One Million Visitors for Kyiv Pechersk Lavra in 2011
Ukraine’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Kyiv Pechersk Lavra attracted over a million tourists in 2011, reports the press service of the museum. One of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine is popular due to the ancient cultural heritage carried by the buildings and decorations of the national reserve that date back to the beginning of the previous millennium.
The one million mark defines Lavra’s popularity since, for example, world’s top visited art museum Louvre receives somewhat over 8 million tourists annually. The press service of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra noted that some 15,000 excursions took place at the museum in 2011 (compared with the planned 12,000). The tours were available in seven languages. Moreover, Lavra got the visitors boost during the winter holidays with over a thousand visitors on the New Year’s Eve, and nearly five thousand sightseers over the first two days of 2012.
Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is a monastic complex located on the right bank of the Dnipro river. It is often referred to as the Monastery of the Caves and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1990. The area of the national reserve Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is quite vast – 235,400 square meters (2,533,825 square feet), thus the complex features numerous buildings where a number of cultural and religious organizations, as well as exhibition halls and galleries are located.
The main church of the complex was built in 1051. The legend has it that the cave monastery initially functioned at the site with the actual church building constructed much later. The caves of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra still remain one of the top attractions of the reserve – the visitors may wander through the narrow underground corridors of the ancient churches with numerous cultural and religious artifacts displayed. The mummies of the saints kept in the caves remain a pilgrim destination for many Orthodox Christians.
Massive reconstruction works are currently being held at the site in order to make available for tourists such unique historic buildings as All Saints Church, Refectory Church, the main bell tower – Great Lavra Belltower (highest belltower in Ukraine – 96.52 meters or 317 feet), and others. Recently, the archaeologists uncovered unique gold-plated sculptures of an angel, crowned two-headed eagles, as well as standout leaves moulding in clay while doing reconstruction works.