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Excursion to Chernihiv (Chernigov)

Chernihiv is one of the oldest among all European cities. It was first mentioned by historian Nestor in 907, as the second largest city of the Kyivan Russ after Kyiv. Those years made the golden pages of Chernihiv's history. Prince Mstyslav the Brave ruled over the huge area of land which was as big as the territory of France today.

The prince’s treasury house was collecting taxes and developing trade and agriculture. Those were also great years for art and culture development. Many chronicles were written, hundreds of beautiful buildings were built, and some of them still please the eye of local citiens and tourists. In those days, more than a millenium ago, Chernihiv was one of the biggest European cities with fortified area of two square km and population of 25 thousands people.

Today, Chernihiv is a great attraction for those who want to know about Ukrainian history, traditions and culture. Having the population of quarter of a million people, the city has a few industrial enterprises of local significance, but it's main specifics is the unique concentration of historical and religions monuments  (more than 200) on a relatively small territory. Local citizens joke that one can find as many churches in Chernihiv as casinos in Las Vegas or restaurnts in Manhattan. Whether this is true or not, no one stays indifferent to the unique air of history that each visitor can breathe in Chernihiv.

Luckily, Chernihiv is located on a Kiev highway, only in 2 hours of ride from the capital of Ukraine. So, one-day bus trips to Chernihiv are easily available from Kiev all the year round.

Allow a day to visit this wonderful city, and you will experience the real taste Orthodox Christian faith, traditions and culture.

In Chernihiv, you will need 4-5 hours to visit all of the following places, which are considered the main tourist attractions revealing the history of Kievan Rus.


Antonyi Caves (Uspens’koho st., 33).
A unique piece of underground religious architecture, one of the few subterranean monasteries in Europe. The complex was established in 1069 by Antonyi Pechers’kyi, the founder of the famous Kyivo-Pechers’ka Lavra. In the XII century the church of St. Elias (Illins’ka) was built over the caves’ entrance. Now is the only building of the kind that has remained intact.

Black Tomb
According to the legend, the prince-founder of Chernihiv was buried in the tomb in X century. The archaeologists founded swords, sabres, lances, armours, plates, shields in the burial mound. The most precious archaeological find were two aurochs horns decorated with silver.

Boris and Hlib Cathedral (or Borysohlibsky Cathedral)
The cathedral was built in XII century. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe. Now it is a museum.

Chernihiv Collegium
One of the oldest secular educational institutions in Ukraine founded in 1700.

Dytynets Val (Rampart) of Chernigiv
The most ancient part of the city, the territory of the former Prince’s palace and fortress. It is the historic and cultural heart of Chernihiv. It includes several monuments: Spaso-Preobrazhens’kyi Cathedral, Borys and Hlib Cathedral, Chernihiv Collegium, History Museum, the monument of Taras Shevchenko. There are also twelve cast-iron cannons of the XVII-XVII centuries in the museum territory.

Holy Trinity – Elias Cathedral
The complex includes the Antonyi Caves, the Church of Elias (refectory) and the Holy Trinity (Troits’kyi) Cathedral, built in XVII century. A magnificent view of the city opens from the 58 meters tall bell-tower.

Red Square
Red Square along with the public gardens and boulevards near by it is one of the most beautiful districts of Chernihiv, its cultural and administrative centre. This part of the city started to form in the turn of the XVII- XIX centuries, when the city lost its importance as a fortress and could extend its terrytory beyond the fortifications borders. In 1897 the Place was paved with clinker and called “Red Square”. The Alley of Heroes streches from Red Square to St.Catherine’s Churc. On both sides of the Alley of Heroes there are monuments to the famous Chernihivites, the heroes of the Civil War, Great Patriotic War, and the heroes of Chernobyl.

Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Cathedral
The cathedral was built in 1036. It is one year older than St.Sofia Cathedral in Kyiv. The building is maintained in a good condition. Now it belongs to Ortodox Church.

St.Catherine’s Church
The church was built in the beginning of the XVII century in Ukrainian baroque-style. The museum of Ukrainian decorative art is located inside the cathedral. Recently the Church was closed for the visitors.

St.Paraskeva (Pyatnytska) Church
The church, built in XII-XII centuries, is a single-domed, cross-vaulted temple with four pillars. It is a real masterpiece of Ukrainian architecture. There exists a legend that in 1239 when Chernihiv was taking over by Mongol-Tatar invaders, the church became the last stronghold of the city’s defenders. The church was rebuilt in 1670’s -1690’s.

Yeletsky Uspensky Nunnery
The monastery was founded by Chernihiv Prince Svyatoslav in XI century. It contains the caves from the ancient Russian period also. The architecture complex was built in Ukrainian baroque style and includes Uspens’kyi Cathedral, Bell Tower (36m), St.Peter and Paul Church with refectory and the cells.


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