«The town of Vasil’kov, 37 versts from Kiev, on the left bank of the Stuhna river, is spread out among ravines and hills, and possesses quite a picturesque location. The stone St Antonii’s and St Feodosii’s Cathedral rises over the town among the flanking ramparts». This is how a Ukrainian regional lore researcher, L. Pokhylevych wrote about Va-syl’kiv in the mid-nineteenth century.
Vasyl’kiv is one of the most ancient towns in Kyiv region. Prince Volodymyr, son of Sviatoslav, called it Vasyliv — by his new name, which he took after his conversion to Christianity. The first annalistic record of Vasyliv dates back to 996, when Prince Volodymyr engaged the troops of Pechenihs under the walls of Vasyliv, and was defeated, hardly having an opportunity to escape. That took place on the day of Holy Transfiguration, and Prince vowed to build a church. The dedication of the new church was celebrated In a year during eight days. The Prince allegedly said his famous words then: «Drinking is the joy of Rus’, and it cannot make do without it…»
It is in those times that Vasyliv played a noticeable role in economic and political life of the Rusichi. The so-called Vasyliv trade route to the Western European countries went here. The town became famous as an important strategic place on the
approaches to Kyiv: earthen ramparts and deep moats filled by the Stuhna river, were a considerable obstacle for the numerous enemies, trying to seize Vasyliv.
They began to call the town by name of Vasyl’kiv in 1157, when Vasyl’ko, a son of Kyiv Prince Yurii, son of Volodymyr, received it in apanage.
Vasyl’kiv has experienced a lot during its history. Since 1240 Mongol invaders ruled it, and they reduced a picturesque town to ashen waste ground. In the second half of the thirteenth century Vasyl’kiv was handed over to the Kyiv Caves Monastery. It is believed that St Feodosii Pechers’kyi, the Father-superior of the Kyiv Caves Monastery, was born in Vasyl’kiv (appr. 1036 — 74). He spent some time in that town. In the early nineteenth century anyone, traveling along the Landowner’s pond could see the Vasyl’kiv Cave, in which as legend says he was saving his soul. A chapel was built at that place in the nineteenth century, and every year on 3 May, the St Feodosii’s Day, a religious procession comes here from local churches.
Vasyl’kiv was handed over to Lithuania together with Kyiv lands in the mid-fourteenth century. The town suffered a great deal of destruction during the National Liberation war in 1648-1654 led by Bohdan Khmel’nyts’kyi against the Polish nobility. Vasyl’kiv was not able to regain the lost positions for quite a long time. The revival of the town started only in the late seventeenth century.
A visitor to present-day Vasyl’kiv is sure to notice a bond of centuries in the outlines of the town. Close to the main street with cultural facilities built over the last years, there is an important cultural and historical site — St Antonii’s and St Feodosii’s Cathedral. S. Kovnir, a serf at Kyiv Caves Monastery and a stone craftsman, built it in 1758. One can also see the remains of the old fortifications called «Serpent ramparts», where Prince Yurii Dovhorukyi was garrisoned with his troops. St Michael’s Church built in 1792 is the town attraction.
And here comes a different epoch, of which a bas-relief featuring the portraits of the Decembrists is reminiscent. S. Muraviov-Apostol
and M. Bestuzhev-Riumin led the Vasyl’kiv branch of the Southern Decembrist Society. Military units garrisoned in Vasyl’kiv supported theuprising of Chernihiv regiment. On seizing the town, the insurgents moved through Velyka Motovylivka and Polohy but were quenched by the punitive force. When visiting Vasyl’kiv in 1845, T. Shevchenko first came to see the places connected with the uprising of the Decembrists. The poet believed that the ideas of the Decembrists would «come up and grow and get on in the world ».
While traveling about Vasyl’kiv district, do come to the picturesque village of Mar’ianivka. Famous modern singer I. Kozlovs’kyi was born here.
Each villager will show you the way to the small house where spent his childhood. A small fence, marigolds, mallows, snowball trees… Coziness and peace.
A church, rebuilt in the village, became a local attraction. Three kilometers away from Mar’ianivka a tumulus rises on a large field. People call it «Perep’iatykha». Legend has it that Prince Pe-rep’iat was killed by his wife Princess Perep’iatykha, who mistook him for the enemy in a night battle. Princess learnt about her mistake at dawn and committed suicide. Warriors threw up two tumu-lusus over their bodies. One is near Mar’ianivka and the other is in the village of Fastivets’, which lies ten kilometers away from Fastiv and six — from Mar’ianivka.
The village of Kovalivka straddles the boundary of Fastiv and Vasylkiv districts but falls under the territorial and administrative control of the Vasylkiv district council. Fifteen years ago it was an ordinary place in the Ukrainian backlands. Ponds on the Kam’ianka river contribute to a special climate in the Kovalivka area as the humid air of water-meadows permeates the surrounding black soils. Fertile land, hard-working people… However, the village residents could not boast a bigger income as compared to the rest of the Kyiv region. Still, a good manager has been leading the local agriculture since 1992. The village of Kovalivka has turned into a «dream land». New buildings house the school, hospital, club, and recreation facilities. A new church, administrative buildings and many others have been built. The available ponds embellish the village; white and black swans settled there while the pond banks look like in a park, adorned with openwork metal bridges. Agriculture has also seen fundamental changes for the better. For instance, cattle-sheds have been reconditioned for imported Dutch cows. Record-breaking milk yields from the new livestock increased the income of the village residents. This is the reason why the employees at the Svi-tanok agricultural company (almost all of them live in the village) that replaced the former Kovalivka sov-khoz, get a regular and substantial pay and enjoy a stable future. Come to Kovalivka and see the way the modern Ukrainian province should look like! This tour will introduce you to the cutting-edge experience in increasing the «village living standards», please your aesthetic feelings and provide you with a good rest. The village has got all it takes for this to come true!