By Natalia Rudnichenko © PANORAMA
The Dnipropetrovsk region is chiefly known as the birthplace of the Ukrainian political elite and a large industrial centre. But five centuries ago this was a land of freedom where Cossacks resided and acted gloriously to protect their land from enemies. The Dnipropetrovsk region also offers curious and active tourists its Scythian mounds, river canyons and waterfalls, diving and rafting, and the “Petrykivka” centre of folk crafts as well as many other attractions
In the Kiev Museum of Historic Treasures of Ukraine, the famous golden Pectoral of the 4th century B.C. (a chest adornment owned by a Scythian king) has been on display for more than three decades already. This unique golden decoration weighing more than one kilogram and about 30 cm in diametre is considered a world masterpiece of jewelry. Guess where it was found? Right, in the Dnipropetrovsk region: in 1971, Ukrainian archaeologist Borys Mozolevskyi found it while excavating an ancient mound.
The territory of the modern Dnipropetrovsk region was settled during the Neolithic. In the 7th to 4th centuries B.C., the Prydniprovia steppe became the centre of the Greater Scythian state. One thousand years later, Slavs appeared here. In the times of the Kiev Rus state, the Mongol and Tartar invasions of the 13th century wasted Prydniprovia, and the 15th century saw the heroic culmination of the Ukrainian Cossacks, closely connected with the history of Dnipropetrovsk, the first stop in our journey.
The first urban settlement on the territory of modern Dnipropetrovsk was the Kodak fortress (now Stari Kodaky village), built on a cliff over the Dnipro by French engineer Guillaume de Beauplan. And the city was founded here in 1776 by Count Hryhoriy Potemkin, an honorary Cossack whose nickname was Hrytsko Nechesa. He named the city “Yekaterinoslav” to honour his crown-bearing mistress, Catherine II. The Tsarina had liquidated the free Zaporizka Sich a year before, in 1775, and then dissolved the Cossack regiments while introducing in Ukraine a Russian form of slavery called serfdom. Today the region renews its ties with its Cossack past and remembers it. To learn more about the region’s history, we recommend a visit to the Dnipropetrovsk Historic Museum (18 K. Marks Av., tel: + 38 0562 47 1705).
The capital of the region had four official names: Yekaterinoslav, Novorosiisk, Sicheslav and, since 1926, Dnipropetrovsk. Modern Ukrainians often use in conversation its short name: “Dnipro”. The city was named after this river which crosses the whole region from north-west to south-east. Five bridges, which connects not only two banks of the river but also two parts of Ukraine: Left-Bank and Right-Bank, became the highlight of Dnipropetrovsk.
Did you know that the longest pier in Europe, 23 km long, is in Dnipropetrovsk? It consists of three piers: Peremohy, Lenina and Zavodska. A beautiful beach and park zones with various entertainment establishments were created along the quays. There is also a special Festival berth where various youth activities take place. One of the pier’s features is a Fountain-Swan, built in 2005 in the Dnipro, several metres from the bank. The Dnipropetrovsk promenade looks particularly romantic in the evening from a yacht.
The most legendary place of Dnipropetrovsk is Monastyrskyi Island, covered with greenery and located near the pier in the centre of the city. They say that once such famous persons as Apostle Andrew, Princess Olga and Prince Volodymyr the Great visited it. It is now the home of a restored Orthodox monastery. Newlyweds and tourists like to take photos on the island.
The population of the city exceeds a million inhabitants, and they say that Dnipropetrovsk is ahead of Kiev for the number of restaurants and night clubs. We especially advise to visit two establishments: the creative “Bartolomeo” club (9-b Peremohy Quay, tel.: + 38 0562 370 1500) and the “Reporter” café-restaurant (2 Barykadna Str., tel.: + 38 0562 33 75 75). The first offers literally everything from a children’s café to a casino and yacht-club. As to Reporter, it is a meeting place of progressive artists and youth cliques. Join them?
Cossacks and Folklore
Residents of the region are proud of the fact that one of the first democratic republics in Europe, the Zaporizka Sich, appeared here. To feel the spirit of Cossack freedom, let us go to the city of Nikopol. The modern Nikopol region was home to five of the eight known Zaporizka Siches: Tomakivska, Bazavlutska, Mykytynska, Chortomlytska, and
Pidpilnenska. Unfortunately, in soviet times, it was partially flooded under the artificial Kakhovske reservoir…
At the end of December 1647, Bohdan Khmelnytsky stayed in the Tomakivka village, and then a few months later he was was elected Hetman of the Zaporizka Sich on the territory of modern Nikopol. Today, in the Kapulivka village, there is a memorial to Hetman Ivan Sirko, who was elected to this position eight times for his courage. Legend says he was a magician who could impersonate others and did not fear bullets.
You will hear this and many other stories in the Nikopol Historic Museum (46a Elektometalurhiv Str., tel.: +38 05662 51 361). And in the Hrechane village in the Petrykivskyi region, modern Cossacks, who began to rediscover the traditions of their ancestors, will show you the hopak battle dances and will let you try kulish, real Cossack porridge!
Then it is time to visit the town of Novomoskovsk, and the unique wooden Trinity Church, a real baroque edifice built entirely without nails at the end of the 18th century. This is Ukraine’s only wooden church with nine domes, and from each cardinal point you can see three domes. It became the locale of the novel “The Cathedral” (1968) by famous Ukrainian writer Oles Honchar, who incidentally saved it from destruction by celebrating it in his work.
And in the town of Petrykivka, you will find the eponymous and famous “Petrykivka” Centre of Folk Art and Crafts (tel.: + 38 05634 222 70), where you can not only buy beautiful souvenirs painted with flowers and birds, but try your skills with a brush yourself. Painted plates, penny-trumpets, boxes… you can not find a better souvenir from the Dnipropetrovsk region!
5 Facts about the Dnipropetrovsk Region
1. This year, Dnipropetrovsk celebrates its 75th anniversary: the region was founded on February 27, 1932.
2. Near the Sholokhove village in the Nikopol district there is a unique cascade waterfall about 14 metres high that appeared in the Mesozoic.
3. The Dnipropetrovsk region is the birthplace of many famous personalities and artists of past and modern times: theosophist Olena Blavatsky, writer Oles Honchar, political figures Leonid Brezhnev, Leonid Kuchma, Yulia Tymoshenko, singer Yosyp Kobzon, Olympic figure skating champion Oksana Bayul and many others were born here.
4. The Yekaterynoslav tramway inaugurated in 1894 was one of the first electric trams in the Russian Empire, third after Kiev and Nyzhniy Novgorod.
5. 48o 28’ N. latitude and 35o 3’ E. longitude are the geographic coordinates of Dnipropetrovsk. The city is located at almost the same latitude as Paris and the same longitude as Jerusalem.
Administration of Culture and Tourism of Dnipropetrovsk: www.adm.dp.gov.ua,
tel.: + 38 056 742 84 30.
All about Dnipropetrovsk: http://gorod.dp.ua.
Where to book a tour: Dnipropetrovsk Bureau of Trips and Excursions: 30 Fuchika Str.
Tel.: +38 0562 470-606, e-mail: email@example.com.
“Ukraina” Grand Hotel: 2 Korolenka Str., Dnipropetrovsk, tel.: + 38 0652 34 1010; www.grand-hotel-ukraine.dp.ua, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Five-star hotel in the business centre of the city.
“Rassvet” Hotel: Dnipropetrovsk, Fuchika Str., tel.: +38 0562 470 401. An economy-class hotel with a view on the quay.
Astoria Hotel: 66 K. Marksa Str., Dnipropetrovsk, tel.: +380 562 38 4803; www.astoria.dp.ua. Hotel in a historic building offering 22 comfortable rooms.
Ukraine International Airlines offers direct daily flights to Kiev from most of Western Europe’s largest cities. With your Panorama Club Card you can accumulate miles on all UIA flights and flights of our partner airlines: Air France (excluding the Kiev-Paris route), Austrian Airlines, KLM, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Portugal.
Buy tickets online at www.flyUIA.com. For more information, call us in Kiev at +38 044 581 5050.
KievStar, MTC, Life:) and Beeline cellular service subscribers can dial 566.
You can get from Kiev to Dnipropetrovsk (479 km) by one of the daily trains or buses.
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