The Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery is a complex that is made up from various
fascinating buildings and sights. These diverse memories of the past all carry the strong architectural signature of the Ukrainian Baroque construction style and form a network of beautiful and spectacular structures. The monastery and surrounding complex is also known as the Calvin Cave Monastery.
During its earlier years, the Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery suffered many incidents of vandalism, damage and destruction, but managed to survive for us to marvel at. The monastery was originally founded by two monks, namely St. Anthony of the Caves (Antoniy) and St. Theodosius of the Caves (Feodosiy), in 1051. The Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery was given the alternative name of Calvin Cave Monastery, as the monastery was constructed over a network of caves that was excavated by the monks. Most of the buildings that are seen here date back from the 11th century.
Amongst the structures is the Troyitska Nadbramma Church, also known as the Holy Trinity Church. It was constructed during the years 1106 to 1108 and is the main monastery church, decorated in breathtaking murals and paintings. In 1941, the Upsensky Cathedral, or Dormition Cathedral, was destroyed. The Holy Trinity Church then took the role of main church. The ruins of this once spectacular church can still be seen today, and it is a great shame that this structure, which was originally constructed between the years 1073 to 1078, is lost to us forever. Buildings that were added to the complex in later years include the Great Bell Tower that was erected during the years 1731 to 1744; a 96-meter structure that is home to a library; a massive clock; and it still has three of its original bells on display. The 17th century St. Nicolas Church, the 1679 Conception of St. Anne Church and the All Saints’ Church, which was built in 1696 to 1698, are all beautiful architectural masterpieces.
The Near Caves and Far Caves should also be visited as they exhibit hundreds of archaeological artifacts and items that are in wonderfully preserved condition, and there are many historical facts and stories to the complex. This amazing attraction in Ukraine will keep visitors fascinated and spellbound for hours. The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is an amazing collection of beautiful buildings and works of art that cannot be seen or experienced anywhere, but in Ukraine.
Kreshatyk and Independence Square
Kreshatyk is the main street of Kiev. With a tree alley on one side and no traffic on weekends and holidays, people gather to sit, chat and drink here. Every weekend there is an event or a concert taking place or at least music is played. On one end of Khreshatik there is the famous Bessarabka market – originally it was a market with goods brought by peasants from Bessarabia – Moldova. Today, the ground floor is fully occupied by vegetables, fruits, flowers, spices, meat, cheese, fish, caviar and other specialities and all the vendors are trying to pull you to their stand to try and buy. It is one of the few places where you can get any kind of fruit or vegetable all year round but it will also cost you. From outside, the building is filled with restaurants, snack bars, shops and cafes. There is a non stop tearoom, sushi bar, pizza fast food and other venues.
Walking to the other end of the 1300 meters long street you’ll get to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). The square is a mixture of different styles – the Soviet type hotel Ukraine, the modern glass hemisphere of the shopping center, the Monument to the Independence – a column rising 50 meters high and so on.
The Saint Andrew’s Church is a major Baroque church located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
The church was constructed in 1747–1754, to a design by the Imperial Russian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a cathedral. The Saint Andrew’s Church overlooks the historic Podil neighborhood, situated on a steep hill to which the church gave its current name—Andriyivska Hill. It is currently one of four architectural landmarks of Ukraine, which were put down on the List of Mankind Treasures of Five Continents by the world society. As the church sits atop a hill, foundation problems have been one of the main concerns of preservationists. More recently, the foundation below the church has started to shift, causing some concerns that the church’s foundation might collapse. Cracks have already appeared in the foundation, and some of the church’s falling decor has been found in neighboring areas.
House with Chimeras
Bankovaya Street 10, Kiev
Built by V. Gorodezhkiy in the beginning of 20th century, this house is quite extraordinary. It was the first house built with cement, it is on a very steep slope and sinking now. It is called the House with Chimeras because the facade is decorated with strange sculptures of elephants, rhinoceroses, frogs, lizards and such. There are many legends about the construction. One is that the architect’s daughter committed suicide, he became slightly crazy and built this gloomy house in her memory.
M. Grushevskovo 5, Kiev
This baroque palace was completed in 1752 for Empress Elisabeta Petrovna. It burnt down in 1819 and was later reconstructed again to accommodate monarchs and high ranking officials from Russia and it serves the purpose till present day – for presidential and other important meetings.
The St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral is the second Roman Catholic cathedral built in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It was constructed from 1899–1909 and was built in a Gothic type construction, by Kiev architects V. Gorodetsky and E. Salya. Historically, it belonged to the Latin Rite Catholic community.
A competition was held in 1898 for the designs for a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Kiev, which was won by architect S. Volovskiy. His entry into the competition included a Gothic type construction with two 60 m (197 ft) towers. The final revision and management of the project was assigned to the Kievan architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, and Emilio Sala added sculptural decoration in artificial stone to the construction. To increase the stability of the construction on the uneven Kiev ground, it was ensured by bore-and-stuffed piles, a newly introduced invention of Anton Strauss. The construction work was carried out by exclusively from voluntary donations, and lasted for ten years (1899–1909).
In 1909, the cathedral was consecrated in the name of Saint Nicholas, however the construction was not yet completed. A Gothic style three-story house was built in the for the parish clergy to the left of the cathedral. In 1938, Soviet authorities closed the cathedral after its Roman Catholic priest was “absent” for two years due to the Soviet persecution of Christians. For some time after its closure, the building was used by the punitive organs for technical purposes, and, at some point, served as a KGB service building. After its restoration in 1979-1980, commissioned by the Rada of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR, by the architects O. Grauzhis and I. Tukalevskiy, the church was turned into the National House of Organ and Chamber Music of Ukraine. For the reconstruction and restoration of the severely damaged church, the building’s stained glass windows were manufactured in the Baltics, its furniture was created in Lviv, and the high-quality wood floors were produced in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. The company, Riger – Kloss then located in Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland), manufactured an organ for the cathedral. Its manufacturer tried to architecturally tie the organ to the building itself. Since 1992, Catholic Masses and concerts have been held here. Bishop Jan Purvinski consecrated the cathedral and a Mass was celebrated there on 4 January 1992. Currently, it belongs to the Kievan Municipal Department for Culture, but the Roman Catholic Church hopes it will be returnd to the local Latin rite Roman Catholic community.
Golden Gate: modelled on Constantinople’s Golden Gate the famous Zoloti Vorota was erected in by
Prince Yaroslav in 1037 as the main entrance into the ancient city. However, the gate was largely destroyed in the 1240 Mongol ransacking of Kiev, and what you see today is a 1982 reconstruction. Independence Square: located in the heart of the capital, the ‘Maidan Nezalezhnosti’ was the scene of the Orange Revolution protests against political corruption and electoral fraud in 2004-05; the revolutionary graffiti on the wall of the main post office has been covered with perspex to preserve this significant chapter in Kiev’s history. The square is a centre for public gatherings, national holiday celebrations and cultural festivals.