At the northern borders of Ukraine, in the center of the 2nd biggest region of the country, lies Chernihiv, a tourist underdog and an extremely interesting destination. The ancient city of churches, this middle-sized town is living its tourist renaissance right now. There are dozens of festivals organized, the city center oozes with energy and the numerous sights are finally ready to welcome not only Ukrainian but foreign visitors too.
I went there a few days ago, for the first time in ten years, and I was impressed by the extensive offer this city has and all the potential it might have in the future. If you’re looking for a perfect weekend trip from Kyiv, Chernihiv is the best and most interesting pick that can give you culture, history, gastronomy and fun at the same time.
Let me show you what to do in Chernihiv with these 5 must-see sights.
1. Chernihiv Ramparts (Val)
Dating back to the 7th century, Chernihiv Ramparts or Dytynets (meaning the fortress-like settlement of the Kievan Rus rulers) is a historic complex to behold. Over the span of a mere kilometer, you have a set of medieval churches, Baroque schools, countless statues all situated under the shade of the beautiful park. You can spend a whole day here just going from one church to another and visiting the museums to discover the rich history of this place.
- Cathedral of Borys and Hlib – a compact magnificent medieval church
- Chernihiv Collegium – one of the oldest colleges in Ukraine now housing an amazing museum of the Old Chernihiv
- Panorama of the cannons and Catherine’s Church – possibly the most well-known vista of Chernihiv and truly a romantic sight
2. St. Anthony’s Caves
There were times when monks didn’t live in the monasteries, they found peace underground digging elaborate labyrinths and setting up churches under the earth’s surface. At 350 meters of length and 4 levels, St. Anthony’s Caves is a unique place to visit in Chernihiv that may well be something you can’t experience anywhere else in the world.
Painted white corridors and halls of the Baroque part, darkness and bones of dead monks hiding in the vaults of the medieval part form a mystical and adventurous tourist attraction that you have to visit while in Chernihiv.
3. Trinity Cathedral
To sense the grandeur of the Baroque architecture head to the splendid Trinity Cathedral. Awe-inspiring outside and inside, this building is one of the most beautiful churches in Ukraine. Be sure to climb to the top of the Bell Tower to enjoy the breathtaking view of the cathedral and the city.
4. Pyatnytska Church
Situated right in the heart of the city, charming with the elegant medieval facade and tiny looks, Pyatnytska Church is one of the most unique sights of the city. Symbol of the resurrection of the town after the horrors of the WW2 that almost completely destroyed Chernihiv, Pyatnytska Church was thoroughly restored to its former medieval glory by talented Soviet architect Pyotr Baranovsky.
Today you can see two types of bricks at the foundation of the church, ones that date back to the medieval times and ones that were used at the reconstruction after the war. This combination sends a powerful message of restoration.
5. Transfiguration Cathedral
Kyiv has the UNESCO-protected St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Chernihiv’s response is the magnificent Transfiguration Cathedral. With an architecture combining the Byzantine, Romanesque and Baroque influences, this church is the oldest building in the city and one of the oldest in Ukraine.
Also, it is one of the oldest brick churches in Eastern Europe. Come inside to marvel at wonderful medieval frescoes and superb interior.
This article is done in cooperation with Chernihiv Tourist Information Center.
Visit their website for more information about the sights, events and other things to do in Chernihiv.
Be sure to visit the Information Center while you’re in the city for the info, free maps and brochures about Chernihiv.
You can find them at 9, Shevchenka St. next to the Pyatnytska Church