Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, or Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is an important Ukrainian Orthodox monastery (Lavra) located in the city of Kiev. It is considered to be one of the holiest places in Ukraine.
The monastery's architectural style is Baroque. It is well recognized for its golden rooftops and very elegant paintings and ornaments. It is also the residence of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church attached to the Moscow Patriarchate. It is also a burial ground for several monks that lived there.
It is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Kiev.
The troglodyte monastery was founded in 1051 by monks from Mount Athos in Greece, Saint Anthony the Athonite, and Saint Theodosius of Kiev. It subsequently became an important center of orthodoxy in the Kiev Rus'. In 1096, the monastery was looted by the Polovtses led by Khan Boniak. It was the monks of this monastery, and in the first place, Nestor, who undertook the writing of the Chronicle of times past around 1111, affirming the Varègue origin of the first Russian dynasty of the Riourikides2. This origin is not unanimous among historians.
On January 25, 1918, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev was shot there. This bishop, who exceptionally, successively occupied the seats of Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Kiev, is symbolically held to be the Russian Revolution's first martyr.
The architectural ensemble of the Kiev Caves Lavra has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1990. It is also one of the largest museums in Ukraine.
It is part of a series of monuments punctuating the line of the steep hills of the banks of the Dnepr (from upstream to downstream): monument of Saint Vladimir, a monument to the rights of Magdeburg, arch of friendship between peoples, a monument to the dead of the Second World War, and a statue of the Motherland. If multiple churches and monasteries mainly occupied the top of the hills, many were dynamited by the Soviet authorities in the 1920s and 30s. Today we count (from upstream to downstream) the monastery of Saint-Cyrille, the church of Saint-André and of the tithe (destroyed), the monastery of Saint-Michel-au-Dôme-d'Or (destroyed to make way for a group of monuments to Lenin and rebuilt), the tomb of 'Askold, the Lavra of the Caves and the monastery of Saint-Michel-de-Vydoubytch.