KYIVAN CAVE MONASTERY, KIEV, UKRAINE
Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
320Trip End Sep 02, 2009
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Today we are going to see the Caves with the Mummified Monks. This is suppose to be the 'do not miss sight' to see in Kiev.
It will also be our first ride on the Metro. We are just a street over to the station, oops, we tried to go in the exit door!. Bought 4 tickets, we have to go on the green and red line so will need 2 tickets each to get there. We hop on a very fast moving escalator and ride it down for 1 ½ minutes. We could not believe how deep we are going down.
We have the names of the stops written out, but what is written on the boards is nothing like what I had written. We ask a man and he tells us which side to get on. The train comes, people squeeze out and we squeeze in, all the cars are the same, full. We know we have to get off 2 stops down, the next stop most of the cars empty. We get off at the next station and follow the crowd, a woman tries to help us and signals for us to follow her. She doesn't speak any English so we follow. We take a short elevator ride up along a red walled tunnel and down some stairs and onto a platform. The woman speaks to us and wants to write something for us. I give her a paper and pen, she writes something down. We get on the train and get off another 2 stops down. This time we do 2 very long escalators up, in the middle we hear music, there are 2 men playing a horn and accordion. They are very good.
Once out we ask for directions to the Kyivan Cave Monastery. We go down the street, find a store, buy some cheese, ham, and bread for sandwiches. We have to use an underground to get across the street. It smells good down here, we find a small food court and they have perogies. We stop for lunch. Outside there is a corn vendor just like in Thailand!. Mmmm, it was good.
We go through a very large park with a war memorial, walk along the wall that looks down over the Dnepr River, another statue of a little girl holding some sheaf's of grain, around her are round stone wheels on the ground that have sheaths of wheat carved in them. We continue down the street and find the large monastery complex.
The monastery area covers two hills and the valley in between. In 1051 the first monks lived in the caves and built a church on the hill above them. It continuously grew over the years increasing the catacombs and an unique array of gold-domed churches. The underground labyrinths were lined with holy relics. It was declared a national museum in 1926.
Dormition Cathedral built in 1073-8 and the Main Gate with the (1106-8), have been rebuilt several times. The Cathedral just completed in 2000, the inside paintings are still in progress and closed for restoration. The outside is an incredible with all the domes and pictures. We go down the hill in search of the caves and find them. The group going before us buy candles, we think for their prayers, but once we go down the stairs we realize it is dark down there. We step off into a room and can barely see, I put on a light and we see the mummified monks in their glass cases. They are all dressed and have shoes on, their faces are covered with material. We go into several of the alcoves and look at the cases.
We stop in a look at a church up on the top of the opposite hill, then went into the main church, but it was closed for restoration. We just happen to be at the door when a group from Germany are being let in to see some of the restorations, we went in with them. The main part of the church was scaffolding where they were working on the murals, one of the side areas has the front restored and a small church has been built inside. It is a copy of an original ancient church, they used some of the original stones. We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
We then went into the Hermitage Museum. We were discussing just how many treasurers could there be and we were surprised as we went through the museum, sorry no pictures here. The first rooms were of treasurers from 4 to 5 th century BC. And each room progressed in time from there. We were amazed at the collection, it also had a room of Jewish treasurers.
We made our way back to the metro, after stopping in for another meal of perogies. We just made one wrong turn when we left the station where we had to get from the red line to the green line, turned left instead of right, back on the right track and the right train. A short walk home, Len went to the store for cheese and I went into the apartment to get diner ready.
Another amazing and interesting day.