Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Lavra

A trip to Kiev is not complete without a visit to the Lavra. This is a Christian Monastery, founded in 1051, as a cave monastery and still active today. The site includes a state museum and various churches. The most famous attraction is the cave burial site where you can wander through the cave tunnels with a candle. Along the narrow underground corridors are sarcophagi housing the remains of various Monks and religious people. We walked along behind a tour group holding out the candle as our only light. The remains are covered by cloths inside the glass topped coffins. It's an incredibly atmospheric experience, and only a little bit creepy. The Lavra is a UNESCO world heritage site, visited by thousands of people every year. The churches are spectacular, but having spent the past three weeks walking among spirituality through Siberia, we suffered church fatigue when we arrived in the Lavra. After experiencing the catacombs, we were ready to make our way back to the city centre. An unfortunate side effect to slow, over-land travel is that the landscape, culture and history of each place doesn't massively change. The first Church we encountered in Listvyanka, after two years of temples, was a breath of fresh air for me. But by the time we reached the Lavra and our 27th house of God, I was happy to forgo entering any more than one building. This is no reflection on the architecture or history here, purely the fatigue of this train weary traveller! 

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The view from Andrew's decent at twilight


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We finally found a post office to send our cards in Kiev


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