If you ever get to Kiev, you must go to the The Lavra...even if churches might not be what inspires your vacation plans. It is the center of Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe and home of some of the most beautiful sites I've seen in Ukraine. The Lavra has several entrances but the most impressive, I believe, is through the Gate Church of the Trinity.
The gate itself is amazing to look at but what truly is breathtaking are the two frescoes that are on walls leading to the gate. After living here for a few months, it is clear that keeping things "nice" in Ukraine is a constant struggle and the idea of the "tragedy of the commons" has become something we have seen nearly everyday from polluted drinking water, the condition of sidewalks and roads, or the graffiti problem ...so long story short, that these outdoor frescoes still exist more than a century after their creation blows my mind.
Inside the gates, you have many memorable buildings including The Great Lavra Belltower and...
...the Refractory Church which is one of the newer structures on the site having been built in the 1890's.
There are also a series of caves which hold religious relics and the burial sites of many monks how lived at The Lavra...no cameras allowed in there I'm afraid and the only lighting is a wax candle you need to buy before going down to the caves.