Antoniy Caves, Illynsky Church & Trinity Monastery

Antoniy Caves, Illynsky Church & Trinity Monastery information

Chernihiv , Ukraine
bell tower admission 5uah
Opening hours
bell tower 10am-7.30pm
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About 2km southwest of St Catherine's Church you'll spot the 58m bell tower of the Troyitsko-Illynsky Monastery (Trinity Monastery). The Antoniy Caves , Chernihiv's answer to Kyiv's Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra, lurk beneath the ground a short walk north of this monastery, under the early 11th-century Illinsky Church . The caves consist of 315m of passageways, galleries and chapels constructed from the 11th to 13th centuries. These are very different from those in Kyiv in that they lack both dead mummies and, for the most part, live tourists. The conditions here were too cold and humid to support mummification. Instead, the bones of monks killed during the Mongol invasion are preserved in a windowed sarcophagus; touching the sarcophagus is considered good luck. The cave's benefactor and namesake, St Antony of Pechersk, also helped burrow the Lavra caves.

While you're out here, it's worth checking out the monastery and climbing the bell tower , which looks right down on the 17th-century Trinity Church , an important pilgrimage site that is often mobbed with worshippers.

It's about a 3km walk to the monastery from the Dytynets, or you can jump on trolleybus 8. To get to Illynsky Church get off at the stop before the bell tower and follow the dirt path downhill through the park across the street from the bus stop.