You have probably heard about Red Square in Moscow, but it is not the only city in the former Soviet countries that can boast such a large and picturesque centre. Chernihiv has its own Red Square, which has nothing to do with the red colour. It is called so because the word ‘red’ (krasnyi in Russian) also means ‘beautiful’. From the days of Kievan Rus and until the twentieth century, it served as the city’s main trade centre with numerous stalls and shops. Today, it is a must-see sight because of its many cultural and administrative institutions.
The Trinity Monastery in Chernihiv is often compared to the Kiev Pechersk Lavra primarily, because it was also founded by Anthony of Kiev around 1069. Moreover, it is also located in the Boldyna Hora park, has upper and lower sections, boasts three temples (Saint Elijah Church, Trinity Cathedral and Vvedensky convent), has a splendid bell tower and caves, and it is where Saint Anthony used to pray. Thus, the Trinity Monastery can be thought of as the smaller version of Kiev’s main church complex.
Tolstoho Street, 92, Chernihiv, Ukraine, +380462248671
The Boldyna Hora is considered the highest point of Chernihiv, located at the height of 35 meters (115 feet) on the Desna Riverbank. In ancient times (ninth-eleventh centuries), there was a barrow necropolis in this space, the remains of which have survived to this day. Thus, a tradition to bury the prominent people of Chernihiv on the Boldyna Hora became a part of the culture. Currently, you’ll find the graves of the great Ukrainian author Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky and the poet Leonid Hlibov. You’ll also find a monument to an unknown Soviet soldier, who died during the fierce battles of the Second World War.
The history of the Saint Anthony caves started in the second half of the nineteenth century when Anthony of Kiev came to Boldyna Hora. The place had unique power, so he dug out a cave for solitude and prayers. Chernihiv and Kiev were the largest centres of the Kievan Rus, and they faced constant confrontation. To keep up with Kiev’s pace, the first church of the contemporary Trinity Monastery complex appeared a century later. The caves share a striking similarity. The total length of the Chernihiv underground premises is about 350 meters (1148 feet), and you can explore four levels of passages and see footage from special cameras focused on relics of monks.
In the heart of Chernihiv, there’s the Plast Art Gallery that unites Ukrainian artists, designers, art historians and journalists. Its goals are the development of art and the art market in Ukraine, dissemination of achievements of culture, and displaying art from the Chernihiv region within the country and abroad. Thus, if you’re in search of Ukrainian cultural masterpieces, don’t miss a chance to get acquainted with local contemporary art at the Plast Art Gallery.
Goncha Street, Chernihiv, Ukraine, +380462610328
If you have a couple of days to spend in Chernihiv, plan a getaway to the Blue Lakes. The crystal waters overflow with azure blue shades resembling the sea, but it is only 20 meters (66 feet) deep. The shore has a well-equipped beach area, campgrounds for green tourism, cottages and rooms for rent. The Blue Lakes are perfect for both one-day trips and longer family holidays, as everyone will be engaged here. Tourists come here not only in summer, but also in winter for the area’s hunting grounds, winter fishing and active recreation.
The most ancient area of Chernihiv is Dytynets. It is a hill on the bank of the Desna River, where a defense complex is situated. Walking along the alleys of the park, you can feel the spirit of ancient times, marvel at the panorama of the Boldyna Hora, see the numerous churches and cathedrals, and observe the whole city. At the viewing point, there are 12 cast-iron bastion cannons from the seventeenth century, which are the calling card of the city. By the way, Dytynets is a perfect spot to have a lunch in one of the traditional cuisine restaurants.
The building of the Chernihiv Railroad Station brightly stands out from the overall cityscape. The red façade combines elements of Soviet Classicism and Baroque, while the central hall is decorated with thematic bas-reliefs. The modern building of the railway station was built in the post-war period, namely in 1948-1950, as the first one was destroyed during the war. Of course, it is also the main rail junction that services both local and international arrivals and departures.
Peremohy Avenue, 1, Chernihiv, Ukraine, +380462244376
The residence of Kirill Razumovsky is located in one of the most famous Cossack states, Baturin. It includes a large park and a palace facing the main façade towards the river. The construction of the palace started in 1752 and lasted until January 1803 (when Kirill Razumovsky died). After that, the whole complex endured in a collapsed state, but in the 1990s, it became a part of the National Historical and Cultural Reserve ‘Hetman’s Capital’. Its 55 rooms with magnificent interiors were preserved in full and decorated with many art pieces from the Lviv Art Gallery.
Naberezhna Street, 1, Baturin, Chernihivska Oblast, Ukraine, +380463548651