Visiting Zhytomyr: Best Places to See

building in zhytomyr

Zhytomyr, founded in the IX century, is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine. Since 1937, it has been the main administrative and cultural center of Zhytomyr oblast`. This is the largest city of Ukrainian Polissya, located in the central part of the country on the border with wooded steppe and on the steep banks of Teteriv and Kamyanka Rivers. Zhytomyr impresses its dwellers and guests with numerous parks, museums and architectural monuments. Let`s check out the best places to see in Zhytomyr.

Museum of Cosmonautics (House of Serhiy Koroliov)

item in cosmonautics museum
The only Museum of Cosmonautics in Ukraine used to be the home of the prominent Ukrainian scientist and engineer Serhiy Koroliov – one of the founders of modern practical astronautics. The museum consists of few blocks. In the first block, you can find the original home of Koroliov where he was born and lived for a long time. This exposition shows many interesting facts about the scientist`s life and work. The second block of the museum has an exciting collection of cosmonautics-related items. Here you will see plenty of unique objects representing the whole history of rocket production and astronautics. The visitors of this block will learn the history of foundation and development of cosmonautics in the USSR. The exposition includes beautiful music and illumination.

Local History Museum (Bishop`s House)

bishop`s house in zhytomyr
This old mansion, built in the XIX century on Zamkova square for the head of Zhytomyr Catholic Diocese, is called “The Bishop`s House” by locals. Nowadays, the building hosts Zhytomyr Local History Museum, founded in 1865 when Volynia governor Mikhailo Chertkov presented his collection of 48 minerals and rocks. The exposition has significantly expanded since then, and today the museum`s fund includes more than 150 000 historical and cultural items. However, the exposition presents only a small part of these items related to the historical events of the first part of the XX century. The most of the museum`s exhibition spaces are taken up by the art department presenting the unique collection of masterpieces created by Italian, Dutch, French, Polish and Russian masters of the XVI-XX centuries.

”Chatsky`s Head” Rock

zhytomyr canyon
If you go to the hill in the Park of Eternal Fame or to the observation platform on Teteriv water reservoir, you can enjoy picturesque view over Zhytomyr canyon located on Teteriv River. The banks of the river are covered with weird-shaped rocks, and one of these rocks is very special. This rock on the left bank of Teteriv is called “Chatsky`s head” due to its shape that reminds of a human profile. It is considered as a geological monument of national importance and is listed as one of the seven miracles of Ukraine. “Chatsky`s head” is the symbol of Zhytomyr city. By the way, there are many legends about the origin of its name. One legend says that Polish nobleman with surname Chatsky jumped into the river from this rock while being followed by the Cossacks. Other legend insists that the rock got its name from the surname of Tadeusz Czacki – the founder of Krzemieniec Lyceum.

Saint Sofia`s Cathedral

Saint Sofia`s Cathedral in zhytomyr
Saint Sofia`s Cathedral on Zamkova square, built in 1751, is the main church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr. The Cathedral`s architecture keeps to Baroque style with the elements of Renaissance. Its facade, divided in two levels, is decorated by two spires and a sculpture of the Holy Virgin. The thickness of the Cathedral`s brick walls reaches 2 meters, which means that the Cathedral could be also used as a defensive structure.

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Transfiguration Cathedral

Transfiguration Cathedral in zhytomyr
Transfiguration Cathedral in Zhytomyr belongs to Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This building is considered an architectural monument of the XIX century and is protected by the government. By the way, 53-meter high cathedral is the one of the highest buildings in the city. The cathedral impresses with its Russian-Byzantine style that includes elements typical for Old Russian architecture of the XI-XII centuries. The cross-shaped cathedral has five domes and three aisles. It also can boast a four-level bell tower with the main bell that weights around eight tons. The locals say that when this bell tolls it can be heard even 20 km away from the cathedral. If you go inside the cathedral, you will see beautiful icons painted by Mykhailo Vasiliev.

Saint Michael`s Cathedral

Saint Michael`s Cathedral in zhytomyr
Saint Michael`s Cathedral in Zhytomyr has recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. The cathedral was built by the merchant Mikhailo Khabotin. To do this, he had to cover up a swamp, to ask for permission of the local authorities and to deliver all construction materials. The construction process had taken many years and finished in 1856. The cathedral`s architecture reminds of Old Byzantine style. The building has a bell tower and five domes: one main dome in the center and four smaller ones on the corners.
As for interesting things to do in Zhytomyr, you should not skip strolling along Mykhailivska street. Here you will meet street musicians and artists, loving couples and teenagers. This is a good chance to feel the spirit of modern Zhytomyr.
It is also recommended to visit the 45-meter high suspension bridge at the end of Stariy boulevard. The large body of the bridge is supported by metal cable structures on two 70-meter suspension towers. From this bridge, you can see a magnificent panorama of Teteriv River, elegant White Rotunda and embankment covered with inscriptions of love confessions.
people on bridge in zhytomyr
By the way, the bridge is also called “Love bridge” because many loving couples hang locks on its rails and throw keys to the river as a token of their mutual feelings. The bridge in Zhytomyr is appreciated not only by loving couples, but also by the fans of extreme. Many people come here to do rope jumping.
Chaudoir (ex-Gagarin) park in Zhytomyr is a good place for walking and having rest. Here you will find cozy alleys, lovely fountains, benches and different attractions for kids.
While visiting the old city Zhytomyr, you will get charmed by its interesting landmarks, history and atmosphere. Welcome!
Photo source:,, ua.igotoworld. All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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