“Seven Wonders of Ukraine” is a project launched in 2007. This was an All Ukraine contest aimed to define the most beautiful places in the territory of Ukraine. The main purpose of this contest was to define which natural and manmade landmarks in the country could be classified as Seven Wonders of Ukraine.
Similar projects were held in multiple countries around the world. As this project was a part of international movement it has gained political and social support.
The campaign was started in 2007. There were up to thousand different objects suggested by region organization, which could won the main prize and became a part of “Seven Wonders of Ukraine”.
After a deep research and consulting of Ukrainian experienced tourism agents, culturologists and historians only 100 objects have been left. Internet voting reduced competition to 21 objects.
Final results were announced in August, 2007. Seven wonders of Ukraine have been chosen by Internet voting and experts. More than 77 thousand people took part in the Internet voting. This shows importance of the topic and peoples interest to this subject and culture of Ukraine.
According to historical and archeologists researches Kamianets Podilskyi has been build approximately in the beginning of 14th century. This wonder of Ukraine is located on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine, to the north-east of Chernovtsy. The main bastions of Kamianets Podilskyi were built in 16th century. Kamianets Podilskyi is considered to be a vivid example of fortifications build in those days. Kamianets Podilskyi is a middle-age fortress, it includes up to 200 different buildings and houses of worship and makes an architectural ensemble.
Since 1434 Kamianets Podilskyi became a strategically important point of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This was invincible fortress till 1672. In 167 Turkish army captured the city after three week of siege. Turks controlled the fortress for almost 27 years, however in 1699 Kamianets Podilskyi was given back to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth collapse this fortress came in to possession of Russian Empire.
Sofiyivsky park is another one landscape listed among seven wonders of Ukraine. Sofiyivsky park is located in Uman city, which is in the west Ukraine. Sofiyivsky park was founded by the Polish noble Stanislaw Potocki in 1796. This park was named in honor of noble’s wife Sofia. This park was built as a present to Stanislaw’s wife, however now it has a nationwide scale. In this park grow cypress, spruce, eastern white pine, hazels and beeches, tulip trees and sycamores, rhododendrons and roses.
Sofia took part in designing some sections of the park. She introduced ancient motifs, especially Greek and Rome mythology. There are many statues of ancient philosophers and gods. These statues completed the ensemble and brought some ancient charm in to the whole composition. Sofiyivsky park is opened for tourists for the whole year. Visitors can sail down the subterranean river Aheron and then take a carriage to have a ride around the park.
This is one of the most famous man-made Orthodox monuments in Ukraine. It is also called Kiev Monastery of the Caves. Kiev Pechersk Lavra is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery. After this monastery was named one of the districts in Kiev. Kiev Pechersk Lavra was founded in 1056 and had a meaning of preeminent center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra is not only a member of “Seven wonders of Ukraine”, but also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as St. Sophia cathedral Kiev Monastery of the Caves was considered as a part of world heritage and has an international importance. Despite the fact that Kiev Pechersk Lavra is a cultural attraction, it still has a sacred meaning and functions as an active cathedral and monastery till now.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra was founded by two monks Antony and Feodosiy. They started to dig caves and live there, because they had no other place for living. Then the other monks joint them and the underground city began to grow. Then appeared over ground buildings with temples. Currently Kiev Monastery of the Caves is a major Orthodox community includes churches, refectories, buildings of monk cells.
Khortytsia is an island. This island impresses by it’s size: length of the island equals 12.5 kilometers and width of the island is 2.5 kilometers. It makes Khortytsia the biggest island on Dnieper river. As well as the rest wonders of Ukraine Khortytsia was chosen to be a “wonder” in 2007. It is a unique cultural object because it can be considered both as a man-made landscape and natural one. It is right to consider Khortytsia a natural wonder of Ukraine. Khortytsia has a unique flora and fauna, including oak groves, spruce woods, meadows, and steppe. Khortytsia island is a motherland for the first “Sich” – Cossacks Republic. It was founded in XVI century.
Quite lot of defensive structures and fortifications of the times of the Cossacks Russian – Turkish war of 1735 – 1739 years remain unchanged. Many buildings have been rebuilt. Currently this composition reconstructs a picture of the first Cossack Republic fortifications. Despite the fact that “Sich” was destroyed by forces of Catherine the Second in 1709, it was restored in 300 years. Today Khortytsia does not play a strategic role. However, it is a historical-cultural complex of federal importance. While visiting this island you can feel the atmosphere of those years: to see the way of living and household of Ukrainian Cossacks, watch the work of local craftsmen, visit a Cossacks church and many other things.
Chersonesos was a part of ancient Greek colony. Greek colony has been established over 2000 years ago in the territory of Crimean Peninsula. Currently this region is called National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos. However, in the times of ancient Greeks the city has a name “Khersones”, which had a meaning “peninsula”. In 2007 Chersonesos was chosen to the list of “Seven Wonders of Ukraine”, and in 2013 National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos was listed as a World Heritage Site.
Column basilica, Agora and the ancient theater – the only one in the CIS all these antiquities remain in the territory of Chersonesos. Ancient theater is still functioning. Today ancient Greek tragedies, dramas and comedies are put on this stage.
Chersonesos is the place where Vladimir was baptized in 988. This event gave a start for the beginning of the process of Christianization of Kiev Rus.
Chersonesos as a Greek independent city slept out of existence in the 14th century. Since that time Chersonesos saved its architecture, ancient building and temples of Byzantine times.
Now Chersonesos makes possible to connect with the times of ancient Greece, to feel the atmosphere of ancient world, to learn the culture and architecture.
St. Sophia cathedral is oldest cathedral in the territory of Ukraine. It was founded in XI century by Jaroslav the Wise. In Ukraine this wonder is known as “Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi”. It was chosen as a wonder of Ukraine, however a lot of researches consider St. Sophia cathedral as a part of Kiev Pechersk Lavra. One of the reasons for such classification is that both St. Sophia cathedral and Kiev Pechersk Lavra have been recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Program as one complex. Architectures and builders have been working at this project almost for 20 years.
In 1240 St. Sophia cathedral fell into disrepair because of Mongolian Tatars invasion. The next stage of cathedral destruction fallen into the period of attempt to unite Orthodox and Catholic churches.
However, St. Sophia cathedral had good times as well. In 18th century cathedral in Ukrainian baroque style has been restore by Ivan Mazepa. The building has survived till Communistic era. Soviet authorities confiscated some artifacts and designated the cathedral as an architectural and historical museum. And only in the late 1980 St. Sophia Cathedral has been proclaimed as an Orthodox cathedral again.
Currently it is one of the most visited places in Kiev and in Ukraine accordingly.
Khotyn Fortress is another one winner of the contest “Seven Wonders of Ukraine”. It is a complex complex of defensive building, which is located on the right side of the Dniester River. It is named after the region of location – Khotyn. It is a province Chernovcy. Historically it is situated in the territory of Bessarabia.
Building of Khotyn fortress has been started in 1325, however construction has been completed in 1460 only, after major improvements. Khotyn seemed to be a trade hub between east and west trade roads, that is why Khotyn fortress played a role of defensive building and was an important strategic point.
For many centuries Khotyn was a strong defense for all the territory of Ukraine. This fortress has been actively used by Cossacks to defend their lands. Khotyn has been taken by many countries, however it remains a part of territory of Ukraine, Ukrainian history and culture as a long last.
Today Khotyn is a place where you can feel the atmosphere of battles, feel the courage and fearlessness of battlers of those times, learn more about the living of Cossacks and the other nationalities who settled Khotyn during its long history. Khotyn has all rights to be a part of Ukrainian heritage and be one of the wonders of Ukraine.