Monastery Island in Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) is a legendary and mysterious place, located in the very heart of the city near the right bank of the picturesque Dnipro River. This romantic island with rich history and many modern amusements attracts many dwellers and guests of the city who like to spend their free time close to nature, enjoying fresh air and beautiful views. Let`s learn some historical facts about Monastery Island in Ukraine and find out what it has to offer nowadays.
The name “Monastery” (also “Monastic” or “Monastyrsky” in Ukrainian) came from a Byzantine monastery, which supposedly was located on the island in the XI century. There are no documented proofs about that – only bits and pieces from records written by travelers of that time. These records even say that in the XI century the famous princess Olga stayed in this monastery on her way to Constantinople. Nowadays, a memorial cross is installed on the island in the honor of Byzantine monks.
However, the history of Monastic Island in Dnipro dates back to the VII century before Christ. In that time, the island was considered as a sacred place of Scythian tribes, and therefore was regularly visited by Scythian kings. The Scythians had owned the island for approximately 1 000 years until the Migration Period, when they lost their leading positions in Eastern Europe and left their homelands to merge with other tribes.
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The first official mentioning of the legendary island was found in “Life of the Venerable Theodosius of the Kyiv Caves”, written by Saint Nestor the Chronicle in the beginning of the XII century. The records of Nestor state that Monastery Island was the first North point reached by Andrew the Apostle, one of Christ`s disciples, during his Christian mission. It is said that in the I century Andrew visited the island, which was still under the power of Scythians, and put a Christian cross on the place of Scythian sanctuary.
In 1240, after Mongols and Tatars had gained victory over Rus army, they ruined many Christian holy places. The monks, who had been trying to protect the monastery on Monastic Island, were killed by the invaders, and the building of monastery was demolished. After that, the army of Khan had taken its way to Kyiv, and the monastery was forgotten for many years.
Only after 400 years, when Polish fortress was constructed in Kodaky village in 1635, the vicinity of Monastery Island attracted new inhabitants. The dwellers of newly-founded villages on the right bank of Dnipro began to destroy landscape areas and forests on the island. On December 8, 1765, Lazar Globa, a Cossack, was instructed to supervise Monastery Island in order to prevent destruction of natural resources.
In the beginning of the XIX century, a horticultural school was founded in Ekaterinoslav (old name of modern Dnipro), and all parks of the city became the property of newly opened school. However, in 20 years the island was transferred to private ownership. Since then, the island has changed many names and owners. It was called Bogomolovsky (“Prayerful”) Island until the middle of the XX century.
In the beginning of the ХХ century, the island became a support for railway bridge and a base for a yacht club. In 1956, it was decided to attach the island to Taras Shevchenko Park. To do so, a bridge was constructed over the strait of Dnipro River. The island received a new name (“Komsomolsky”) and turned into a place of rest.
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The main modern architectural landmark on Monastery Island in Dnipro is St. Nicholas`s Church, constructed in 1999. This beautiful building, made of white stone and gold, can be observed from any part of the city. Near the bridge, visitors of the island can see unusual “Bench of Loving Couples” and sculpture called “Tree of Happiness”. These are the popular places for taking photos. The dwellers of Dnipro traditionally hang “happiness locks” on the sculptural tree, throwing the keys into the waters of Dnipro River. Monastic Island can be reached not only by bridge, but also by cableway, that gives an opportunity to see an amazing panorama of the whole city. A large monument of the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko is another sight on the island worth seeing.
Currently, this historical island offers numerous opportunities for rest and entertainment. The guests are welcome to visit amusement park, zoo, horse-riding club, numerous cafes and restaurants. In summer, it is a very popular location for spending time on the beach (the rumors say there is even a nudist beach hidden somewhere!). In summer 2005, a big aqua park opened its doors for visitors – a great opportunity for families with kids to have fun. In 2013, 17-meter high decorative waterfall was opened on the island. The beautiful waterfall works in summertime. In early 190s, the island had got back its historical name “Monastyrsky”, and in 2015 the historical name was finally officially documented.
Monastery Island is located in North-West direction from the city center, 50 meters away from the right bank of the Dnipro River. Its territory belongs to Taras Shevchenko park. The dimensions of the island are 250 m x 1.5 km. The upper part of island is covered with granite riffs, while the lower part delights with clean sand beaches. The island has a unique mystical and esoteric charm and is considered as the energetic center of the whole surrounding area.
Nowadays, Monastic Island in Ukraine is the historical center of former Dnipropetrovsk and the favorite place for many dwellers.
Address: Taras Shevchenko park, Dnipro city
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