Chernihiv  1 Space

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The muse to many a famous writer and poet - think Gorky, Shevchenko, Leo Tolstoy and Pushkin - you may also be penning a poem or two when you visit Chernihiv.

The capital of the Chernihiv Region, it is Ukraine's most northerly city. One of the oldest cities, it sits on the Desna River and historical records show that it was first mentioned in 907. Invaded by Mongols during 1239 it became part of Lithuania in the 14th Century. Like "pass the parcel" it then became Russian in the 16th Century and was under Polish rule in the 17th Century. Once frequented by 11th Century royalty, the glory days have left a small cluster of churches in the city's historical heart that is today a UNESCO listed site. Being a foreigner here, means you will definitely get quite a few looks from the locals.

More a one-day field trip down history's memory lane, rather than a destination within itself, Chernihiv is notable for being a heavyweight during the Kyivan Russian period. It is known for its ancient and sacred Christian temples that include the 11th Century Spaskyy Cathedral and the Church of the Assumption in the Yelets Monastery. Chernihiv is more a city museum, rather than "just" a city. This sacred site of Orthodoxy has many parks to meander about, miracle making icons of Our Lady and relics of saints. Top of the list is to make sure you visit the oldest and most religious site in the city, St Anthony's caves, a cave temple and monastery founded in 1069 by St Anthony. It is an amazing underground cave system of magic and whispering spirits in cells, chapels and burial chambers for medieval monks. The deeper you go, the chill and the darkness permeates the reverent silence. There is limited signs in English, so to make the most of it, take a local guide with you.

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