Ex­plore the banks of the Dnipro on a weekend getaway from the cap­i­tal

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - WITH DARIA SHULZHENKO [email protected]

Ru­ral Ukraine — it’s a place of yel­low steppes, green mead­ows, and birch and po­plar trees reach­ing to­ward the sky. It’s a land dot­ted with deep lakes, where rivers wind their way through wide fields and be­tween high hills.

It also has ev­ery­thing you need for a re­lax­ing getaway. And of­ten all of that is just a short jaunt away from the big city.

This year the Or­tho­dox Easter hol­i­day falls on April 28 and is fol­lowed by La­bor Day on May 1. That means there will be a long, five-day weekend — the per­fect time to broaden one’s hori­zons and wit­ness first­hand the beauty of the Ukrainian coun­try­side.

There’s no need to travel far from Kyiv to do it: just an hour’s drive from the cap­i­tal brings beau­ti­ful scenery and fas­ci­nat­ing his­tor­i­cal sites.

Take the road south out of Kyiv, fol­low­ing the course of the Dnirpo River, and you will find a num­ber of small towns and vil­lages with pic­turesque landscapes, trees in blos­som, and friendly lo­cals al­ways ready to wel­come new vis­i­tors.

All of these “no rush, no fuss” places are just a short dis­tance south and east of the cap­i­tal, and they are well worth a visit.

Tryp­il­lia

The an­cient set­tle­ment of Tryp­il­lia is only 49 kilo­me­ters south­east of the busy heart of Kyiv — a 50-minute drive.

The small vil­lage, whose name means “three fields,” is nestled against pic­turesque hills near the Dnipro. The name is believed to be con­nected with the vil­lage’s lo­ca­tion, as the area is split into three sec­tions by off­shoots of the river — the Stuhna, Krasna and Bo­bryt­sia. The Divych-Hora moun­tain looms over the vil­lage. While the moun­tain is rel­a­tively small, only around 55 me­ters high (more of a hill, re­ally), it’s still a good place to go hik­ing, of­fer­ing some great views of the Dnipro.

With warm weather start­ing at the end of April, a trip to Tryp­il­lia is a great choice for those who want to spend the weekend outdoors ad­mir­ing na­ture’s beauty.

How­ever, Tryp­il­lia has some­thing else to of­fer: a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory. The Kyiv Oblast

Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum is the vil­lage’s top at­trac­tion, a place where one can ex­plore the roots of Ukraine’s an­cient Tryp­il­lian cul­ture, a Ne­olithic civ­i­liza­tion that flour­ished from circa 4800 B.C. to 3500 B.C. and which was named af­ter the vil­lage.

The mu­seum has three halls, each ex­hibit­ing dif­fer­ent time pe­ri­ods: from the Stone Age, to the time of the Kyi­van Rus, to the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury.

Kyiv Oblast Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum. Tryp­il­lia. 12 Heroiv Tryp­il­lia Street. Mon-Sun, 9 a.m.— 5 p.m. Hr 20 for adults, Hr 15 for stu­dents, Hr 10 for chil­dren and re­tirees.

How to get there: Drive south out of Kyiv on the E40, then take the P01 south past Kon­cha-Zaspa, Kozyn and Tat­senky, then the H01 south out of Ukrayinka, and then turn left onto the P19 and drive east for about 7 kilo­me­ters to get to Tryp­il­lia.

Khalepia

Some five kilo­me­ters east of Tryp­il­lia is the small vil­lage of Khalepia, nestled be­tween the rivers Bo­bryt­sia and Skvyrivka.

Be­cause Khalepia is a lit­tle-known gem even for lo­cals, the place is quiet and clean, and an ideal spot for a re­lax­ing weekend getaway.

The trip from Kyiv to Khalepia takes less than 50 min­utes, as the vil­lage is lo­cated only about 55 kilo­me­ters south­east of the cap­i­tal.

Khalepia is mostly known for its lake, said to be one of the clean­est in Kyiv Oblast. Lo­cal peo­ple call the lake and its sur­round­ing area “places of power,” and no won­der — the deep blue wa­ters of Khalepia’s lake are mes­mer­iz­ing and calm, and the sight of it seems to wash away stress.

Swim­ming is al­lowed in the Khalepia lake, and it is a great es­cape from the up­com­ing sum­mer heat. How­ever, there is no road lead­ing to the lake. It can only be ac­cessed by foot. And be sure to bring snacks along too, as there are no cafes or shops nearby.

Other than that, Khalepia is also home to an old Or­tho­dox Church, founded in 1797, and two mu­se­ums ded­i­cated to the leg­endary Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko and the prom­i­nent arche­ol­o­gist Viken­tiy Khvoyka.

How to get there: Take the E40, P01, H01 and P19 to Tryp­il­lia, then follow the P19 for five kilo­me­ters east out of Tryp­il­lia, fol­low­ing the signs for Khalepia.

Vy­tachiv

Next along the river­side route from Kyiv is the his­toric vil­lage of Vy­tachiv, where one can see the re­mains of an­cient build­ings and churches.

Vy­tachiv is sit­u­ated on hills, of­fer­ing its vis­i­tors a great view over the left bank of the River Dnipro.

The vil­lage is said to have been founded in the fourth cen­tury, and it at­tracts arche­ol­o­gists from all over Ukraine search­ing for an­cient relics.

Vy­tachiv’s his­tor­i­cal struc­tures in­clude a wooden church believed to have been built with the help of Ukraine’s na­tional poet, Taras Shevchenko.

The church is sit­u­ated on one of the hills in the vil­lage near the Dnipro. Apart from that, there is a well-pre­served wooden wind­mill and an old Ukrainian house near the church.

Un­like its neigh­bor­ing vil­lage Khalepia, Vy­tachiv has a cafe of­fer­ing tra­di­tional Ukrainian food right be­side its his­tor­i­cal sites.

For those who want to go hik­ing, Vy­tachiv of­fers two hills to climb: Kra­sukha or Mo­hyla, both less than 80 me­ters in height.

How to get there: Take the E40, P01, H01 and P19 to Tryp­il­lia, follow the P19 south-east out of Khalepia for about 3 kilo­me­ters, and then take the turn to Vy­tachiv on the left.

Rzhyshchiv

Even though a trip to Rzhyshchiv takes a lit­tle bit more than an hour, it is still worth a visit.

The town, which is some 77 kilo­me­ters south of the cap­i­tal, re­quires more than a day to prop­erly ex­plore.

Rzhyshchiv is sit­u­ated near the river Lehlych and is known for the nearby “flooded church.” It was built in the 19th cen­tury, but left iso­lated on a small is­land af­ter the cre­ation of the Kaniv Reser­voir.

Be­cause it was built on a hill, the church did not wind up com­pletely un­der the reser­voir’s wa­ters. Now, be­cause the gen­eral water level in the reser­voir has fallen, the church has ended up on a small is­land in the river. There is a bridge to the is­land with the church from the left bank of the Dnipro, but get­ting there from Rzhyshchiv re­quires a trip in a small boat.

For those in­ter­ested in study­ing Ukrainian cul­ture, Rzhyshchiv has two mu­se­ums: Arche­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum and the Mu­seum of Art.

Like the other vil­lages and towns in this part of Kyiv Oblast, Rzhyshchiv has not yet be­come a top desti­na­tion for tourists. So if you’re look­ing for a quiet place to spend a fam­ily weekend close to Kyiv — Rzhyshchiv fits the bill per­fectly.

How to get there: Take the E40, P01, H01 and P19 to Tryp­il­lia, then follow the P19 east to Khalepia, and then south-east for about 20 kilo­me­ters, pass­ing through Staiky and Hrebeni, to Rzhyshchiv. ■

The sun sets over the Dnipro River in Kyiv Oblast. The banks of the Dnipro are lined by a num­ber of small towns and vil­lages with pic­turesque landscapes and fas­ci­nat­ing his­tor­i­cal sites -- per­fect for a re­lax­ing getaway from the cap­i­tal. (UNIAN)

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