Notes on The Photo of the Kiev Skyline

This is actually two photos that I spliced together from my visit to Kiev in 1990.  The view is from the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev (actually the Sviataia Uspenskaia Kievo-Pecherskaia Lavra, or the St. Uspensky Kiev-Pechersk Lavra), also known as the Monastery of the Caves.  It was founded in the mid-eleventh century and served as the center of the early Orthodox church in Rus'.  (A "lavra" is an upgraded monastery; a monastery of the highest rank enjoying special privileges.)  In Russia there were three lavras:  the Pechersk Lavra in Kiev; the Aleksandr Nevskii Lavra in St. Petersburg and the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad (Zagorsk) near Moscow.

What I really like about this image is the view toward the center of Kiev with all the golden domes of the numerous orthodox churches rising above the trees.  Then, in the hazy background, you can see the enormous monument (It is hard to believe how big it really is.) to Mother Russia that was erected by the Soviet government after World War II to commemorate the Russian loses in the war against Germany.  So, in this one image you have counter-posed Ancient Russian spirituality in the guise of these golden churches with the looming figure of Soviet Russia.


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