Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Kyiv, Ukraine

The last few days have been a bit crazy here. Too much snow for England to cope. Everything seems to be stuck and yesterday I had to walk back home from Wolverhampton after volunteering as buses were being completely useless and non-existant. It's been a little better today, I'm just glad I'm not trying to travel anywhere for Christmas as nothing seems to be working! Mmmmm, and I'll be on holiday now until 4th January, hurrah! I'm hoping to get up to date with this blog during the holidays, ideally I would like to post about all the cards that have been in a pile for a while now. We'll see.

I received this gorgeous card from a swap last month. It's such a beautiful view and I love the mist and mysterious atmosphere. It's a misty view of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, a monastery complex consisting of numerous monuments and grottoes.

The Lavra boasts very ancient origins and rapidly became the seat of a community governed by the abbot St Theodosius. With the support of the Princes of Kiev, the monastery immediately began to prosper. Devastated by the Mongols and the Tatars, Lavra was almost entirely rebuilt in the 17th century and afterward. A print shop was founded in 1615, mainly issuing devotional literature and history. The Lavra played a highly important intellectual role: these were times of great prosperity, when pilgrims flocked to the site, and the grounds were filled with numerous Baroque monuments. The Clock Tower and the Refectory Church are two of the main landmarks in a monastic landscape totally transformed by the construction or the renovation of numerous churches. Declared a 'Historical and Cultural Reserve' in 1926, the Lavra was very severely damaged in 1941 when its oldest edifice, the Dormition Cathedral, was almost fully destroyed.

Today the major elements of the very old historic heritage are Trinity Church, whose 12th-century structure is hidden by the extremely rich Baroque decor, and especially the catacombs, which include the Near Caves and the Far Caves, whose entrances are respectively at All Saints' Church and at the Church of the Conception of St Anna. Over the years the monks' cells became a necropolis where hundreds of their mummified bodies have been preserved.

Most of the monuments of the Lavra had new cultural functions in 1926: the Metropolitan's residence is now the State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art, the printshop houses the Book and Bookbinding Museum, the Refectory Church is a museum of Christianity, and the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross is the museum of the history of the catacombs. [source]

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