Kaniv is a beautiful town situated not far from Cherkassy, a couple hours south of Kyiv, and itís very popular among tourists. One of the main reasons is that the great Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko is buried here, on the aptly named Tarasova Mountain. The mountain and the pretty area around it make up a national reserve, featuring a museum dedicated to the great man and observation points from which you can look over the Dnipro. Getting to the top of the mountain takes about an hour on foot, or you can take the bus. The locals would advise you to walk and admire the reserveís unique natural surroundings. Kaniv itself is a small town with narrow streets full of souvenir shops and street cafes where all the tourists like to chill after their exertions. Itís rather easy to get to Kaniv from Kyiv. Buses leave everyday, several times a day, from the central bus station. In summer you can go to Kaniv by boat along the Dnipro, if you get up early enough and get to the River Station on time.
Uman is one of the biggest towns in Cherkassy region, and itís worth seeing because of its famous Sofiyivka dendropark, 155 hectares in size, planted by a rich Polish aristocrat at the end of the 18th century, in honour of his wife, Sofia. When you visit this huge park, a veritable museum of nature, you feel like youíre in a fairy tale. Or maybe in a poem by Ovid, as the central part of the park was inspired by Greek and Roman architectural and landscape motifs, and the grounds are scattered with classical-style statues and temples. This is a world monument of the art of the gardener and the landscape architect, and itís worth spending at least a day in it. You can walk around the park or take a boat along its meandering waterways and lagoons. The easiest way to get to Uman is to take a bus. The local bus station is open 24/7.
Poltava is definitely one of the best places to go within a reasonable distance of Kyiv. It is situated in central Ukraine, so you can easily get there by bus or by train. This ancient town has a lot of sights and beautiful places. The centre of the old city is a semicircular neoclassical square with a Tuscan column of cast iron, commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Poltava, where Peter the Great defeated Charles XII in 1709, and featuring 18 captured Swedish cannons. Peter celebrated his victory in the Saviour church, and this 17th-century wooden shrine has been carefully preserved to this day. The five-domed city cathedral, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Cross, is a superb monument of Cossack Baroque building. Another gorgeous Baroque church, consecrated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, was destroyed in 1934 and rebuilt in the 1990s.
This ancient city is a heaven for sightseeers and is perfect as a May holiday option. Chernihivís architectural monuments chronicle two flourishing periods in the cityís history Ė that of the Kyivan Rus (in the 11th and 12th centuries) and that of the Cossack Hetmanate (the late 17th and early 18th centuries). There are a huge number of ancient churches to see. Start from the oldest church in the whole of Ukraine, the five-domed Saviour Cathedral, commissioned in the early 1030s. Then see the Cathedral of Sts Boris and Gleb and the crowning achievement of the Chernihiv master builders, the exquisite Church of St Paraskeba. Donít forget to see the Catherine Church, either. You can also pay a visit to former Cossack mansions and residences such as the Lyzohub and Polubutok residences or the Mazepa House. One of the most profusely decorated Cossack structures is undoubtedly the ecclesiastical Collegium. There are more places to mention but the best variant is to take an electric train (which leaves four times per day from Kyiv) or a bus and go straight to this calm, park-like town.
Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi is another good place to go for a long weekend. This town is situated near Kyiv, approximately 95 km south. If you donít plan on going somewhere far from the capital but still want to see something new and interesting, Pereiaslav- Khmelnytskyi seems to be the perfect place. Besides, buses regularly go there. Whatís so interesting about it? Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi played a significant role in the history of Ukraine. In the second half of the 16th century it became a centre for the Ukrainian Cossacks. Thatís why there are a lot of memorable Cossack places there, such as Bohdan Khmelnytskyís residence or the Museum of Cossack Glory. The largest tourist attractions are the Museum of Folk Architecture, presenting the architecture and traditions of Ukrainians from ancient times up through the 19th century, including a notable collection of windmills from the 17Ė19th centuries; some excavated ruins of buildings from the 10th and 11th centuries; and St. Michaelís Church and the Ascension monastery.
Kachanivka is a wonderful attraction in the Chernihivsky region. Itís located near the village of Parafievka on the banks of the Smosh River and the reason you go there is because itís the home of the estate of the old aristocratic Tarnovsky family, dating back to the 18th century. In 2001 President Kuchma gave the park the status of national heritage site, so itís now a big museum. (In the Soviet era it was used as a hospital, among other things.) The estate features a huge palace, a beautiful park, a church, and a cascade of 12 ponds and lakes dotted around a number of smaller summerhouses. The marvellous scenery of Kachanivka was praised in verse by Taras Shevchenko, who was a guest of the Tarnovskys, and painted by the artist Vasiliy Shternberg. Repin, Hlynka, and Gogol were also guests there. You can ride a bicycle, go fishing, draw, write, or just wander around the gorgeous grounds, pretending to be a Tsarist nobleman. Getting to Kachanivka, about 250 km from Kyiv, is no problem. It can easily be reached by car, or you can enquire at various travel agencies, as they offer excursions to the reserve with transfers. The total travel time is about three hours. Tourists can stay over in a small motel, which usually costs about 40 hryvnas per night.