Sunday, October 14, 2012


Today we went to Lavra! It's the holiest site in Kiev and also happens to be the number one tourist destination here so it's about time we checked it out. Basically, it's a huge monastery with a few churches and cathedrals and there are catacombs that this guy named St. Antoniy and his followers dug underground so everyone would leave them the heck alone and they could study and worship and die in peace. And when they died they were "naturally preserved" so they weren't embalmed or anything and they just dried out and shriveled up and we saw them. We saw real monk mummies you guys!! The whole area was so beautiful. And we had to wear long skirts and headscarves out of respect.

The walk down to the caves.

The mummies in the caves were in these little glass coffins and their bodies were covered in green embroidered cloth. They were even wearing slippers. But some of the mummies had their hands sticking out so we could how they were brown and shriveled and very dead looking. We also saw this hole in the wall filled with the skull and bones of another monk. It was creeptastic. I thought it was cool. And we had these thin candles that smelled like honey that we held as we walked through the caves. It was really hot and dim and cramped and there were a million people and I just kept thinking about what a fire hazard it was down there with all these little flames. Also people were kissing the coffins and making the sign of the cross a lot. It was neat.

One of the cathedrals.

There's a bell tower here too.
This guy was the bell ringer.
A church.
Monastery cats! Oksana wouldn't let me pet them cause she said I'd get ringworm. :(
The back of the cathedral.
We lit our candles in the cathedral and put them on a stand like this in front of a painting of Jesus. This picture was sneaky.
An EGG-loo.
So beautiful. This is where all the pictures are taken for covers of the books about Kiev and stuff.
All of us ladies with our head coverings!
Gallya (one of the coordinators), Erika, Erika, Cherish, Samantha (the birthday girl!!) And I.

After Lavra we all went out to dinner for Samantha's birthday and walked around a mall and ate gelato. Superb day indeed!!

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