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We spent about two hours standing in line to get an entrance to the caves.
People standing in front of us were buying twenty or thirty tickets each. It must have been for the entire pilgrims' group.
In the long run we could buy a ticket to enter the caves, but only for 1 p.m., which meant that we would miss our bus back.
Unique Suggestions: Join an organized pilgrims group accompanied by a priest. The priest always has an advantage and can talk to the monks there to let your group come in.
Fun Alternatives: Walk about forty minutes along the mountain road up the hill to St.Nickolas Church, but in this case you will have no chance of visiting the caves.
If visiting the caves is your aim, then you have to be a real pilgrim, stay overnight at the pilgrims hotel and come to the excursions booking-office at 4 a.m.
Updated Feb 5, 2011
Buying some souvenirs or other goods at the embankment market, please keep in mind that the prices are a bit too exaggerated there.
Well, most of the goods there are unique and cannot be bought at any other market.
Hence the monopolists dictate their own prices.
If you don’t mind paying triple prices and helping the local entrepreneurs, then it is no problem.
Unique Suggestions: study the prices and talk to people.
Show your genuine interest in the language and culture.
Fun Alternatives: Provided you have some time you can go to one of the two town markets (Ostrovsky Street or Shevchenko Street) where you can negotiate and get a good bargain (10 % above the average price).
Updated Jul 20, 2010