Kiev’s churches are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen! People should pilgrimage to Kiev to see the city’s beautiful Orthodox Christian churches just like people travel to Thailand to see its famous temples.
Visiting the best of Kiev’s churches, cathedrals and monasteries is a great way to start planning your time in this city so rich in history, culture and faith.
Kiev’s Churches – St Sophia’s Cathedral
St Sophia’s beautiful blue bell tower presides impressively over the entrance, making it incredibly difficult to walk away from such an effortlessly elegant monument.
Kiev’s Church of St Sophia’s does charge for admission, however, the fee is nominal and extremely inviting. To walk around the complex without going into any of the buildings will only set you back 80p!
St Sophia’s is one of the first places of Ukrainian heritage to be put on UNESCOs world heritage list along with Pechersk Larva.
In 2011 the cathedral celebrated its 1000th anniversary and is one of the most impressive structures in the city.
St Michael’s Monastery
St Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery is directly opposite St Sophia’s and is still a working monastery. Because of this it is free to enter and the place has a distinctly different atmosphere. It feels big in size, but exudes intimacy as soon as you walk in.
Whilst visiting St Michael’s you will be surprised by how busy the Monastery is. The place is full with the low consistent hum of people popping in to pray and pay their respects to the different saints and effigies.
You soon realise how important these places of worship are. You also come to realise how prominent religion is to the culture of the Ukrainian people.
The buildings themselves are hard to ignore and, as the name suggests, stand out because of the many golden domes that adorn the roof.
History states that St Michael’s was one of the first to cover its domes with a layer of gold. It seems it set the trend for other churches there after!
Pechersk Lavra and Caves
Also known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, Pechersk Lavra is billed as the number one thing to do while visiting Kiev. If you don’t have much time in the city, I would probably agree.
It’s not hard to understand why Pechersk Lavra is a firm favourite with visitors to the city. With its impressive gold domed roofs, beautifully set courtyards, and caves filled with mummified monks there’s enough intrigue and charm here to satisfy your Ukrainian wanderlust.
Like St Sophia there is an entrance charge to Pechersk Lavra. However, you can visit as much or as little of the site as you want and the charges reflect this.
The Monastery is split over two sections – the Upper Larva and Lower Lavra. You can spend hours walking around the grounds, buildings, museums, churches and caves so think of this as a full day out.
To learn more about the monastery and the caves take a look at our article on The History of Kiev in Three Must See Places
St Volodymyr’s Cathedral
My personal favourite!
It is positioned across the road from the botanical gardens and very close to the red faced building of the University of Kiev. St Volodymr’s Cathedral is an absolutely stunning tribute to all that is wonderful about Kiev’s churches.
The building has a bright and brilliant yellow facade and moody blue roof peppered with yellow stars. It is as if each dome has been dusted with a paint brush brought straight down from the heavens. It makes this cathedral one of the prettiest of the bunch.
Much like St Michael’s you will find this church is a hive of peaceful activity as people pass in and out for their daily prayers. You will also find two glass coffins complete with resident mummy inside, which gives you a little bit of the intrigue of Pechersk Lavra.
The Best of Kiev’s Churches – St Andrew’s
St Andrews is another example of the best of Kiev’s churches.
Sitting on the top of Andriyivsky Street, that boasts a particularly charming market along the road side, St Andrews is a gorgeous five-domed church that was designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who designed the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg!
It’s one of the top 4 landmarks in Kiev and really is a must see. It’s simply stunning.
Take a look at these three key places to learn all about the history of Kiev.