Ukraine: Berdychiv

Bila Tserkva is the largest town in Kiev Oblast (Kiev itself is a separate administrative unit). The town was founded in 1032 by Yaroslaviv the Wise and the name Bila Tserkva means “White Church” in Russian/Ukrainian. Typically for most Ukrainian towns it went through a thousand years of history from Kievan Rus to Great Duchy of Lithuania to Poland to Russian Empire to USSR. Plenty of architectural attractions here – starting with the magnificent St George church that stands on the castle hill above the river in the highest spot in town – same place where supposedly once an old “white church” stood and could be seen from afar. Winter palace of Branotsko magnates is just nearby, and then there are several parks with monuments, leading to a massive Holy Transfiguration Cathedral that was actually open and spectacular inside.