Physics of Liquid Matter: Modern Problems
May 23-26, 2008, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine


Southeast of the main center of Kiev, spread over two large hills along the banks of the Dnieper, is the Kiev-Perchersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves). To reach the monastery, take the metro to Arsenalna Station (Red Line), exit and cross the street and take Trolley bus 20 two stops. 21 Sichnevoho Povstannya. Tel., 290- 7349. Hours, 10 AM - 6 PM, closed Tuesday.

Kiev Pecherska Lavra Monastery is a "must see" visit while in Kiev. This twenty-eight hector functioning monastery contains numerous churches, towers, a printing works, miles of maze like underground tunnels containing numerous churches, ancient crypts, ecclesiastical objects, and some of Kiev's riches museums. Among the museums are the Museum of Historical Treasures, the Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Art, and the Museum of Ukrainian Books and Printing, where Russia's first printing press was established. To begin your excursion of the monastery, purchase your ticket just outside the majestic blue and gold archway of the Trinity Gate Church (1108). Please note, tickets for the Museum of Historical Treasures, the Bell Tower, and the Caves, where you buy a candle in lieu of a ticket, must be purchased at those respective sites. Excellent English, Russian, Ukrainian, French, German, and Spanish tour guides are available just inside the gates in the long building to your left. Should you elect to "see it on your own", the monastery offers a variety of reasonably priced, informative, brochures in English, which provide detailed information about the exhibits. If time permits, set aside a full day to see this magnificent and fascinating part of Kiev's long history.

"Lavra" is the term used by the Orthodox Church for its largest monastery. Pecherska Lavra was one of the most famous monasteries in historical Kievan-Rus and the former Russian Empire. A site of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians throughout Europe, for centuries it was Orthodox Christianity's "Rome". Founded in 1051 by monks Antony and Feodosiy, the primary goal of the monastery was to spread the newly adopted Christian religion. A cave is "pechera" in Ukrainian, hence the name of monastery. Monks worshipped and lived in the caves which still can be visited. The monks were also buried in these caves. The mixture of the cool temperatures and humid atmosphere of the caves allowed the bodies of the dead to mummify. At the time of monastery foundation, this appeared to be a miracle, enhancing the monastery's prestige. Even today,their bodies remain almost perfectly preserved. In 12th century, Lavra became a leading religious and cultural center of Eastern Europe. Lavra had icon-painting studios and a scriptorium where works of ancient and contemporary foreign writers were translated into Slavic. Outstanding figures of Kievan-Rus, including writers Nikon, Feodosiy Pechersky, Polikarp, and Yakov Mnikh, the great physician, Agapit, and the artist, Alimpiy, lived and worked here. The historian Nestor wrote the renowned old Slavic Chronicle, "The Story of Bygone Days", while living in the monastery. Archeological excavations of the 1950's revealed that the monastery housed a workshop which produced mosaics that decorated many Kievan churches.

In addition to the caves, Lavra incorporates a number of other buildings and churches which are significant In Ukrainian and Russian history, including: The Church of the Savior of Berestovo (12th c.), the burial site for Yuri Dolgoruky, the founder of Moscow the Holy Trinity Church (12th c. which served as an entrance to the monastery and lockout post; as well as, St. Nicholas Church, which belonged to the monastery's hospital. The Bell Tower of the Lavra 96 meters high (315 feet), was built in the 18th century by Hetman Ivan Mazepa and is the highest best tower in Ukraine. Recently, the government of Ukraine has returned many buildings and temples of the Lavra to the Church. Now, Lavra houses a functioning monastery, Kiev Theological Seminary, Theological Academy and headquartes of Archboshop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

On your left, as you exit the Monastery, is the Ukrainian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War. Opened on October 17, 1981, this memorial complex occupies an area of 1-0 hectors and incorporates a museum (18 galleries), a memorial flame, plaques honoring "herocities" and a display ground for World War II vintage and more recent military equipment. The bronze sculptures lining the road to the complex are good examples of traditional Soviet style sculpture with their powerful portrayal of human strength. The museum's exhibits consist of 8,000 objects reflecting various stages and aspects of World War II. 33 Sichnevoho Povstannya. Tel. 295- 9457. Open, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM -5PM.