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Seven wonders of Ukraine
Earlier this year, Mykola Tomenko, a member of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc of Parties and a former MP, launched an ambitious project of finding out which natural and man-made landmarks in this country could be classified as Seven Wonders of Ukraine.
The project has gained a wide popular and political support. Many bids for “wonders” were submitted, and after a thorough analysis the final decision has been reached. WU presents these Seven Wonders of Ukraine in photographs and brief descriptions.
National Historical and Architectural Reserve Kam’yanets
According to the medieval chronicles, the fortress in Kam’yanets-Podilsky was built in the second half of the 14th century by the Lithuanian prince Koryatovych.
Kam’yanets-Podilsky is a town that has preserved the spirit of the Middle Ages. Its impressive fortress is a landmark in the history of construction of fortified places and strongholds. The town’s scenic beauty is enhanced by the River Smotrych.
Pechersk Lavra Monastery in Kyiv
The monastery was founded in the eleventh century by monks Antoniy and Feodosiy who established their cells in the caves (in Ukrainian: pechery — hence the name Pechersk). The monastery soon grew to be a major monastic community with churches, refectories, buildings of monk cells occupying a large territory. Lavra is a title which was awarded only to very large and important monasteries. The Pechersk Lavra Monastery in Kyiv was a bulwark of Christianity and an important cultural center.
National Park Sofiyivka
The beautifully landscaped Park Sofiyivka in the city of Uman was laid out in 1796 by the Polish noble Stanislaw Potocki and named after his wife, Sofiya, of Greek descent, to whom he eventually gave the park as a present. Sofiya was known for her exceptional beauty, and the park turned out to be no less beautiful. Sofiya herself was said to take part in designing some sections of the park — it was she who introduced ancient Greek and Roman mythological motifs. At present, the park occupies a territory of almost 155 hectares (one hectare equals 2.5 acres).
Holy Sophia of Kyiv
The Cathedral of Holy Sophia (Sophia — God’s Wisdom) was built in the first half of the eleventh century when Kyiv and its lands were ruled by Grand Duke Yugoslav the Wise, the son of Volodymyr the Great who had brought Christianity to Kyivan Rus-Ukraine. The magnificence of the new church outshone any other church in Kyivan Rus and in many other Christian countries of Europe. Its only rival in architectural magnificence was Holy Sophia in Constantinople. The mosaics and frescoes make the interior of the church a visual feast.
Chersonesus in the Crimea
The city of Chersonesus is located three miles west of modern Sevastopol, Ukraine. The city, of which now we can see only imposing ruins, was founded by Greeks in the 6th century BC. Prosperous from the 4th century BC, it maintained a free constitution of the Greek type and fought for its continued independence against the Scythians of southern Ukraine, against the native Tauri of the southern Crimea, and against the kings of Bosporus in the west. It traded with Athens and other ancient Greek cities. In the Christian era, it was an important center of Christianity and thus influenced the Kyivan Grand Duke Volodymyr’s decision to adopt Christianity. Uninhabited since the 14th century, the site of the city contains the remains of the ancient buildings and temples and of churches of Byzantine times.
National Reserve Khortytsya
Khortytsya is an island, the biggest one on the Dnipro River — its length is 12.5 kilometers and width is 2.5 kilometers. It qualifies for “a wonder” both as a natural and historic landmark. Human settlements on the island date from at least 30,000 years BC. There are 63 archeological and historical landmarks on the island protected by the state.
Khortytsya is a major tourist attraction, its main attractive feature being its close connection with the Zaporizka Sich Cossacks of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. At present, a mock-up of a Cossack center, Zaporizka Sich, is under construction.
Historical and Architectural Reserve Khotynska Fortetsya (Khotyn Fortress)
In the Middle Ages, Khotyn was a trade hub, advantageously situated at the crossroads of trade routes from east to west and from north to south. It is believed to have been founded in the eleventh century.
In October 1621, during the War of Independence in Ukraine, the Cossack troops of Petro Sahaydachny inflicted a crushing defeat on the Turkish army, thus preventing the Ottoman Empire from invading western Europe as it was intent on doing. It changed the course of history.