Kiev Pechersk Lavra or Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Києво-Печерська лавра), also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery which gave its name to one of the city districts where it is located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1015 the Lavra has been a preeminent center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The monastery complex is considered a separate national historic-cultural preserve (sanctuary), the national status to which was granted on March 13, 1996. The Lavra also not only located in another part of the city, but is part of a different national sanctuary than Saint Sophia Cathedral. While being a cultural attraction, the monastery is currently active. It was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on August 21, 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.
Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kiev-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Volodymyr.
The Kiev Pechersk Lavra caverns are a very complex system of narrow underground corridors (about 1-1½ metres wide and 2-2½ metres high ), along with numerous living quarters and underground chapels. In 1051, the monk Anthony had settled in an old cave in one of the hills surrounding the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. This cave apparently grew, with numerous additions including corridors and a church, and is now what we know as the Far Caves. In 1057, Anthony moved to a cave near the Upper Lavra, now called the Near Caves. Foreign travellers in the 16-17th centuries had written that the catacombs of the Lavra stretched for hundreds of kilometres, reaching as far as Moscow and Novgorod, which had apparently brought about to the knowledge of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra around the world. There are over a hundred burials in the Lavra. Below are the most notable ones.
The Kiev Pechersk Lavra is also one of the largest Ukrainian museums in Kiev. The exposition is the actual ensemble of the Upper (Near Caves) and Lower (Far Caves) Lavra territories that houses many architectural relics of the past. The collection within the churches and caves include articles of precious metal, prints, higher clergy portraits and rare church hierarchy photographs. The main exposition contains articles from 16 to early 20th centuries which include chalices, crucifixes, and textiles from 16-19th centuries with needlework and embroidery of Ukrainian masters. The remainder of collection consists of pieces from Lavra's Printing House and Lavra's Icon Painting Workshop. The museum also provides tours to the catacombs, which contain mummified remains of Orthodox saints or their relics. Museum on the lavra territory are: Next to the monastery is located famous Kiev Arsenal factory, known for the Bolshevik Uprising in 1917.