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Bila Tserkva

Bila Tserkva
Bila Tserkva
The oblast biggest city (207,800 residents), regional center, is located on the banks of Ros River. The fortress was intended to protect southern borders of Kyivan Rus; Kyivan Prince Yaroslav the Wise founded it in 1032. In accordance with the contemporary traditions the city was named after the Christian name of its founder—Yuryev. Here they built the Episcopal Church (1050) which people named Bila Tserkva (White Church) and thence the new name of the city. After catastrophic destruction by Mongols in the 13th c, the city ceased to exist. Only in the mid-16th c, Kyiv Voivode S. F. Pronskiy rebuilt Bila Tserkva. In 1774, the Sejm of the Rzeczpospolita gives the city in perpetual tenure Polish Crown Hetman ? Branicki. In 1797-1798 to the west of the city the new residence of the Branickis was created and landscape park development started; it was named after the owner's wife—Olexandria. The architect Muffeau was the author and first manager of the project. In addition to the palace, he designed four outhouses for guests, dancing pavilion, colonnade-amphitheater "Luna", Rotunda etc. At the bottom of three gullies with springs, they built ponds, fountains, and waterfalls, as well as Chinese and arch bridges. The park was decorated with numerous marble and bronze sculptures of good quality. There worked a pleiad of known gardeners, but August Ens worked the longest (more than half as century) and modeled it as an accomplished work of art. Presently the Olexandria Park, boasting the annual attendance of tenth of thousands of visitors, has about 1800 types of plants on 2,97km2. Besides the park buildings, the Branickis sponsored construction of several buildings, which are the best architectural attractions of Bila Tserkva today. The Winter Palace and Assembly House of the Nobility (19th c), rows of stalls (1809-1814) and warehouses (early 19th c), ensemble of post-office buildings (1825-1831) and gymnasium house (mid-19th c), in which there is Agrarian University now. Not every regional city in the country can boast such number of preserved old civil buildings. Among buildings for public worship, there is the classical Roman Catholic Church of John the Baptist (1812). It was built in the prestige place of Bila Tserkva, on the Zamkova Hill, where once the church stood, which gave its name to the city.
The stylistically resembling Transfiguration Cathedral was built in 1833-1839 as an acknowledgement of religious preference of most citizens. Another orthodox temple—St. Nicholas Church—was under construction for a century and a half (1706-1852). Under Soviet domination, Bila Tserkva became the most developed industrial center of Kyiv Oblast. One of the best provincial museums of local lore, history, and economy was opened in an original and specially equipped house. Besides the traditional exposition about history, there are a number of preserved pictures from the collection of Branickis on the display.


 
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