National Historic and Cultural Reserve Kachanivka

Kachanivka complex overview

Kachanivka palace and garden complex, located in Chernihiv region on the picturesque Smosh River, is a perfect example of the noble architecture typical for the XVIII-XIX centuries. This complex is one of the few manors that has survived turbulent times of the XX century and has remained completely unshattered. Let`s find out some interesting facts about history, architecture and legends of Kachanivka reserve.

After the 1917 revolution, the noble manors culture in Ukraine was almost completely destroyed. Luckily, Kachanivka complex with its gorgeous palace and magnificent landscape garden became an exception. Today this complex, well-known not only for its beautiful architecture, but also for many eminent visitors from the world of art, can tell us a lot about life of noblemen and cultural elite of the XVIII-XIX centuries.

History of Kachanivka Park

Kachanivka palace
The name of Kachanivka complex came from the name of the court singer Fedir Kachanovsky who owned these lands in 1740s. In 1771, the homestead had become a possession of the duke Petro Rumiantsev-Zadunaisky who built the first castle here. This castle was designed in the style of neo-Gothic.
In 1808–1824, landlord Grigoriy Pocheka, the new owner of the manor, reconstructed it according to Classicism architectural style.
The next owners of Kachanivka – Tarnovsky family – significantly expanded the complex and turned it into a huge art center with impressive collection of artworks and Ukrainian historical heritage items. Tarnovsky family possessed the manor from 1824 till 1897. In 1988, being under the danger of bankruptcy, Tarnovsky had to sell Kachanivka to Pavlo Kharitonenko – well-known sugar manufacturer.
white buildings in green garden
The new owner treated Kachanivka good. He provided manor with electricity, telephone and also performed some construction works that did not change the initial Classicism style of the building.
In 1914-1918, Kachanivka was owned by the daughter of Pavlo – Elena, and her husband Mykhailo.
In 1918, Kachanivka was nationalized. Since the manor was not under guard anymore, the peasants plundered valuable furniture, paintings and other items.
During the Soviet period, Kachanivka served different purposes. It became a juvenile prison, then a hospital and a health camp.
In 1981, Kachanivka was assigned the status of a state reserve.
In 2001, the palace and garden complex became Ukrainian historical, cultural and nature reserve of the national importance.

Architecture and Park of Kachanivka Complex

overview of Kachanivka palace and garden
Kachanivka palace is one of the most impressive Ukrainian palaces. It is built in the style of Russian Classicism with elements of neo-Classicism. The palace is a rectangular two-story building with three risalits on the rear side. The first floor is brick-built, while the second floor is made of brick-dressed wood. The palace dimensions are 73x21 m. The palace, two side wings and water tower make up the main courtyard. Kachanivka palace is surrounded by a lovely landscape park with ponds and sculptures.
Kachanivka nature and historical reserve can boast one of the largest Ukrainian parks. The territory of the complex embraces 550 hectares. Here you can find 18 ponds and lakes. In the park zone, visitors can find beautiful landscape elements such as “Intimate square”, “Romantic ruins”, “Air bridge” and other. Vasily Tarnavsky, one of the manor`s former owners, was a collector of rare plants, so nowadays the flora of park includes more than 40 kinds of trees and 30 kinds of bushes. The wide diversity of plants covers many cozy meadows where tourists can have a rest.

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As for architectural landmarks, there is much to see apart from the palace itself: St. George`s Church in the Empire style built in 1780; old water tower; 13 service buildings of different purposes.
Unfortunately, the interior of the palace and other buildings of the complex has not survived until the modern times. However, the palace regularly hosts interesting exhibitions related to the history of Kachanivka and Ukrainian culture.

Kachanivka as an Art Center

alcove on hill near lake
While being owned by Tarnovsky family, Kachanivka was an important center of cultural life. Many famous writers, poets, composers and painters visited the complex and even created their masterpieces here, inspired by the beauty around. For example, the eminent writer Mykola Gogol` stayed in Kachanivka for some time in 1835-1836. The talented painter Vasily Sternberg gave summer lectures in the manor in 1836-1838. In summer 1838, the composer Mykhailo Glinka worked on his well-known “Ruslan and Ludmila” opera in Kachanivka. He liked to work in an alcove by the pond – it is still called “Glinka`s alcove”. Many painters such as Ilya Repin, Mykhailo Vrubel`, Pavel Fedotov as well as the legendary Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko came to Kachanivka in different years, attracted by the picturesque nature and unusual vibes of this place.

Legends of Kachanivka Park

stone lion
As any old palace, Kachanivka palace has its own secrets and mystic stories.
The locals tell a story about a creepy ghost that lives in the palace. They say that it is the ghost of Vasily Tarnovsky junior – the last owner of the manor from Tarnovsky family. Vasily loved his manor with all his heart, but had to sell it to avoid total bankruptcy. He was so desperate about losing his favorite homestead that his soul could not leave it after Vasily`s death. Some people still report seeing the figure of a sad gentleman that regularly appears near the palace.
There is an interesting opinion that the location where Kachanivka manor stands has some special energy vibrations that help to create art masterpieces. Those who believe it are sure that this unique energy is a true “magnet” that has attracted so many artists here.

Kachanivka Today

St George church in kachanivka park
The administration of Kachanivka complex offers visitors several excursions through the territory of palace and the garden. During these excursions, you have a chance to learn much interesting information about the history of manor, its owners and famous guests.
However, people come to Kachanivka not only with educational purposes. The large garden of the complex is a great place for leisure. There are comfortable apartments in the palace`s side wings so the tourists can stay for few days to explore the complex without hurry. In Kachanivka complex, guests can also find café and shop with products.
Many people come to complex by their own cars for fishing, to ride boats or to feed swans on lakes, to make barbecue and so on. Kachanivka is also a popular place for photo sessions and weddings.
The excursion season in Kachanivka starts on May 1 and lasts until November 15. If you wish to visit it in cold season, it is also possible, but you will have to notify the administration in advance.

How to Get There

hill with alcove near lake in autumn
Kachanivka palace and garden complex are located near similarly named village in Ichnya raion of Chernigiv oblast` in Ukraine. Those who want to visit the complex can reach it by bus from Kyiv (Darnytsia bus station), Nizhyn or Pryluky. If you need to reach Kachanivka from Chernigiv, you can take a bus to Parafyivka village and then take a car to reach Kachanivka that is located 5 km away from there.
A visit to Kachanivka palace and garden is a good choice if you wish to enjoy sophisticated architecture and lovely views of nature.
Address: 1, Glinki street, Kachanivka village, Ichnya raion, Chernigiv oblast`
Photo source: All photos belong to their rightful owners.

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