The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery is the sacred place of the East European Christendom. Nowadays it is a living religious community which came back to life after the soviet time not so long ago. Part of the monastery is open for tourists.
The Pechersk Lavra Monastery, which was founded in the 11th century in the caves, grew fast to become the largest religious community of its kind in the lands of Kyivan Rus. Churches, monks’ cells and other buildings were built on the surface above the caves, but the caves were not abandoned either. They were connected with underground passages and underground churches were added as well. It was in the caves that the monks began burying their most respected dead.
Many centuries ago on the hilly banks of the Dnipro River several monks founded a monastery. Lavra is now interpreted to be a sort of an honorific title, given to a very big monastery of special importance.
For many centuries it was a truly spiritual centre of Ukraine, from the time of its foundation to the early twentieth century. It is here, in the Pechersk Lavra, that the earliest chronicles were written telling us of events in the earliest history of Kyiv. It is here, that both ecclesiastical and secular books were published and printed at the time, when nowhere else in Ukraine it was done at such a scale. It is here, that the buildings themselves and their architecture, give a visitor a huge spiritual uplift.
Today, the Upper Lavra is still partly used as a museum, or rather several museums occupying buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries (Museum of Ukrainian Folk and Applied Arts, Museum of Books, Museum of Historic Jewellery of Ukraine, Museum of Miniatures and some others).
The Kiev Pechersk Lavra contains numerous architectural monuments. They are belltowers, cathedrals, underground cave systems and stone fortification walls. The main attractions of the Lavra include the Great Lavra Belltower, the notable feautre of the Kiev skyline, and the Dormition Cathedral, destroyed in the Great Patriotic War, and fully reconstructed in 2001. Other churches and cathedrals of the Lavra include: the Refectory Church, the Church of All Saints, the Church of the Saviour at Berestove, the Church of the Exaltation of Cross, the Church of the Trinity, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the Church of the Conception of St. Anne, and the Church of the Life-Giving Spring. The Lavra also contains many other constructions, including: the St. Nicholas Monastery, the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary, and the Debosquette Wall. Read more on Wikipedia pages.
The belltower was the highest free-standing belltower at the time of its construction in 1731–1745. It was designed by the architect Johann Gottfried Sch?del, and the funds for its construction came from the Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa. Its total height, with the Christian cross, is 96.5 meters (316 feet).