World Heritage #0527 – Religious monuments in Kyiv

Last modified 30.10.2022 | Published 29.03.2018North and Central Europe, Ukraine, World Heritage Sites

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There are many religious monuments in Kyiv, a city with high, gilded, dome-shaped church spires. Some of them belong to the two very important complexes.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Official facts

  • Official name of this site: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Date of Inscription: 1990
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 527:

Designed to rival Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral symbolizes the ‘new Constantinople’, capital of the Christian principality of Kyiv, which was created in the 11th century in a region evangelized after the baptism of St Vladimir in 988. The spiritual and intellectual influence of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra contributed to the spread of Orthodox thought and the Orthodox faith in the Russian world from the 17th to the 19th century.

My visit

There are many religious monuments in Kyiv, of which two separate complexes are on the Heritage List. The first complex includes the Saint-Sophia Cathedral and several former monastic buildings. This complex now serves mostly as a museum and also hosts several galleries. The second complex is the monastic complex of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra with the Church of the Saviour at Berestovo. This is a monastery even today. It occupies a large area on the west bank of the Dnieper/Dnipro River. 

Pechera means cave, and visitors are allowed into the 1,000-years old cave-like catacombs where monks use/used to pray and even hide in times of unrest.

I arrived in Kyiv in 2018 and visited both complexes. The exteriors and interiors are extremely fascinating. They remain popular among people of Orthodox faith.

Read more about my visit.

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