Gate Church were decorated in the (popular at that time) baroque style during the reconstruction. The 96.5-meter (310 feet) high Great Lavra Belltower appeared on the territory of the monastery at that time, as well. It remained the highest point in the capital until the middle of the 20th century.
Under the Soviet regime, the monastery complex was used as a “museum town” under the Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve.
Now there is an acting congregation on the territory of the Lavra. In its territory, occupying 28 hectares, there are more than a hundred stone buildings, forty of which are unique architectural monuments. The upper part of the complex, the museum territory, was given the status of National in 1996. The lower part remains to be the monastery as it used to be many centuries ago, where prayers are offered up and candles are twinkling in the hands of the pilgrims going down to the caves to pray near the relics of the great hermits of the Orthodox Church.