Poltava is a beautiful city in the center of Ukraine located on Vorskla River. Poltava, founded in 899, is one of the oldest cities of the country and the motherland of classic literary Ukrainian language. Besides, the famous battle of Rus and Swedish armies that changed the whole history of Europe was held here in 1709. Nowadays, Poltava is a very important cultural center of Ukraine with many historical landmarks, monuments, parks, old churches and museums. Let`s check out the best and the most interesting places to see in Poltava.
We start our guide to Poltava with Round square – the very heart of the city. If you look at this place from above, you will notice that the square looks like the sun: 8 streets branch off the big square with 375 m diameter like sunbeams. Round square is surrounded by 8 beautiful old buildings, 7 of which (except the Central post office built in 1957) are designed in the style of the XIX century`s classicism and have the status of architectural monuments. You will be surely awed by the impressive external look of Kotlyarevskogo`s cinema building and House of trade unions (ex-Governor-General`s house). In the very center of the square, you will find picturesque Corpus garden with the monument dedicated to the 100th anniversary of victory over the Swedish army. A modern shopping center is located in the underground part of the square. Round square and Corpus garden are surely at the top in the list of the best Poltava sights.
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Corpus Garden and Monument of Fame
In 1709, the warriors of Russian tsar Piotr I gained glorious victory over the forces of Swedish king Carl XII. The monument to the 100th anniversary of victory over Sweden was built in 1806–1811. In 1840, city administration started to make a park around the monument. The park was officially opened in honor of the 200th anniversary of the great Poltava battle. The park, which is called Corpus garden, is one of the favorite places of locals and guests of the city. The park embraces 6 hectares and has eight radial alleys. By the way, it has the status of park and garden design monument. In Corpus park, guests can find around 70 types of trees and bushes, flowerbeds with peonies, roses and other colorful flowers. At the weekends, people come here to listen to live wind orchestra.
A beautiful white rotunda is one of the symbols of Poltava and undoubtedly one of the best sights in the city. It was built in 1909 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Poltava battle on remains of the earth walls of Poltava fortress. The 9-meter high structure has 8 columns. This sight is located at Soborna square on Ivanova mountain. From here, visitors can enjoy wonderful panoramic view over Vorskla River and a part of the city. The dwellers have a tradition to make photos near the White Rotunda in wedding days and other celebrations. The rotunda has an unusual shape that makes it look like a horseshoe. The native dwellers of Poltava often tell a legend that explains this fact. They say that on the second day after the great battle with Sweden the craftsmen of Poltava met with Russian tsar Piotr I right on Soborna square. One of the craftsmen, who was a blacksmith, noticed that the tsar`s horse had lost its shoe during the battle, so he decided to help. The man fixed the shoe of the horse with masterly skill and the tsar was very grateful. As people say, this event influenced the project of White Rotunda.
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Holy Cross Exaltation Monastery
Holy Cross Exaltation monastery on the bank of Vorskla River in Poltava was founded in 1650. This is the only one seven-domed church in the style of Baroque in Ukraine that has survived until our days. Its four-story bell tower, designed in the late Baroque style, is 43 meters high. The complex also includes single-domed Troyitska church and Semenovska church. During the war with Swedish army, the Swedish king Carl XII had his camp in Holy Cross Exaltation monastery. In the first part of the XX century, the monastery was plundered and closed. Afterwards, it was used as NKVD juvenile prison and then as a school boarding house. The complex was returned to Orthodox Church in 1991.
Field and Museum of the Great Poltava Battle
Field and museum of the Great Poltava Battle, one of the most important landmarks of the city, is a part of UNESCO international organization of military and historical museums. This museum is a cultural heritage object of national importance. It was opened in 1909 by historian I. Pavlovsky. In 1959, an impressive diorama called “Poltava battle” was installed here. In 1981, the museum and its surroundings was given the status of historical and cultural reserve. The overall territory of the complex embraces more than 700 hectares. In 1994, the “Cossack state” exhibition was opened here. The main exposition of the museum is presented in 9 rooms. It includes military equipment, money, paintings, icons, old books and maps, historical documents related to the battle of Poltava. On the territory of the museum, you will find many interesting monuments: monument to Swedish soldiers, to Cossacks, to Piotr I, to the defenders of Poltava, the monument of Fame. In this area, visitors can also see mass grave, Sampsoniyevska church, 4 ancient settlements and 30 burial hills of Scythians epoch.
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Spasska church is one of the oldest churches of Poltava and a great example of traditional Ukrainian architecture. The precise date of its foundation is unknown, but the first mentions of this church date back to the XVII century. In 1695, the church was burnt down in the course of Tatars invasion. In 1705, the wooden church was rebuilt for the money of colonel Ivan Iskra. Many Poltava dwellers have heard a legend that Piotr I had held a thanksgiving service for salvation of the city in Spasska church after the victory over the forces of the king Carl XII. In 1845–1847, a stone pavilion and a small bell tower were built here. In 1930s, the tower had been knocked down, but in 2009 it was fully reconstructed. By the way, Spasska church is the only one house of worship with shingle roof in Poltava oblast.
Where to go in Poltava to make some funny photos? We recommend unusual Galushka monument. Galushka is a traditional dish of Ukrainian cuisine – pieces of dough cooked in boiling water. The monument to Galushka near observation platform on Ivanova mountain is one of the symbols of modern Poltava. The opening of this monument in 2006 was arranged to coincide with birthday of the famous writer Mykola Gogol, who praised the perfect taste of galushkas in his works. Originally, the monument was installed near Uspensky cathedral, but the churchmen asked to remove it from there. In such a way, the monument to Galushka was moved to the area near “Ivanova Gora” restaurant. This is a very popular place among newly-weds and guests of Poltava.
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A tiny old-style Ukrainian house is standing in the historical heart of Poltava on Ivanova mountain. This cozy home with shed, barn and sweep well, enclosed by lattice fence, is a reconstructed house of the famous Ukrainian writer and dramaturge Ivan Kotlyarevsky – the author of well-known “Eneyida” and “Natalka Poltavka”. The house was reconstructed in honor of Kotlyarevsky`s 200th anniversary in 1969. The museum exposition in 5 rooms of the writer`s house represents private belongings of Ivan Kotlyarevsky, his archived materials and documents.
Local History Museum
One of the oldest (125 years old) Ukrainian museums is located in one of the most interesting buildings of the city – the house of Poltava provincial municipality. Three-story building designed in the style of Ukrainian modernism impresses with sophisticated carvings on facades near the entrance. The museum was opened in the end of the XIX century at the initiative of professor Dokuchayev. Nowadays, Poltava local history museum includes 40 halls and more than 200 000 exhibit items: archaeological findings, household and culture objects and many other things related to the history of Poltava and its dwellers.
Long-Distance Strategic Aviation Museum
What to see in Poltava if you are interested in military aviation? Long-distance strategic aviation museum is the answer. In Soviet times, a military airdrome with bombardment aviation division was based in Poltava. After Ukraine became an independent state in 1991, Ukrainian government decided to head for disarmament, so almost all military airplanes were disassembled. However, some of them survived as exposition items of long-distance strategic aviation museum. In the museum, you will see the last world`s largest bombing plane ТU-160 and many other legendary airplanes. Interesting fact: apart from looking at the planes, guests are also welcome to get inside of them!
Have a great time in Poltava – the cradle of Ukrainian history and culture.
Photo source: shutterstock.com, poltava.to. All photos belong to their rightful owners.