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Svyatogorsk Laura (The Holy Mountain Monastrery)

Close to the Kharkiv-Rostov-on-Don motorway, yet, beyond the limits of the Kharkiv Region, another sanctuary of Sloboda Ukraine is situated — Svyatogorsk Laura, the third in Ukraine after the Kiev-Pechersk and Pochaev Lauras.

A story goes that the first Christians persecuted by the Romans appeared here in the first centuries A.D. There are also legends saying that an abode was established here by the Byzantine monks in the 18th–19th centuries and was visited by the founders of the Kiev-Pechersk Monastery — An­tony and Theodosius (Ukr. Feodosiy).

The legend says that after Kiev was sacked by Batu Khan in 1240, part of the monks fled from the Kiev-Pechersk Laura to the Holy Mountains (Ukr. ‘Svyati Gory’, a word combination which gave the name to the monastery). The monastery cells were located in the underground caves where the monks lived and hid from the nomads. They also provided shelter for those who escaped from the Tatar capture. It was not until the 17th century that the stone St. Nicholas Church was built on the top of the mountain. The altar part of the church was caved in a chalk mountain, whilst the rest of the church was constructed of bricks. There is a legend about the miraculous appearance of the St. Nicholas Church: the church was being constructed in secret behind a chalk wall. After the construction was competed, the wall was destroyed and the believers all of a sudden beheld the new church. Today there is an observation deck offering a wonderful view of the Seversky Donets and the shaggy treed hills.

In 1980 the Svyatogorsk Monastery was announced the state historical and architectural conservation area with a complex of about 30 sites, buildings and monuments, including the monument to the famous revolutionary Artem sculptured by I. Kavaleridze.