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March 2003 - 3 Archive
State Architectural and Historical Reserve in Chernihiv

To see the Chernihiv's architectural relics of the past a tourist should go around the town's centre. It is worth doing it - going around Chernihiv on foot, because only then one can feel that its ancient buildings are not only the beauty of the town. They clearly convey its historical structure and visually unite Chernihiv - one of the most outstanding towns of ancient Russian state of Kievan Rus with Chernihiv - the modern large administrative, industrial and cultural centre of the Soviet Ukraine. Unique examples of ancient Ukrainian architecture created here over centuries became landmarks of history.

We will start our excursion from the Chernihiv Val (bank). That is the name of the former centre of the town, where the unique architectural complex had been formed over the centuries.

The first famous Chernihiv's Prince Mstislav Volodymyrovych , the younger brother of Yaroslav the Wise, started to build the Our Savior Cathedral in the thirties of the ll th century.

Monumentality, simplicity, dynamism and picturesqueness of the Cathedral are the main characteristic features of ancient Russian building and at full extent are peculiar to the Our Savior Cathedral - one of the oldest structures which survived to the present time.

The second half of the llth and 12th centuries was the time when an intensive building, development of craftmenship and trade took place. New palaces and temples appeared near the Our Savior Cathedral.

Built in 1123 the Borisoglebsky Cathedral has all the main stylistic features of the Chernihiv's monumental architecture of the 12th century. This is a six-column, crossed-dome one storey temple. It is considered to be one of the first constructions in Chernihiv, where carved stone and brick laying was used.

And now we will leave Ditinets for a while and by Seryozhnikov street go to see the Pyatnitskaya Church. We are now on the territory of the ancient Chernihiv handicraft place, near the former "Torg" (Haggle). Built by the end of the 12th and early 13th centuries here, in the place where the poor resided and at their expense, the Pyatnitskaya Church by its architecture differs greatly from other ancient Russian worshiped structures in Chernihiv. General festive outlook of the structure makes it close and harmonic with the popular architecture.

From 1239 the history of Chernihiv had a hard period which lasted for several centuries. The Mongol and Tartar hordes, the rule of Lithuanian feudal lords, the attacks of the Crimean Tartars... But Chernigov didn't lose connections with Russian lands which were united in a single state with its centre in Moscow. Its inhabitants ardently welcomed the decision of the Pereyaslav Rada(Council) on the Ukraine's reunification with Russia.

From 1654 the history of the left-bank Ukrainian towns is closely connected with the history of the whole Russian State. The cultures of the two fraternal people mutually enrich each other. Chernihiv's monuments of architecture tell a lot about this state and cultural unity.

An extensive construction work was started here right after the war of liberation. The first housing and civilian buildings appeared on the territory of the fortified centre. It's a pity, that such structures built in the late 17th century survived so little. That's why the most precious structure built in 1690 is the house of Jakiv Lizogub. This is one of the first monuments of civilian architecture. In treatment of the facades one can see the features of a new style - the Ukrainian baroque.

In 1700 a secondary educational establishment-Collegium was formed. Its building, finally finished in 1702, is an outstanding pattern of the Ukrainian architecture of the 17th-18th centuries.

At the entrance to the Chernihiv gates from Kiev there is a high, well-proportioned silhouet of the former St. Kathe-rine's Church. Built near the territory of the Val (bank), it is organically united with the architectural complex of ancient centre of the town.

From the Val we'll go down Belinsky street to the 36 meters long belfry of the Yeletsk monastery.

In the middle or in the second half of the 12th century the Assumption Cathedral was built. A quest for artistic competition inspired the unknown builders: the impression of calm, reserved solemnity of the structure is made by the composition of simple architectural masses, split only by flat pilasters with semi-columns in the southern and northern facades and by twice projected pilasters in the western facade.

Now we have to go to the foot of the Boldin hills. Here an ancient cave monastery is situated. According to the chronicles it was founded in 1069 by monk Anthony. Step by step the caves made by Anthony and his followers were widened and transformed into the compound multy-tiered complex. There are churches, chapels and cells. The underground Church of St.Feodosy is one of the largest structures of this kind on the territory of Ukraine. It is 16 meters long, from 4,3 to 5,6 meters wide and 8,4 meters high. The church is decorated with the semi-circular recesses, pilasters with capitals and profiled cornice. The church has galleries of its own. A lot of interesting things awaits you in another underground structures.

Near the entrance to the caves there is a miniature (9,5 by 7,5 meters in the plan) Illyin's church. Investigators consider that it was probably built in the 12th century. This is the only stone one-domed pillarless temple on the Dnieper which has been reserved up till now almost original with separate rebuilding in 1649 when the church became a three-domed one.

The creation of architectural ensemble of the Trinity Monastery is believed to date from the 17th-18th centuries. Here are a refectory with the Vvedensky Church (1677-1679), a five-tiered bellfry 58 meters high (1774-1778), the building of consistory (1750); premises for the printing house and cells were built.

In 1679 the architect J. Baptist started to build the Trinity Cathedral in the centre of the territory. It took over ten years to build it and the adorning lasted up to 1695.

The complex of the former Trinity Monastery's structures is one of the best architectural ensembles in the Ukraine.

...Centuries passed and Temples built to worship the God confirm the strength and greatness of people's genius. They remind us of the immortalized memory of the builders who in remote past glorified the talent and diligence of the people. The monuments of the Chernihiv State Museum-Reserve of Architecture and History tell us about it.

in English


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