Journey to shrines: top most beautiful monasteries in Ukraine
Some people believe that when traveling, the last place one should visit is monasteries and churches. However, this is not entirely true. Cathedrals are not just religious centers; they are also a part of our cultural heritage. Each Ukrainian church is a genuine work of art with its unique architectural and artistic features.
We have compiled a list of the top buildings that every Ukrainian should visit. So, let's embark on a tour of the most beautiful sacred locations.
Mgarskyi Monastery (Poltava Region)
This spiritual gem stands proudly above the serene Sula River. According to official records, a wooden church once occupied the grounds of the present shrine, later deconstructed and reconstructed into a stone church. This place has consistently played a crucial role in Ukrainian life, not only in a religious context but also in fostering resistance.
Prominent leaders of the Zaporozhian Army frequented this place, including Yurii, the son of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Former Cossacks resided here permanently. Thus, the cathedral can be regarded as a hub of life for these renowned warriors.
The site is meticulously maintained, with strict monitoring to ensure every corner remains intact. This includes flower beds, pathways, gates, and, of course, the interior and facades.
The panoramic view from the bell tower is breathtaking, offering a sweeping vista of the entire city as if in the palm of your hand. Access to the tower is limited to once a year, the day after Easter. Regrettably, only men are permitted, and women are not allowed to enter.
Rocky St. Nicholas (Galician) Monastery
The name suggests that the shrine is carved into a mighty rock. The Dniester River flows below, safeguarding the monks' tranquility. The river appears to embrace the steep banks. The cathedral was established in the XI-XII centuries and still exudes beauty.
Regrettably, reaching this destination is a challenging task. However, if you manage, this journey will be etched in your memory for a lifetime. The vantage point provides breathtaking views.
Picture this: you stand at the highest point of the area, and somewhere below, you can hear water creatures making noise, trees whispering softly, and numerous paths running off swiftly, disappearing into the thickets of the forest.
You can make a stop here on your way to the renowned fortresses of Khotyn and Kamianets-Podilskyi.
Tryhirskyi Transfiguration Monastery (Zhytomyr region)
The church is situated not far from Zhytomyr, just a few dozen kilometers away. Similar to the preceding cathedrals, the church is constructed on the edge of a rock massif washed by fresh water. It is a remarkably ancient structure, with official records indicating an age of over 500 years.
Despite its considerable age, the shrine remains in excellent condition. It is meticulously maintained and subject to constant restoration. Interestingly, many believers visit this site as it houses the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, known as "Trigorska."
People come here seeking tranquility, and everyone undoubtedly finds it. Not only does the atmosphere exude a calming effect, but the incredibly beautiful scenery also adds to the experience. Picturesque granite rocks, a swift river roaring loudly over the dam, and the enchanting sounds of magical forests—all of these elements create a harmonious and delightful environment.
Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lviv region)
This architectural marvel is impossible to overlook. The church stands out from others as a neo-Gothic building with a towering spire, located in the village of Kamianka-Buzka in the Lviv region.
Through a stroke of luck, the monastery has managed to survive to this day. Remarkably, it faced numerous challenges. Its first bout of destruction occurred in the nineteenth century, almost erasing the church from the landscape. However, Theodore Talovsky bore all the expenses and undertook its reconstruction. Unfortunately, after the restoration, it didn't host believers for long. Soon after, World War II erupted, and the beautiful cathedral was repurposed into an ordinary granary.
Undoubtedly, such barbaric actions caused severe damage to the church's interior. But fate smiled upon it this time. Following the end of hostilities and the restoration of peace, Polish benefactors revived this spiritual gem. During that period, numerous replicas of ancient icons were brought to the shrine.
Transfiguration Monastery (Chernihiv region)
Founded in 1033, this is one of the earliest churches of Kyivan Rus. It transcends being just a sacred place; it is a fortress, a stronghold of our history and culture. According to chronicles, it was from here that Prince Igor embarked on his renowned campaign. Cossacks would come here to pray before decisive battles, and it was at this very site that our ancestors shaped the future.
Visiting this historical landmark is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the spirit of the past, reflect on life, gain strength, and overcome all adversities. Each visitor has their own purpose, and everyone discovers what they seek within these sacred grounds.
The listed shrines are not as popular as the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra or St. Sophia of Kyiv, but they are no less beautiful and amazing. So, if you want to get acquainted with the cultural heritage of our country in detail, you should definitely go to these monasteries. They definitely have something to tell.