Ukraine Travel Guide

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Today the UNESCO World Heritage List includes 7 historical objects located on theterritoryofUkrainedue to the virtue of their specific cultural, historical or environmental significance. Those are St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Cave Monastery – Lavra in Kyiv, Historical Center of Lviv in Lviv, Struve Geodetic Arc,  Primeval Forests of the Carpathian region, The Residence of Metropolitans from Bukovina in Chernivtsi, The ancient city of Tauric Chersonesos and its choir, Wooden churches of the Carpathian region.

1. St.Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

St. Sophia Cathedral was built in XI century by order of Yaroslav the Wise and is one of the main Christian sanctities in theEastern Europe. St. Sophia Cathedral is first of all famous for its mosaics (600 sq. m) and frescoes (1260 sq.m) of the 11thc. that have been preserved till our days The masterpiece of the Ukrainian art is the refurbished Royal Gates (XVIII c.). Inside the bell tower of the Cathedral which is76 meter in height, there is the largest bell in Ukraine with the weight of 13 tons. The symbol of the temple is a huge mosaic of the Virgin Oranta - the patron ofKiev, a symbol of the wisdom of God.

Kyiv CaveMonastery - Lavra is a spiritual shrine for the world Orthodox Christianity. At theterritoryofLavra, there are more than forty spiritual-architectural monuments, the most famous of which areTrinity Gate Church, Refectory Church, Assumption Cathedral. EverytempleofKyiv-Pechersk Lavrahas its own history and its own unique image, formed under the influence of different epochs and styles inherent in them. In the Near and Far Caves of the Monastery, there are incorruptible relics of the saints of God. TheBig  BellTower- the dominant altitude ofLavra, had for over one and a half centuries remained the tallest building in Ukraine.The architectural ensemble of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra had been formed during almost nine centuries and reflects the development of culture and spirituality of the Slavs.

2. Historical center of Lviv
Lviv is justly called an open-air museum due to a large amount of historical and architectural monuments located here with up to 2500 pieces. The ensemble of the historical center of Lviv belongs to the UNESCO World and combines the Old Rus' and medieval parts of the city, as well as the territory of St. George (Yura) Cathedral located on the Svyatoyursky Hill (120 ha). Among most famous and popular tourist sights in Lviv are the architectural ensemble of the Market Square (XV-XIX c.), Assumption Church (XVI-XVII c.), Armenian Cathedral (XIV-XVIII c.), Dominican Church (XVIII c.), the Theater of Opera and Ballet named after Solomia Krushelnytska (XIX c.) and many others.

3. Struve Geodetic Arc Points

Struve’s Geodetic Arc, named after its creator, Russian astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, covers 10 countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. The chain of 258 adjacent triangles and 265 main points located throughout the 2820 km is the most massive in the history and the most accurate measurement of the segment of the meridian of the Earth, carried out in 1816-1851; and most ambitious example of the international collaboration between scientists and leaders of the countries. Following the order of the Emperor Alexander II and the King of Norway and Sweden Carl XV, there was built the monuments at the endpoints of the Struve arch in Old Nekrasovka (Odessa region) in Ukraine and in Fuglenese in Norway. In 2003 the Scientific-Research Institute of Building Constructions has found and restored those points of Struve Arch in Ukraine. Now the memorial signs have been installed in the villages of Gvardeiskoie, Katerinovka, and Baranovka in Khmelnitsky region.

4. Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian region

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian region is the reserved area on the territory of two countriesSlovakiaandUkraine. It is a chain of ten separate reserves located along the line 185 kilometers long stretching from the Rakhiv mountains and Chernogorskiy array in Ukraine, passing to the west in Polonsky range, up to the mountains Bukowski Vrhi, and Vigorlat in Slovakia. Even today, these beech forests are difficult to reach, one needs to go through the remote trails, thus people rarely visit them. These forests are evidence of the processes of reconstruction and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities, which began after the end of the last glacial period, and are still continuing today.

5. The Residence of Bukovinian Metropolitans

The Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans which now houses the central Building of the Chernivtsi NationalUniversity is the architectural pearl of Chernivtsi and the top work of famous Czech architect and scientist Joseph Hlávka. The construction work began in 1864 and lasted for 18 years. The ensemble consists of three monumental buildings: the main building, the seminary, along with the Church of Three Saints and the presbytery. The combination ofByzantine and Romanesque architectural styles are indicative for the building complex with the carved towers, roofs covered with colored tiles, a unique marble hall, and wooden enrichment. Almost everything in the residence has been preserved in the original form. Marble Hall, decorated with various species of red, pink and brown tones of marble, had been considered as one of the most beautiful in Europe. The walls of the Red Hall are decorated with Chinese red silk and Venetian mirrors, one steps on the old flooring, sparkling with the tones of oak, lime, and red beech, and above one’s head there is a carved ceiling with the paintings resembling painted Easter eggs. This project won second prize at the World Architecture Exhibition in Paris in1860.

6. The ancient city of Tauric Chersonesos and its choir

Chersonese Taurian is a city founded by the ancient Greeks on the Heraklion peninsula on the south-western coast of the Crimea in 422-421 BC. as an ancient Greek colony. For two millennia Chersonese was a major political, economic and cultural center of the Northern Black Sea Coast, where it was the only Dorian colony. Chersonese was a trading city, which disappeared unable to withstand competition with the Genoese. Now it is a historical and archaeological reserve.

7. Wooden churches of the Carpathian region

In 2013, UNESCO included 16 unique wooden churches in the 16th-19th centuries on the World Heritage List. Half of them are located on the territory of Poland, the rest - in Ukraine. In each of these buildings, the elements of Orthodox architecture are clearly traced. Differences are only in local traditions, which make themselves felt in every historical and cultural region. Types of architecture are represented: Gutsulsky, Galitsky, Boykovsky and Lemkovsky.