Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra is one of the first monasteries of Kievan Rus where Christianity was established as state religion and spread to the huge territory of Eastern Europe.
The monastery was founded by the monk Anthony of one Athon monastery in 1051, in the time of Yaroslav the Wise. He settled in a cave near Kiev. Later, his followers dug underground temple and new cells connected with one another by way of underground passages. In the reign of Prince Isyaslav all the hill was given to monks and there they built so-called Pecherskiy monastery (that is, cave-monastery). The founder of this monastery Anthony, as well as brethren, were buried in these caves. So appeared Near and Far Caves.
In Orthodox tradition Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra is considered the third Domain of the Virgin Mary. The first two domains were Iberia (Georgia) and Athon Mount, and the fourth one – Diveevo Monastery (Nizhniy Novgorod Region).
Today Lavra is the most important and interesting tourist attraction of Kiev. It is on the high bank of Dnieper River (near Arsenalnaya station). You can enter it by the Saint Gate. It is dominated by the Trinity Church, the oldest temple of Lavra. Near the entrance there is the Assumption Cathedral and high bell tower.
Since the time of its consecration in 1078 the Assumption Cathedral, sometimes referred to as the Great Church, has been the most important temple of the monastery. Alas, the cathedral had a very tragic fate. Several times it was almost completely destroyed. Also, it was severely damaged by fires, and every time the cathedral was restored with certain alterations. Last time it was blown up during occupation of Kiev by German troops in 1941. And only in 2000 the Assumption Cathedral was again restored in all its former magnificence.
The Cathedral and bell tower together with all adjoining constructions, also known as the Upper Monastery, are the property of local museum. There is a paved road leading from the Ca-thedral to the Lower Monastery, which was returned to the Church. There also located Far and Near Caves, serving as the church burial place. You must only visit them to understand the holiness of the site.