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 Russian victory later 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, 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's premises is 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, the 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.
Ivanova Gora Poltova
The Ivanova Gora (literally: Ivan’s Mount) is almost a sacral place for Poltava locals. It's the city’s historical core, where the whole complex of architectural and historical attractions, each having a status of Poltava’s highlight, are. This place is notable for being an excellent observation area that opens wonderful views of the city downtown and its most token structures.
The Ivanova Gora is a high picturesque hill that towers above the Vorskla River. Historians believe that it is there that the citadel of the annalistic town Ltava, the predecessor of modern Poltava, stood in the 12th century. Later, the earthen fortress, which held back the Swedish troops’ assault for three months during the Northern War, was built on the hill. One of its fifteen wooden towers, the Podolskaya Tower, was recently restored and added to Ivanova Gora’s list of attractions.
But the most recognizable structure, decorating the top of the hill, is the elegant White Belvedere that is one of Poltava’s many vivid symbols. It was installed in 1909, timed to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava, which radically changed city’s destiny. The belvedere was shaped as a horseshoe for a reason: according to the legend, it is here that a local blacksmith skillfully shod Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s horse, who lost a shoe during the Battle of Poltava.
The belvedere was pulled down during the World War II: the fascist invaders arranged an artillery observation post there. In 1954, a Rotunda of Peoples' Friendship with eight columns was opened on its place. Locals still call it the White Belvedere out of habit. Inimitable views of the river and the majestic Exaltation of the Cross Monastery, Poltava’s oldest building, open from the place where it is installed. Rotunda is especially beautiful at night, when it glitters with thousands of different shades thanks to hundreds of LED lamps.
Another Ivanova Gora’s token monument and modern Poltava’s symbol, the monument to Galushka, is installed near the White Belvedere. It is a deep plate with twelve Galushkas (dumplings) and a large spoon, which stands on a pedestal shaped as a wooden tabletop. The monument was opened on the birthday of the most famous native of Poltava region, the eminent writer Nikolai Gogol, who immortalized this cult Ukrainian dish in his works. Every summer, an original Holiday of Poltava’s Galushka takes place near the monument.
Another Ivanova Gora’s adornment is the luxurious building of the Assumption Cathedral that stands on its very top. And right behind it, one of Poltava’s most original and often visited attractions is situated: the Museum-Mansion of the classical Ukrainian writer Ivan Kotliarevsky. It's in his honor that the mount was called.