Curious facts about Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra
Do you know that people knew about Lavra vineyards in the 17th century already?
Those vinegrapes were planted on the slopes of the Cave hills, known as “vine hills”. They grew, in particular, above the Far Caves and in close proximity to the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin that topped that area.
There were also two vineries, situated near Lavra’s courtyard, that have been known since the 18th century. The first was called “Nyzhniy” (Lower) vineyard. It covered the area at the foot of the hill, occupied by Lavra’s Hostynny Dvir (Hospitable Courtyard). The second was known as “Zakonyushenny” (that is, situated at the Stable’s Rear). It was located behind the Great Lavra horse barn and near Hostynny Dvir.
The vinegrapes were also successfully cultivated in the Lavra’s Lybid household property and in the territory of the Holy Trinity Monastery (known as “Kytayivska pustyn”). Besides, vinegrape bunches also grew ripe in the Archimandrite’s Garden and admired the sight of everybody who looked at them in autumn.
In the Lavra’s key-keeper household unit monks produced wine. It was made from the harvest, gathered in the Lavra’s vineyards. The tradition of making such type of monastery wine was preserved until the end of the 18th century. Grapes were also used to make famous Lavra candied fruits – delicacies, which were sent to the Hetman’s and royal courts. Besides, if the grapes were unriped, they were used as source material to make vinegar, which, in turn, was used for various purposes, including the treatment of horses. To add, ripe field-fresh vinegrapes were used to enrich fruit menu of the Monastery’s brethren.
Lavra vinegrapes were associated with Kyiv viticulture and were a desirable gift for the most reputable members of society. Thus, in December 1746, “field-fresh barrel of grapes” was sent to Count S. Sheremetyev who appeared to be very pleased with that present.
Caption the the illustration:
1. “Vine hill” above the Far Caves on the Plan of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, compiled by Innocent Giselle in1674.