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Park of Beauty in Trostyanets


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+38 067 463 46 03

Ivan Skoropadsky (1805-1887), a rich landowner, art collector and patron of arts, decided to build “a little paradise” on his estate at Trostyanets in Chernihiv Huberniya (Province). Skoropadsky was intent on changing the two-hundred hectare plot beyond recognition and turn it into a veritable “Paradise Revisited.” Thousands of serfs (and hired hands, after the Reform of 1861, which abolished serfdom) created mounds, valleys, lakes ponds and streams. The work continued for over half a century, from 1834 until Skoropadsky's death in 1887. It is estimated that he spent at least a hundred thousand roubles on his park — an enormous sum of money at that time. And mind you — the cost of labour was very low. How many serfs and hired hands died, broken down by work, is not known. “Many” is the vague word that often is callously used in similar situations.

Trostyanets contains centuries-old stone idols once left in the steppes by nomads, then relocated to the park. The park acquired even a more “natural” look when in 1918 the revolutionary masses destroyed all the buildings in the park so thoroughly that no traces of them were left. At present, the park is a harmonious blend of natural features — groves, groups of trees, scenic meadows and lakes in the calm surface of which the sky above is serenely reflected.

The floral richness of the park is truly amazing. The first inventory of plants taken in the park in 1886 listed 580 species of plants and their varieties from all over the world. The collections of deciduous trees, oaks, maples and horse chestnuts were the richest in Ukraine

At present there are about 520 species of various plants in the park, fewer than at the time when Skoropadsky was alive, but in the arboretum — a place where an extensive variety of plants are cultivated for scientific, educational, and ornamental purposes — there are about 1,700 species. Many of the plants are over a hundred years old and some are two or even three hundred years-old, oaks, poplars and willows among them.

About 40 percent of the plants are of Asian origin; 26 percent are “Europeans”; 25 percent are “Americans,” and 9 percent have come from Australia and Pacific islands. The evergreens make up a considerable part of all the plants which create a conspicuous feature in the park — pines, firs and hemlocks in many varieties make the park green in any season. The winter snow gives the park a hibernal charm.

You can join a guided tour around the park or you can lean against the trunk of a tree whose girth is such that it would take at least three men with outspread arms to stand around the tree holding hands, and look at the yellowing leaves and deeply inhale the air permeated with autumnal scents and think your own, unhurried thoughts. And if you are romantically inclined, you can come to the shore of one of the lakes and feed the swans that will move in a graceful hurry to the shore the moment they spot you.

The Land of Chernihivshchyna boasts several beautiful parks dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries. If you travel along the route from Kyiv to Sokyryntsy to Trostyanets to Kachanivka and back in Kyiv, you will find several old parks of exquisite beauty in various stages of neglect or care. The park in Sokyryntsy, for example, still has a magnificent palace with two Italian statutes dating from the 18th century surprisingly extant. There is a Museum dedicated to the kobza, a traditional Ukrainian instrument. In Kachanivka, the central palace and the Church of St George are in a good state of preservation and there is ongoing restoration work. The church is in such good condition that services have been resumed. The old mews were converted into a small hotel so you can even stay overnight — the park is so huge and beautiful that one full day of wandering within it will leave you wishing for more.

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