Bila Tserkva

Bila Tserkva (рус. – Белая Церковь, укр. – Біла Церква) straddles the picturesque banks of the Ros’ river. The Castle Hill rises in the center of the town as if a silent witness of history. Kyiv Prince Yaroslav the Wise had a fortress called Yuriiv built to defend southern borders of Kyiv State from devastating raids of the Polovtsy. During 1050-1057 a white-walled church grew on the Castle Hill, it could be seen from afar and it impressed with its lightness and beauty. It is quite possible that the people of Porossia simply called the town «Bila Tserkva».

Bila Tserkva has more than one glorious page in the chronicles of struggle for liberation of Ukrainian nation. The town was plundered by Tatar invaders, and burnt by Polish nobility, but its people would not subject and would take up weapons and rise in struggle against the oppressors. After the defeat at Berestechko in summer of 1651 the troops of Khmel’nyts’kyi laid their camp by Bila Tserkva, and there they signed an agreement between Poland and the Cossacks. In accordance with that agreement the Cossacks’ register was reduced to 20,000 and the authority of Het’man was limited. But the Polish Seym did not ratify the agreement (it was then that the Lithuanian Duke used the right of veto for the first time), and this way Bohdan Khmel’nyts’kyi received a break, by using which he managed to call up the additional troops to increase its strength. It is from here that Bohdan Khmel’nyts’kyi sent out 60 decrees in Ukraine, calling for struggle. In autumn of 1651 the troop of Khmel’nyts’kyi defeated Polish troops at Bila Tserkva. In the early eighteenth century Bila Tserkva became famous for the peasants’ movement. During the siege of the town by insurgent peasants in 1702 Fastiv Colonel Semen Palii not only joined the uprising but also led it. Residence of Palii was moved to that town as well.

The Hill of Palii — there is such a cliffy hill in the town park. It commemorates Semen Palii.

Bila Tserkva is famous for numerous architectural sites: St Michael’s church, built in 1706, architectural sites of Oleksandria dendropark, Holy Transfiguration cathedral, St Mary Magdalene church, Roman-Catholic cathedral, and market stalls.

Oleksandria dendropark was established in 1793 — 1799. The architects Muffo and D. Botani, and the gardener August Stange developed the project and were the first builders of it. This is the sample of a landscape park of the late eighteenth century, having over 1,300 plant specimens from different regions of the world. Sunlit clearings and shadowed alleys, artificial lakes, waterfalls, architectural constructions of a rare beauty remind of skilled folk craftsmen, who created this miracle.

«Quietly shines the Moon from afar over Bila Tserkva…» — this line of Pushkin probably was created in the old park’s alleys. Great Russian poet admired its inscrutable beauty. Taras Shevchenko visited this place as well; the Decembrists held their meetings to discuss the plots to assassinate the Tsar, and the members of the Southern Society, S. Muraviov-Apostol and M. Bestuzhev-Riumin, discussed draft constitution of Russia here.