Day trip to Chernigov (Chernihiv) from Kiev
Chernigov is one of the oldest cities of the Ukraine and this fascinating destination makes for an enjoyable day trip from Kiev. Chernihiv is a pleasant and welcoming city that offers visitors an extensive history, interesting monuments and grand churches, all of which are set admits the parks and wide boulevards of the historic center. This guide will provide information about visiting Chernigov as a day trip from Kiev and includes travel information and details of the sights of the city. As with many locations in the Ukraine there are two written variations of the name reflecting the Russian (Chernigov) and Ukrainian (Chernihiv) spelling.
Kiev to Chernigov (Chernihiv) by bus
Chernigov is situated 140 km to the north-east of Kiev and the journey by public transport takes between 1.5 to 2 hours depending on traffic. There are two public transport options between Chernihiv and Kiev, either a standard bus or a marshrutka, which are routed taxicabs or mini-buses. Marshrutkas are the preferred choice as they offer much faster services (with fewer stops) but the fares are significantly more expensive than the conventional buses.
Both services depart from the small Darnitsa bus station, which is located in Popudrenko Street. Darnitsa bus station is a 10-15 min walk from Lesnaya metro station, the final stop on the blue metro line. Marshrutkas to Chernihiv also depart from the main train station of Kiev, close to McDonald’s.
Marshrutkas are afast way to travel around the Ukraine
The bus services start at 7:00am and depart frequently during the day until the last return bus at 22:00 (correct Spring 2015). The bus tickets may be purchased from the ticket office or from the bus driver and depending on the standard of travel vary from €2.50-4.00. Marshrutkas depart every hour but tend to leave when all the seats are occupied. In marshrutkas you should pay directly to a driver. The ticket price depends on vehicle class and speed of service, but a return varies between €5.00-7.00.
The main terminus in Chernihiv is not close to the historic center, and requires either a walk of further public transport. An easier option is to catch a bus or marshrutka, which terminates at the “Ukraina” (Ukraine) hotel in Chernihiv which is close to the tourist center.
Discovering the historic centre of Chernigov
The first sight all visitors see while traveling into Chernihiv is the tall five-domed St. Catherine’s Church, which is positioned on the outskirts of the city on top of a hill. This baroque styled church dates from the 18th century, and has a white washed exterior and large golden domes. The church is open from 9:00 to 17:00 (Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00).
The Trinity Monastery in Chernihiv
Chernigov is one of the oldest cities of Ukraine packed with historic monuments, ancient churches, temples and cathedrals. Many visitors are pleasantly impressed by plenty of beautiful parks, mini-parks and “green zones” in this small and pleasant town with its fantastic historic atmosphere. Most of the excursions to Chernihiv begin in scenic Kotsyubinskogo Park, where the Chernigov Val (Earthwork) – the city heart and the most popular resting place of the locals is situated. There are the remnants of ancient defensive fortifications as well as 12 old cannons standing atop the pedestal bases in a row. According to existing legend, they were installed as early as the 13th century. There is a local rag related to these cannons: local girls use to date unwanted boys near the 13th cannon!
The historic town centre is the best area for lunch. If you want to plunge into homely atmosphere, enjoy vibrant interior of the 1950ies and taste delicious pancakes and blintz, Italian pasta, various cakes, nice coffee and tea you should drop into “Abazhur” coffee and pastry bar in Preobrazhenskaya Street. In case you want to dine substantially, try elite “Velyurov” restaurant in Mir Avenue, offering a great variety of salads, seafood, meat dishes, hot starters and cold dishes as well as a great choice of good wine and different cocktails. There are of course many other eating establishments in the central part of the town.
Visiting the major attractions
Chernihiv may boast of the oldest Orthodox Church in Ukraine – Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral (The Saviour-Transfiguration Cathedral), which was founded at the beginning of the 10th century. Its exterior represents a stunning combination of ornately shaped masonry with stone ornamentation (meanders and stone lattices). This well-preserved Cathedral is renowned for its amazing wooden iconostasis of baroque style, which was created in the 18th century instead of the original one destroyed in a fire. This temple is functioning and opens every day from 9:00 to 19:00.
The green plains of Chernihiv
The world famous Anthony’s Caves date back to the 11th century and represent a four-level (once it was thought to be two-level) complex of underground premises, corridors and galleries. They have several ancient temples and churches. The Caves’ total length is about 370 m. Some walls still remain ancient and medieval graffiti. Due to high humidity in Caves, there are no wooden iconostases in their temples and churches, but metal icons. Anthony’s Caves are open for visitors every day from 10:00 to 17:00. Entrance fee is about 2 Euros.
On the top of Anthony’s Caves the fascinating Troitsko-Illinsky (St. Trinity-St. Elijah) Monastery is standing. It includes the 12th century Illinska (St. Elijah) Church, the Ukrainian baroque style Troitsky (St. Trinity) Cathedral built in the 17th century and the yellow-white Bell Tower, which is 58 m in height and provides exciting views of the town and the Cathedral. You may visit it for a token fee.
Return to Kiev
Chernigov has many other interesting attractions such as, the Dytynets – the former mighty fortress, the 12th century St. Boris and St. Gleb Cathedral, the 17th century Yeletsky Women’s Monastery, to mention but a few. In fact, the density of cult constructions in Chernihiv is extremely high. However, it is time to return to Kiev. In the centre of Chernigov the buses/marshrutkas to Kiev depart from “Ukraina” hotel. The last departure is at 22:00. They return to “Darnytsa” bus station. There are several other places in Chernigov from which the buses/marshrutkas depart to Kiev, but they are away from the centre and may be reached by public transport only.