Ukraine: Chernihiv

Chernihiv is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, first mentioned in 907, but the settlement existed here probably in the early 8th century. In 10-12th centuries it was the second most important and largest city in the Kievan Rus, until it was sacked in 1239 by the invading Mongol hordes of Batu Khan. The next two centuries, Chernigov spent as part of the Great Dutchy of Lithuania, often suffering from the attacked my the Moscovites from the East and Crimean Tatars from the south. By the 17th century, it became a major town in the autonomous Cossack Hetmanate and eventually part of the Russian Empire. At around 1900, Chernihiv’s population was 1/3 Jewish and it was a major industrial and commercial and trading hub. The historic landmarks here are amazing and include the remnants of three consecutive fortifies towns, slowly expanding over the centuries. Chernihiv is home to a third of all the Eastern European historic landmarks from the period before the Mongol invasion. The oldest ones are on an elevated plateau with steep earthen walls around it – Dytynets. Here, three architectural gems stand close to each other – Savior Transfiguration Cathedral, Boris & Hleb Cathedral, and Chernihiv Collegium. Just across the road is the beautiful golden-domed Catherine’s Church and also nearby is the wide and open Red Square and a small but beautiful Pyatnytska Church. Further out in town is the walled Yeletskiy Monastery dating to 12th century and the grand Trinity Monastery from 11th century.