History of Poltava Ukraine
Located between Kharkiv and Kyiv in Ukraine, Poltava is best known as the site of a 1709 battle between a Cossack coalitions, led by Mazepa, and the Swedes (Charles XII) against the Russian army of Czar Peter I. The later Russian victory in battle established Russia's prominent place in Europe and as a result Ukraine's decline.
The battlefield and its monuments are the major draw. Places to see in the town include the October Park, the gun-barrel-shaped Column of Glory and the Spassky Church, which is actually an outer shell protecting an earlier, wooden church inside.
It's still unknown when the city was exactly founded. Within the city limits the archaeologists unearthed a Paleolithic dwelling as well as the Scythian remains. The present name of the city is traditionally connected to the settlement Ltava which is mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle.
The city belonged to Lithuania from the 14th century. Polish administration took over in 1569. In the 16th - 17th centuries it belonged to Pereyaslav Kniazhestvo (Principality). In 1648 Poltava was captured by the Polish magnate (of Ruthenian descent) Jeremi Wisniowiecki (1612-1651). Poltava was the base of a distinguished Polk (Regiment) of the Ukrainian Cossacks. In 1667 Poltava became a part of the Russian Empire.
Poltava Regional Museum
This is Poltava’s (and one of Ukraine’s) largest museums telling the story of Poltava going back through the ages with exhibits covering culture, costumes, the region’s famous embroidery and ceramics, wildlife, nature, agriculture, geography and industry. You will also find impressive dioramas. The museum is housed in the old city council building and is built in the Ukrainian Modern style. The façade features medallions with the crests of the various districts of the Poltava Oblast (region).
Another feature of the building is the use of decorative ceramic columns, ceramic tiles as well as painted floral pattern. There are stunning examples of the original Majolica tiles on the side of the building which were not damaged during the Great Patriotic War (World War II). The inside of the museum is equally ornate. The original building was built in 1902-1908. It was restored in 1964. The architect is Vasyliy Krichevsky.
Assumption Cathedral Poltava
At Poltava's historical center - on the Ivanova Gora, where town's key historical and architectural sites are gathered - the magnificent building of the Holly Assumption Cathedral is particularly notable. Today it is one of the main Orthodox temples in the region.
In the late 18th century, the Cathedral was built on place of wooden church that stood on the territory of Poltava's fortress and became the first stone building in town. Striking with its beauty and splendor, it soon became Poltava's main spiritual center, where almost all residents gathered during holidays. The Holly Assumption Cathedral amazed with its unusual forms: baroque traits added fanciness and airiness to it, and classical architecture's elements made it look strict and even stern.
However, just ten years after its opening, the temple was rebuilt. It acquired two more domes and became five-domed. An cast-iron floor replaced the former brick floor, a choir moved to the second floor. And in this appearance the Assumption Cathedral met Russian Empress Catherine the Great in 1787.
In the early 19th century, a luxurious 4-layer bell tower emerged near the temple. Now it is the architectural and historical monument of national importance. As the Assumption Cathedral itself, the bell tower peculiarly combined bright late baroque and classicism traits. The belfry is also notable for the fact that here used to hang the huge Kizi-Kermen Bell, casted from Turkish trophy cannons in the 18th century. It's now kept in the Poltava's Museum of History.
Over time the Assumption Cathedral became more and more popular and could hardly accommodate all comers. Therefore, in the late 19th century it was decided to expand it. As a result of another reconstruction the temple became more spacious and could accommodate up to 10 thousand church members at once.
In the year 1934 - with establishment of Soviet Power in Ukraine - the Holly Assumption Cathedral was blown up and totally razed. Only the bell tower was saved by a miracle and, after the World War II, was used as placement of different workshops for a long time. In the late 20th century, the belfry was reconstructed and brought back to its original look. At the same time, town's museum and several artistic exhibitions were placed on its premises.
With Ukraine acquiring independence, the bell tower passed to the Orthodox Church, and in 2005, the Holly Assumption Cathedral was built near it anew. Built in Ukrainian baroque style, the new temple is not the exact copy of its predecessor, but it strikes with elegant, graceful and splendid forms, the same as the Cathedral of the 18th century used to do.