Start your Vinnytsia tour from «vulytsia» Soborna, the main street of the city, where each building has a unique history. Don't miss the building of Vinnytsia Regional Universal «K. A. Timiriazev» Library, designed at the begi nning of the 20,h century by G. G. Artynov, Chief City Architect.
30 houses, erected according to Grygoriy Artynov's design, persisted until now in Vinnytsia, from approximately 39 buildings, built by the first city architect.
It's hard to imagine today's Soborna street without city theatre (1910), mu- nicipal school No.2 (1900, former women's ministerial classical school), courts building (1911, former district court and city council), «Medicinal Herbs» shop (Richer's house), «Ukraina» Hotel (1912, former «Savoy» Hotel), Vinnytsia General Commodity Exchange and the Chamber of Commerce and Trade (1911, former municipal Duma — City Hall) and others.
In his explanatory note to the Library design Artynov emphasized that he took American libraries as a model while developing the project. The reason was simple: according to Artynov, they (American libraries) «represent optimal solution for preserving book treasures and providing free public access to them».
Vinnytsia Regional Universal «K. A. Timiriazev» Library celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Now it plays a significant role in the spiritual life of the city, being the center of cultural, scientific and informational events, and sharing invaluable knowledge with Vinnytsia residents and guests. If you visit the Library, you will be introduced in its glorious history, lasting since remote 1907, and immersed into the world of precious antique books and rare editions, selected and preserved during a century by librarians. This collection includes incunabula and paleotypes, the Cyril printing books published in 18th—first quarter of 19,h century, lifetime and rare publications of books by Ukrainian, Russian and world classics in fiction, science and art, works by politicians and prominent public figures, Ukrainian and Russian books published in 1917 and during Civil War period, as well as rare periodicals, almanacs and digests. You will be able to see one of the famous giant incunabula, «The Book of Chronicles» (Nuremberg, 1493), illust- rated by numerous engravings representing views of Biblical and Medieval cities, portraits of historical personalities since the beginning of time. You also will see the consummate masterpieces of printing art: Elsevires, illustrated publications, miniatures and giant books, along with unusual patterns of bindings and covers. The Library can boast of books from the private libraries of the Count L. P. Geiden, V. P. Desin, K. Podvysotskyi, of books with autographs by S. Pototska, Y. de Vitte, S. Stempovskyi. The pride of the Library arc the books printed by top publishers such as Brockhaus and Efron, Wolf, Glazunov, Mamontov, Marx, Pavlenkov, Plavilshchikov, Sytin, Soskin, etc.
The Library's personnel have been always holding in reverence the name of N. A. Borshchevska, who saved rare books from destruction during Nazi occupation of the city. Courageous lady, defying mortal danger, sheltered books at the vaults of former city Wall.
Library visitors get charmed by harmonious combination of the antique and the modern in Library's interior. «Timiriazev» Library today is a cultural, scientific, educational center, and the site of study and popularization of local history and tradition, discharging its mission with use of cutting-edge information technologies.
Academy Music and Drama «M. Sadovskyi» Theatre is another favorite venue of Vinnytsia intellectuals. Its premises were built in 1910 by Grygoriy Artynov, and partially reconstructed in 1948. The theatre is the pride of the city, focus of its artistic life, harbor of spiritual, eternal and peerless.
Initially the theatre was offering its stage to touring companies, but since 1920 Gnat Iura organized local drama troupe, giving performances in Vinnytsia on continuing basis, and including such names as Amvrosiy Buchma, Oleksiy Vatulia, Volodymyr Sokyrko, Feodosiya Barvinska and others. This company in 1923 moved to Kharkiv, and in 1926 to Kyiv, where they founded famous Ivan Franko Theatre, existing until now.
Today Vinnytsia Academy Theatre is one of the best Ukrainian theatres at the regional level. It offers to the audience performances of various genres, having repertoire able to satisfy the most exigent theatergoers. The company is actively touring, being in particular demand in the Western Ukraine. Local actors welcome with joy and interest their colleagues coming to Vinnytsia from the different parts of the world. In short, Vinnytsia can boast of a plenty of theatre events and guest performers. Hard to believe? Come to the theatre and see it yourself!
Three-storyed building of the former Municipal Duma (City Hall, 1911), not far from the crossing of Soborna and Kozytskogo streets, won't remain unnoticed, when taking a walk downtown. Municipal Duma was built by Artynov in «modern Greek» style. Heavy, fluted semicolumns of Doric order, bearing originally interpreted pediment, and large pattern on «Greek» parapet are neighboring with high window rectangles of modern style, with city coat of arms above them, representing the following: «golden hooks» and «two swords», in the form of sabres. As for the colour concept of the interior, the whole building was once called «The White Room», memorable for its revolutionary Soviet past: the Soviet rule was proclaimed here on 17th of January 1918.
At some distance, on the crossroad, there is another Artynov's pearl, hotel «Savoy» in the past, one of the Vinnytsia most beautiful buildings at present. «Savoy» is an eclectic building, remarkable for thorough elaboration of every de- tail in its design, emphasizing luxury and taste. Sixth floor used to be a penthouse. Commemorative plaque at the entrance reminds the events of the Civil War: in March 1919 the Hotel was a residence of Headquarters of the First Soviet Ukrainian Division under the command of N. A. Shchors.
Walking down Kozytskogo Street, along the respectable, formerly for rent, apartment houses, you will find a big red brick tower in the corner of small public garden. Panoramic view of the city will reward those who venture to climb the upper floor of the water tower, built at the beginning of 20lh century, with tower clocks and the fire bridge. City Tower, a silent witness of upheavals and storms of the past century... There is a Museum of Afghan War soldiers in the premises of the Tower now. Exhibits include photographs, letters and personal belongings, giving idea of life and personality of the soldiers born in Vinnytsia, who were struggling in Afghanistan War.
Down in the small public garden there is a Memorial honoring the heroes of Revolution, Civil War and Great Patriotic War. There is a tomb of Petro Zaporozhets, Lenin's comrade-in-arms, member of Saint Petersburg «Union for Liberation of Proletariate".
If you happen to visit Memorial on weekend you'll see the brides in white wedding dresses laying flowers to the pedestal of the Memorial to honor those who have fallen during the World War II.
There is a commemorative plaque on one of the houses on Grushevskyi Street, reminding that in 1925-1927 Ian Fabritsius, corps commander and Civil War hero, lived there.
Some of the neighboring buildings are of architectural interest too: one of them was built in baroque style, another — in art nouveau, with beautiful basrelief, realistically representing Diana hunting.
Eclectic tall building on the steep bank of Pivdennyi Bug river, at the beginning of Kozytskogo Street, was erected with use of the latest construction tech- niques and materials of early 20,h century: reinforced concrete, steel, quarrystone and brick masonry. The house was built for a rich Odessa merchant of Greek origin, whose name was Kumbary. The name outlived his bearer for decades, having given denomination to the popular Vinnytsia beach.
When taking a walk down Soborna street, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Local Ethnography Museum, displaying its exhibits in reconstructed histori- cal City Walls («Mury»). Museum's collection counts over 90 thousand items (a lot of which are unique), belonging to the local nature, history, archeology and ethnography.
A big number of important exhibits were added to the Museum's collection within the last decades. Some of the displays have international importance, they are archeological findings and came to the possession of Museum after completion of excavations in 1984-1992. One of the most exciting and important findings, discovered at Porogy village (Yampil region), was a sepulcher of Sarmat tribal chief (the 1st century AD).
Wonderful pieces of gold jewelry: grivna (necklace), pendants, bracelets, waist buckles, as well as the arms from the tomb were displayed at many European exhi- bitions, in Italy, Finland, and Germany. In 1986 the most ancient golden items ever made on the territory of Ukraine, were found in the vicinities of Gordiivka village (Trostianets region). The pieces were attributed to the Bronze Age, the tumuli (burial mounds), they originate from, are over 3-3.5 thousand years old. In 1992 the tomb of Sarmat pagan priestess, with all accessories, was found at Severynivka village of Yampil region. This finding is one of the very few relics of such scale, discovered in the national territory during the entire history of Ukrainian archeology.
Other pride of the Museum is an extremely valuable collection, obtained as a result of excavations and study performed by professor I. Vynokur from Kamianets-Podilskyi University. The unique set of jewelry, found by scientist, was made by a craftsman belonging to Eastern Slavs: it's so called Bernashiv set, attributed to the middle of the 1st millennium of Christian era.
Diorama «Polish Army Defeat by Cossacks under Ivan Bogun Command. Vinnytsia, March 1651» will capture attention of visitors interested in history. Exhibition was made by the artists belonging to Grekov's school: M. I. Ananiev, P. I. Zhygmont, G. I. Marchenko.
One of the Museum sections tells the history of education and schools in Podillya region, and includes several stands dedicated to the prominent figures of culture and science, who lived and worked in the city and oblast. Another exposition recalls tragic periods in the history of Vinnytsia: the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Podillya region, mass extermination of population by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) in 1937-1938. Big exposition reconstructs events of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).
One room is dedicated to the history of arts and crafts, and includes memorabilia relating to the spiritual life of Vinnytsia. A lot of ethnographic items give to the visitors the idea of ethnic origin, history, manufacture and housework, everyday life and culture of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, and Jews, who lived here.
Museum has a big collection of bright women chemises and men shirts, with rich embroidery, characteristic to Podillya's centuries-long tradition. Collection also includes a lot of weaved items, and, in particular, carpets, as this craft was an essential part of housework of each Ukrainian family in rural area. During the centuries pottery production was a common trade for Ukrainian families in Podillya region, so the pottery possesses an appropriate place in Museum's ethnographic collection, offering to the visitors a big variety of patterns, all with ethnic flavor and finesse. Collection includes such items of spiritual culture as painted Easter eggs, paper-lace ornaments (paper-cutting), folk-art paintings and icons. Unique pieces of the collection represent items produced by local craftsmen: blacksmiths, fur dressers, fishermen, hunters, coopers, etc.
Local Ethnography Museum's collection is a spiritual heritage of the region, reminding us where we descend from, when our ancestors settled in these lands, what living habits they had, what clothing they wore, which kind of tools they used to till the land. Visiting the Museum we learn the traditions our progenitors maintained during generations, the deities they worshiped, the rules according to which they taught and educated their children, and, finally, the force due to which our grandfathers defended their motherland from infinite invaders. Museum exposition narrates, teaches, cautions, makes us thoughtfully see the life and apprehend its enduring values.
On the former city Walls territory (so called «Mury»), in a quiet place, next to Local Ethnography Museum, you'll find Vinnytsia Regional Art Museum, founded in 1919.
Connoisseurs of art will enjoy the collection of Duchess Maria Shcherbatova (maiden name Pototska), from her palace in Nemyriv. Collection includes paintings by famous artists of 17th—19lh centuries from Eastern and Western Europe: Th. Rombouts, Ph. Wouverman, E. Bertier, M. Bacciarelli, J. Lampi Senior, R. Schuster, B. Rode, A. Schrier, L. Maier, O. Frommel, A. Roslin, M. Quadal, G. Kugelgen, Misevic, L Yasinskiy, P. Stakhevich, V. Smokovskiy, L. Goroviz, L Simler, T. Holpain, I. Repin, V. Polenov, K. Briullov, K. Savitskiy, L Kozakov, I. Svetlitskiy, E. Bukovetskiy, A. Kaigorodov, P. Nilus, O. Novakovskiy, V. Orlovskiy, A. Manevich, G. Golovkov. Works by other outstanding artists are present in the Museum, including the pieces of modern art.
Vinnytsia Art Museum can boast of the collection of graphic artworks of the 18yh-20thcenturies, including works by J. P. Norblin, A. Orlovskiy, C. Tinti, G. Volpato, N. Orda, K. Trutovskiy, V. Kasian, G. Iakutovich and others. Museum's exhibits also include an impressive collection of 17,h century Italian majolica, porcelain pro- duced in the 17th—20,h centuries by renowned porcelain works of Europe, Ukraine and Russia, sculpture, antique furniture, rich collection of folk arts and crafts (embroidery, handwoven items, ceramics, painted Easter eggs, paper-lace ornaments, wood engraving, glass-work, frescoes), easel folk-art paintings and folk icons.
Not far from both museums there is a majestic Holy Transfiguration Cathedral.
Vinnytsia Cathedral bears the name of the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral since respectively not very long ago. The first cathedral in Vinnytsia was named in honor of Saints Cosmas and Damian. The history of this church started centuries ago, along with the history of the city itself. At that time it was a small fortress on the beach of the Bog river. From the description of this fortress, dated 1552, we learn that among the settlement's houses there was a household of the «priest of Cosmas and Damian church». Thus, we can deduct that the church bearing this name did exist in Vinnytsia or in its suburbs in that period, but we know for sure that since the 18th century it gained the status of the cathedral and subsisted until 1832.
Everybody in Vinnytsia knows that Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi was born and lived here, but few people are aware that the prominent Ukrainian writer had also accepted the sacraments of baptism and marriage in the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral. The child was baptized in 1864 by the Senior Priest, Father Porfiriy Voznesenskiy.
20th century became the time of ordeal for the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral. In 1922 it was plundered by Soviets. Twice it was closed down and stopped functioning as a building for public worship: in 1930 local authorities made a warehouse for rubber items in there, and in 1962 they organized a gym.
In '80 there was a concert hall for chamber and organ music in the premises of the church, which (the hall) subsisted until 1990, when the city and oblast government decided to return the cathedral back to ecclesiastical authorities. Across the Soborna street the Catholic convent and Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Virgin of Angels rise above the neighboring buildings. The Convent was founded in 1744, by Capuchin Franciscan Friars order. The Cathedral was built at the beginning of 20th century, served as a lecture-hall during the Soviet era, and was later returned to the Vinnytsia catholic community.
Catholic convent and Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Virgin of Angels
Walking down by the same side of Soborna Street you will find Lifshitz Synagogue, built in 1897 (Regional Philharmonic Society, in Soviet time). In 1992 the building was transferred back to the Jewish community of the city.
For those keen on sacral architecture masterpieces, visiting St. Nicolas the Miracle-Worker Church is a must. The Church rises above the Pivdennyi Bug river, standing on the granite upland of its left bank, in the most picturesque part of the Old City.
The church is built of oak logs, and represents a wonderful piece of the art of wooden architecture by Podillya craftsmen, in late Baroque style. You will see a typical for Southwestern Ukraine three-tier church with gallery, belting the whole church's perimeter. Truncated angles add a particular finesse to the cribwork, as they form three octahedrons, gradually converging upwards. Traditional inscription on the doorpost says: «Due to endeavour of the churchwarden Anton Postelnik, in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Was built this St. Nicolas Church the year 1746 AD, the month of April, on the eleventh day». On August 31st of the same year the Church was consecrated for public liturgy. The Church was erected on the place of the old wooden St. Nicolas church, burnt to ashes by Polish general Chaplinsky. From Soborna Street you can easily access the Vinnytsia «Maxim Gorkiy» Central City Park, a national landscape reserve with the area of 40 ha. Located in the very heart of the city, the park is always pleasing the eye: glittering in the sun in spring, attracting the visitors by fresh green in summer, gladdening the eye with the yellow, orange and red in autumn, and by white snow piles in winter.
The Park is a place to spend your leisure hours, a venue for many cultural events and amusements.
Planetarium is one of such amusements, where a lot of people come to observe stellar sky during four seasons.
During the last 40 years «Melodia» Band has been always contributing to good mood of all city festivities, for which Vinnytsia citizens and guests usually gather in the Park. Some important dates are always celebrated there, such as the Spring of Liberation, the Victory Day, Constitution Day, etc.
There are 40 amusement points in the Park: 21 rides and attractions, and 19 game machines.
Many generations of Vinnytsia citizens enjoyed this oasis of green, this wonderful place for pastime and leisure.
On the left bank of the Pivdennyi Bug river there is an ordinary single-storey building, looking as traditional Podillya peasant «two-room house, divided by a hallway». The building was erected in 1820 in the poor district «Zamostia» («Transpontine»), or «Zavalie», and does not belong to architectural relics. But the name of the person, born in this house in 1864, is well known all over the world. The yard is buried in flowers, especially in flaming carnations. In the center of flower- beds there is a big agave, which «blossoms to die, and dies to blossom», according to saying of Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi, a Great sun-worshiper, who was born and lived here for thirty-three years. Since 1927 the house hosted Kotsiubynskyi's mu- seum. There is a commemorative plaque on the house on Soborna street, reminding to the visitors that in October 1891 in this big pretentious building in «Russian» style (former vocational school, erected in 1890), Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi, being an external student, successfully completed examination and gained quali- fication of people's schools teacher. Amazing and instructive are the exhibits of Kotsiubynskyi Museum. Literature memorial of the «Great sun-worshiper», classic of the Ukrainian literature, is a popular place of interest of Vinnytsia citizens and guests, a nucleus attracting local talented youth.
The last 20 years of the illustrious surgeon Nikolay Pirogov's life were associated with Vinnytsia. Great scholar, founder of the field surgery, father of the Russian Red Cross, author of «Topographic Anatomy» in four volumes, doctor who saved life to the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, all these definitions refer to Nikolay Pirogov. His estate near Vinnytsia was transformed into museum, with small church and necropolis on its territory, frequently visited by guests of our city, and crowded with school groups on weekends.
We are proud of being the homeland of Mykola Leontovych, Ukrainian composer, collector of folk songs.
Municipal choir and folk dance group «Barvinok» are bringing fame to Vinnytsia, representing Ukraine and its talents all over the world. Vinnytsia City Chamber Choir gladdens the audience with splendid performances and vast repertoire, which includes over 200 pieces, from Renaissance to the modern. For deep-felt and skillful performance of sacred music the Choir was honored the right to perform during the audience of the Pope John Paul II, and received his high appraisal and benediction. The Choir also presented Ukrainian choral singing art at Poland, Hungary, France and Slovakia, Romania, Austria and Germany. Music art connoisseurs will appreciate masterly execution by «Arkata» Chamber Orchestra (Vinnytsia oblast Philharmonic Society). The Orchestra played over 650 concerts in every small town of Vinnytsia oblast, as well as in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr, Kaniv, Ostrog, Krakow, Wroclaw, Lezhaisk, Mogyliv, Odessa, etc.
List of the Vinnytsia famous citizens, remembered with gratitude by further generations, also include town elder Iatsko Palagenko, put to death by Polish gentry for defending city's independence, Haidamak leader Gryva, country philosopher Semen Oliynychuk, artist of international fame Nathan Altman, expert in Podillya history Joseph-Anthony Rolle and Vinnytsia history researcher Valentyn Otamanovskyi, Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Stelmakh and other citizens, who contributed to the glorious history of our city.
Welcome to Vinnytsia, a melting pot for many cultures, languages, traditions and customs, a picturesque city, immersed into the green of parks and forests on the banks of Pivdennyi Bug River, a city with its own character, unique aura and inviting atmosphere.
Come to this singular place, and you'll surely find new friends, impressions and opportunities.
Vinnytsia cordially welcomes you, being always glad to offer you the best, to make your stay here pleasant, comfortable and interesting.
Tourist Vinnychyna. Ethnography Guide. Comp. of ukr. text O. Kizian