Inkerman Cave Monastery

Useful Information

Location: Inkerman
Open: All year daily.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: electric
Guided tours:  
Address: Inkerman Cave Monastery, Tel: +380-, Fax: +380-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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8th cty first monastery founded.
1793 surveyed by Simon Pallas.
1850 new monastery founded.
1850s looted by the British.
1895 church added to commemorate the Borki Incident.
1905 church added to commemorate the Crimean War.
1927 damaged by the Crimean Earthquake.
1931 monastery closed by the socialists.
World War II used to house the officers of a Soviet army defending Sevastopol.
1991 reopened after the Cold War and the independence of Ukraine.


Inkerman Cave Monastery or Inkerman Monastery of St. Clement is located near the city Inkerman at the mouth of the Black River. It was built into natural caves or hollows in the cliff face carved by the river. Inkerman is a Turkish name meaning cave fortress.

The place was the location of a Byzantine monastery, probably founded in the 8th century. The old monastery had eight chapels and an inn which were accessed by a stairway. It was surveyed in 1793 by Simon Pallas.

According to legend once the relics of St. Clement were stored here. Saint Clement was a martyr who was killed by the Romans. He was originally from Rome, but as he was a Christ he was exiled in the year 94 by the Roman Emperor Trajan to Crimea. Living here he was praying for water, as the local Christs were lacking a water supply. A messenger from God told him where to look, and so he found a spring which soon became a river called Tschorna (black). This miracle convinced many people to become Christs, which was not in the interest of the Romans. They executed him in 101 by throwing him into the sea with an anchor tied around his neck. But after one year on the day of his death the sea receded and exposed an underwater cave, where the remains of the Saint were found. And this miracle happend every year and many Christians walked on the dry sea flor to bow to the holy relics. Later a small church was built on an island in Cossack Bay to keep the relics of Clement. This was the begin of the monastery. The relics stayed here until the Saints Cyril and Methodius relocated them in 861 to San Clemente.

It seems the monastery was closed after the fortress on top of the hill was conquered by the Turks in 1475. It fell in disrepair. In 1850 Crimea was transfered to the Russian Empire and a new monastery was founded on the same location. It was named Clement Cave Moanstery in honour of Saint Clement. This monastery was closed in 1931 because of the political situation. Todays monastery was opened in 1991, after the Cold War ended and the Ukraine became independent.