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Dates of visit:
April 29, 2007 &
May 8, 2007

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Revisit friends
 Village Zymna Voda
 L'viv
 Arsenal Museum
 Capital of Kyiv
 Kyiv Churches
 Kyiv Soviet Past
 Walking Kyiv
 Ethnic Dining
 Museums
 

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Romania
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*** Kyiv (Capital of Ukraine), part 3 ***
*** House with Chimeras ***
*** Ukrainian National Bank ***
*** Pechersk Lavra (Cave Monastery) ***
        Map of Ukraine
        Travel Route
        House with Chimeras
               Site Gallery - House with Chimeras
        Ukrainian National Bank
               Site Gallery - Ukrainian National Bank
        Kyiv Pechersk Lavra - The Cave Monastery
               Site Gallery - Kyiv Pechersk Lavra - The Cave Monastery
House with Chimeras

House with Chimeras House with Chimeras ... there is one really weird building in the very heart of Kyiv. No one can pass it by without staring at it. It is easy to find: travel by metro to Kreshchatik station and exit on to Institutskaya Street. You cannot confuse this house with any other building around it.

Its magnificent facades and intricate staircase at the front door are decorated with fantastic sculptures of beasts and chimeras, which seem to be taken from the pointed roofs of Notre Dame in Paris. Concrete-made heads of rhinoceroses and elephants, crocodiles and antelopes are walled into this mysterious house. Nimble stone lizards scale the pillars. And there’s more. Elephants’ trunks are used as gutters, gigantic toads and sea monsters make up the roof. Figures of women have chains, leaves and buds on their heads instead of hair. And just what is that gigantic python at the corner of the house meant to signify? Only the architect knows the answer, and he died long ago.

The house was built by Vladimir Gorodetskiy, an extremely talented Kyiv architect and equally extraordinary and mysterious personality, who lived at the beginning of the 20th century. Architecture was his vocation, but hunting was his primary passion, which benefited from most of his free time. Dreams about African savannas and its dwellers all came to life in fantastic images of the House with Chimeras.

The architect built the house for himself as a present for his 40th birthday, in less than two years (in order to win a bet). It was also one of the first buildings in Kyiv to make use of cement, concrete and new technology. It soon became one of the city’s primary architectural sights, and remains so today.

Every citizen of Kyiv knows it, and a sadder tale that goes with it: Gorodetskiy’s young daughter drowned in the Mediterranean shortly before building commenced, and the house was in fact built in her memory. Not that makes the demons which adorn the house easier to interpret.

Site Gallery - House with Chimeras
 
House with Chimeras House with Chimeras House with Chimeras
House with Chimeras House with Chimeras House with Chimeras
House with Chimeras House with Chimeras House with Chimeras
Ukrainian National Bank

Ukrainian National Bank Ukrainian National Bank ... is over 100 years old. It was built in early Renaissance style and has survived revolution and two world wars. The griffons; emblems of Kyiv, Podillia, and Volyn regions; symbols of trade, transportation, industry, and agriculture on the outside of the building have remained intact and have not been changed since construction.

While renovation and restoration has preserved much of he building’s features, however, some have alas been lost. During the last period of renovation the aroma of roses – which emanated from the garden in the interior courtyard and was delivered to the rest of the building via a special ventilation system - was lost.

Site Gallery - Ukrainian National Bank
 
Ukrainian National Bank Ukrainian National Bank Ukrainian National Bank
Ukrainian National Bank Ukrainian National Bank Ukrainian National Bank
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra - The Cave Monastery

Pechersk Lavra Kyiv Pechersk Lavra ... the Pechersk Lavra (Pechersk stands for pechery, that is caves which are to be found in its territory and which early monks used to live in, Lavra is an honorific title given to a monastery of extra-size and religious importance) is Kyiv's main tourist attraction and according to its promotional literature, more than 43 million people have visited the site.

The origins of the Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery are closely related to the introduction of Christianity in Kyiv Rus' in the 10th century. To keep the new religion alive Princes built impressive churches and supported the activity of the first monks who went from place to place teaching the Christian Faith and preaching.

The monastery was originally founded by two monks namely St. Anthony of the Caves (Antoniy) and St. Theodosius of the Caves (Feodosiy), in 1051. During its earlier years, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery suffered many incidents of vandalism, damage and destruction, but managed to survive. (The Kyiv 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.)

During the next ten centuries the Monastery played a significant role in the cultural and religious life of the country and its history was full of interesting events. Situated at the hillside, the territory of Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery is split into two parts called Upper Lavra and Lower Lavra and occupies about 50 acres and 86 buildings (Uspenskiy Cathedral, Bell Tower @ 96-meters height that was erected during the years 1731 to 1744, Troitskaya Church, Hospital Church, All-Saints Church, Refectory, Museum, 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, etc) present various architectural styles of the past. Numerous exhibitions and museums help an interested visitor to learn much about the history, national traditions and folk art.

The architectural complex of the Monastery and the way it looks today is truly grandiose. On a sunny day one is almost dazzled by the reflections from the innumerable golden domes above churches and belfries. Nowadays, Lavra is both a collection of unique museums and a functioning monastery.

Belfry Great Lavra Belfry (1745) … finest creation in Ukrainian architecture. Construction began during the rule of Hetman Mazepa who donated 70,000 gold ducats.

The well-proportioned octagonal belfry has four tiers and is 96 meters high. It has a vault-and-arch structure … the walls of each tier are covered with vaults, and the third and fourth tiers each have eight arched apertures. The walls of the first tier are eight meters (24 feet) thick and the foundations are seven meters (21 feet) deep.

Bell The bells, overall weight of 82,000 kg, were installed in the third tier. In 1744, chiming clockwork was installed in the fourth tier, replaced in 1903 by a new one.

Melody chimes are on the quarter hour; bell ringing on every hour.

There is an entire network of caves that run beneath the monastic settlement, which, for a small price, tourists can explore by candlelight, peering into the open coffins of deceased monks. Only celebrated monks or monks who exhibited saintly traits are buried here. Everyone who visits Kyiv simply must make the trek to the Lavra at some point!

Rodina Mat Rodina Mat’ (Motherland) ... (as seen from the Lavra), an enormous stainless steel statue of a fierce female warrior, 68 m high, standing on a 40 m pedestal and holding a 12-ton sword in her right hand and a shield in the left, dominating the heights above the Dnieper River.

Giant, threatening and inescapable, the statue is known locally as ‘Brezhnev’s Mother’, as L. Brezhnev opened the monument in 1981 commemorating Kyiv’s survival of the Nazi atrocities of 1941-1943.

Viewed from Lavra, a panorama of Kyiv ... (click on image)

Kyiv Panorama from Lavra
Site Gallery - Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, The Cave Monastery
 
  On the way to the Lavra  
To Lavra To Lavra To Lavra
  Lavra Gate  
Lavra Gate Lavra Gate Lavra Gate
  Dormition Cathedral  
Foundation laid in 1073; used as a prototype for other Ukrainian churches; razed by fire in 1718; burial place for over 300 notable Ukrainians; blown up by Nazis on November 3, 1941; rebuilt and re-consecrated in 2000
Dormition Cathedral Dormition Cathedral Dormition Cathedral
Dormition Cathedral Dormition Cathedral Dormition Cathedral
Dormition Cathedral Dormition Cathedral Dormition Cathedral
  Cathedral Original Foundation  
Remnant of foundation laid in 1073
Cathedral Foundation Cathedral Foundation Cathedral Foundation
  Cathedral & Refectory  
Cathedral & Refectory Cathedral & Refectory Cathedral & Refectory
  Belfry Tower  
Belfry Tower Belfry Tower Belfry Tower
Belfry Tower Belfry Tower Belfry Tower
  Lavra Museum  
Lavra Museum Lavra Museum Lavra Museum
Lavra Museum Lavra Museum Lavra Museum
Lavra Museum Lavra Museum Lavra Museum
On Lavra grounds is a most unique museum ...
a museum devoted to microminiature art by that master of microminiatures, Mykola Syadristy. Posting any images in this gallery cannot do justice to this artists' work ... one has to see a PowerPoint presentation (3.5 Mb).
  To Lavra Caves  
To Caves To Caves To Caves
To Caves To Caves To Caves
To Caves To Caves To Caves
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