Poltava’s landscape is rather inimitable. The city sprawls on three picturesque hill over the Vorskla river, with its unique historical center. A visit to the city’s historical part begins on the Institute Hill, near the monument to Kelin, the commander of Poltava garrison. This part of Poltava was a part of the middle 17th century fortress. Its advantage over the Soborna Hill was that ground water was near the surface. With time, the area was built over with residential houses.
St. Nicholas Church
Two churches were built here as well: St. Nicholas and next to it, St. George’s Church, the oldest in Poltava.
A monument to Poltava’s valorous defenders and colonel Kelin
The monument to the defenders of Poltava and colonel Kelin was built in 1909 on the place where the Mazur defense tower was located in the 18th century. The remains of the tower were demolished in 1817. Kelin commanded the city’s defenses during the Swedish siege of 1709. The monument was designed by the sculptor Ober and the architect Bilderling, who headed the committee to commemorate bicentennial of the Poltava Battle.
The house of V.V.Kapnist
There are two old houses in the square in front of the monument: “the residence of Poltava fire brigade captain and firefighting master”, which later became the first local police station, and the legendary residence, which is said to have belonged to Kapnist, a poet, a translator and a playwright. Both are design in the classical architectural style.
It is impossible to imagine Poltava without the city park, which was first founded under auspices the first Poltava Governor-General, Kurakin, around 1803. The city garden also became the favorite legacy of two other governors: Lobanov-Rostovsky and Repnin. In the middle 19th century a two story wooden theater was built here for travelling troupes, for at that time Poltava did not have her own troupe.
A white classical building is located next to the park
This is the former school of gardening, which educated skilled gardeners for the rich residences. The school even invited foreign specialists, knowledgeable in the latest landscape design methods. The school was closed in 1841, and the buildings were given to the Poltava Noble Young Lady Institute, created in 1818 on the initiative of Poltava’s Governor-General wife, Varvara Repnina.
The Noble Young Lady Institute – Now the Technical University
It was located on the ground partially sold, partially gifted to the city by prince Kochubey. The construction of the buildings under the project of the architect Staubert was complete around 1830. Originally the institute was funded by donations from the nobility, but later became imperial, funded by the Tsar. The institute educated 200 girls, education lasted 7 years, and the graduates were eligible to teach in primary schools or to become governesses in rich families. The students had many servants and a strict regimen of studying and rest. Some famous Poltavites were among the school’s teachers: the writer Steblin-Kaminski, the musician Edlichka, the painter Volkov. The institute was often visited by the Emperor’s family, as well as the poet Zhukovsky. The school council included Prince Repnin and the famous poet Gulak-Artemovski.
The Faith, Hope, Love and Their Mother Sophia Cathedral
The Pershotravnevy prospect is adorned with The Faith, Hope, Love and their Mother Sophia Cathedral, built in 2002 under the project of architect Chernoshovkov. Among the Cathedral’s hallows are the holy relics of the Reverend Joasaph of Bilhorod, a descendant the Horlenky, a Poltava Cossack family.
Princes Trubetskaya Orphan Asylum – now the Augustine Restaurant
The house of the in the Empire style, Princes Trubetskaya Orphan Asylum, was built on the former Velyka Petrovska street in the middle of the 19th century. Walking down this street we see tenement buildings built in the 1910s, the beautiful Landbank building of 1900, which combines Modern and Classicism styles.
County Council building – the Krychevskiy Local History Museum
Crossing the Heavenly Hundred Street, we approach the historical center of Poltava. Here we see the former County Council (now the Krychevskiy Local History Museum), which in the 18th century was the residence of burgomaster Rudenko and the calligraphy school.
The Shevchenko Monument and Petrovskiy Park
In front of the Council building is the monument to Taras Shevchenko, opened on 12 March 1926, designed by architect Kavarelidze. Behind the monument is the Petrovskiy park, founded in 1909 by the botanist Orlovskiy
Spassky (Savior) Church.
Passing to the Sobornosti Street from the Constitution Square, we enter the territory of the old fortress. The only structure that survived since the early 18th century is the Spasska Church of 1706, which contains some unique old Ukrainian icons. Opposite the Spasska Church, the Church of Resurrection was built in the end of the 18th century, funded by burgomaster Rudenko in memory of his father, who died in the Poltava Battle. The church has since been replaced by the Poltava Lysenko Musical College. Some old residences remain in this part of the Sobornosti Street, such as General Yegorov’s wife residence, the residences of Neiandt and the ophthalmologist Gleiser. Each of these houses has a fascinating history.
The Soborny Square
The Holy Assumption Cathedral, Ivan Kotlyarevskiy Redidence Museum, the White Rotunda. The Soborny Square is a site of quite a few historical landmarks of national importance: the Holy Assumption Catherdal, Ivan Kotlyarevskiy Redidence Museum, the White Rotunda, the monument to Hetman Mazepa and the Sacramental Stone, which is the monument to the first written mention of Poltava in the Ipatievska Chronicle in 1173. In the 17th and 19th centuries, any town or village began with building a church. This was the absolute center of the settlement. Poltava is no exception. Archeology research revealed that the settlement on this hill existed since before Christ. Material remains of many cultures were found here. The Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral has been known since the 17th century. At one time, the Liturgy here was celebrated by Ioan Velychkovski, a distinguished Ukrainian baroque poet. His grandson, Paisiy Velychkovskiy, the founder of monasticism in Ukraine, was also born in Poltava. The church was attended by the Saint John of Shanghai (Mykhailo Maksimovych, a former cadet of the Poltava Petrovski Cadet Corps).
The memorial residence of Ivan Kotlyarevskiy, the founder of the new Ukrainian literature
Right next to the Cathedeal, surrounded with an orchard of cherry and apple trees, is the memorial residence of Ivan Kotlyarevskiy, the founder of the new Ukrainian literature. Here he was born in 1769, here he was raised and wrote all of his works: the Eneid, Natalka-Poltavka and The Muscovite Magician. His personal books, paintings and manuscripts are stored here. The writer was visited here by Mykola Gogol and Mykhailo Schepkin, Ismail Sreznevskiy and Mykhailo Pohodyn, Tymko Padurra and Pavlo Svinyin. This location was visited by Taras Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka, Mykhailo Kotsubinskiy, Vasyl Stefanyk, Mykhailo Starytskiy, Maria Zankovetska, Volodymyr Samiylenko, Mykola Lysenko, Marko Kropyvnytskiy and many other prominent Ukrainians. Ivan Kotlyarevsky loved the part of Poltava where he was born and raised, where he learns the beauty of the Ukrainian word and song. It is from the Soborny Square that he admired the surrounding views. From the beauty of the world around him he took the poetry in Natalka Poltavka, the heroes of his Eneid are from around here, it was here that he met the guileless Chuprun, the mischievous Tetyana, the cunning Muscovite and the oddball Fyntyk. The Soborny Square is the historical heart of Poltava, which is located in the heart of Ukraine. It is here that the living heart of the great Ukrainian poet Ivan Kotlyarevskiy is still beating.