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Poltava, Ukraine

Dykanka Poltava Reviews

vicIII vicIII
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A Day Trip to Dykanka Mar 06, 2018
If you can allow a day trip, visit the town of Dykan'ka (“Dikanka” in Russian) located to the north of Poltava (half an hour ride by bus).

Nikolay Gogol described the peasants’ life here in his famous book "Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka". Here is a link to the good old Soviet movie after Gogol’s book with English subtitles that I would recommend seeing (one part after another): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8nlYLb2E4I&list=PL5MEYjc5Ow6B9XQpcabGpYPPATAqn9iTi

The town is located 25 kilometers to the north of Poltava. To get there, you have to take a bus at Bus Station No.2 (that we call AC-2) located round the corner from Zygin Square.

The Arc de Triomphe of Dykan’ka was the first thing we saw upon our arrival. There is an inscription on the column that reads, “In memory of the visit of His Majesty Emperor Alexander I. August 3, 1820”. The arch was built after Roman triumphal arches. The width of its central passage is 3.38 m and the width of its side aisles is 1.74 m. The Arc de Triomphe of Dykan’ka has eight columns supporting the entablature and cornice, the central part of which ends as a tiered attic. Originally, there were gilded bronze bas-reliefs representing the events of the Russian-French War of 1812. However, many people thought they were made of massive gold indeed, and stole them at their first opportunity after the Bolshevik coup of 1917.

The total size of the arch is: length - 11.7 m, width - 3.08 m, height - 10.7 m.

It is also a great pleasure take a walk through the lilac grove. We visited St.Nickolas Cathedral, the pond, Savior’s Church here. There is also a Gogol monument built by a local artist in 1952.

Dykan’ka is an ancient Ukrainian village, which charmed famous Ukrainian poets, writers and composers such as Grigoriy Kvitka-Osnovyanenko (1778-1843), Panas Mirny (1849-1920), Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) . Alexander Pushkin had never been to Dikanka, but nonetheless masterly described the local countryside. The noble representatives of an old family of the Kochubeys used to live here. Their names are forever inscribed in the history of Ukraine. This ancient village is now a small city of Poltava region and a district center. Here you can see four trees that still remember the ancient times of the 17th century. They are called Kochubey oaks and are over 300 years old. The height of some of those giants reaches twenty meters.

The name of Dykan’ka is first of all associated with the name of Nikolai Gogol. We visited Gogol Park located in the center of the town and saw two monuments there. At first, we saw a war memorial that stands on the mass grave of the victims of fascism. Here eleven Soviet citizens who had been killed by the Nazis in 1941-1943 were buried. The vertical granite stele was installed on the mass grave in 1957. There is an image of a moruning mother and a commemorative inscription in Ukrainian in golden letters. The inscription reads, “To the victims of fascism. 1941-1943. from the working people of Dikanka.”

Gogol monument stands in the middle of the park. The sculpture was made by an amateur artists from Dykan’ka – a simply worker. The inscription on the pedestal is in Ukrainian. It reads, “To the outstanding Russian writer Nickolai Vassilyevich Gogol from the working people of Dykan’ka District. March 4, 1952”.

Dykan’ka (“Dikan’ka” in Russian) is an urban settlement now. It is located on the banks of the River Vorskla, surrounded by a dense forest reserve. They say even the name of the area is connected with impassable wild groves that in the past surrounded the village on all sides. The Ukrainian word “dykyi” means “wild”. In another version, the settlement got its name after its first inhabitant – Dykoon the Savage.

However, according to the history, Scythians were the first settlers here, as evidenced by archaeological finds dating back to the 6th century B.C. Based on their research, many scientists believe that the name “Dikan" derived from the Turkic "dekhan" - "farmer", because in the 15th century these lands were given to Leksadi Mansurksan, a Tatar nobleman, who later became Prince Alexander Glinsky. So the ancient owner of this place must have called it %bFarmer’s Village%b using that Turkic word.

If you move to the east of the town of Dykan’ka, you can find the remains of an underground cave city - the cave monastery. The monastery served the monks until 1602 when they suddenly left it. No one knows why they left the hermitage. If you go on a day trip to this area and have some spare time, do not miss this place.

St.Nicholas Church was built in 1794 to replace an old wooden church that stood on the outskirts of Dykan'ka. The project was developed in the classical style of the era by a well-known architect Nickoai Lvov (1753 – 1804). He was the first to use the double dome system. The carved iconostasis made of bog oak deserves a particular attention. There is a family tomb of the Kochubeys in the church basement. Here five princes and three princess of this family were buried. In addition, you can see a bell tower next to the church. It was erected in 1810-1827 and designed by Luigi Rusca (1762–1822), a well-known Neoclassical architect from Ticino who worked in Ukraine.

Like hundreds of other visitors, we were impressed by the carved iconostasis made of oak. It was erected in 1851-1852. The work was performed by Ukrainian serf workers who had been instructed in Italy. The woodcarving makes the entire iconostasis unique and very impressive.

The wonder-working icon of St.Nickolas the Miracle-Maker is one of the treasures of this church. The icon is located to the right of the Savior’s icon and is enframed in a gilded frame. According to a legend, Nickolai Gogol’s mother prayed in front of this icon when she came here on foot from her village (35 km). When a son was born, she called it after St.Nickolas.

Here is a small clip about the belfry of the cathedral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvO6fWdAf78

Trinity Church was built in 1780 in the late Baroque style. It has the shape of a cross on the design drawing. It is the only monument of architecture, closely associated with the work of Nickolai Gogol, who often visited it. According to a popular legend, Vakula the Smith, a character from the story "The Night Before Christmas", used to frequent this church.

The Lilac Grove, the nation’s natural heritage, was founded in 1822. The grove may please the eyes of flora lovers. Victor Kochubei, the landlord, ordered to plant lilacs for his daughter Gallina, who was ill with tuberculosis of bones. Kochubei chose the former clay quarry. He ordered to bring dozens of sorts of lilac from all over the world. Unfortunately, there is only one sort of lilac in this grove now and there are only about 40 species of lilacs here.

"Songs of the Lilac Grove" Music Festival takes place here when lilacs blossom in Dykanka.

About the Lilac Grive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR1nYcICL34

Here are some more useful links for you:

Dykanka guided tour : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqwlvW3TES8

Arriving to Dykanka : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_l9C4NWiCs

Dykanka for tourists : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqRtBh1Enzs

Dykan’ka was first mentioned in chronicles of 1658 as an arena of battle of the Ukrainians insurgents under the leadership of Martin Pushkar with the detachment of Ivan Serbin units, wheh Cossacks fought Cossacks. It happened during the rule of Ivan Vygovsky, the Ukrainian Hetman who followed the victorious Bohdan Khmelnitsky, but tended to reunite with the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth, which cause a number of uprisings. The place of the bloody battle of 1658 is still called Serbin Field.

You can see four ancient oaks at the very entrance to Dykan'ka. They are called Kochubei’s Oaks. These giant trees are considered to be from 600 to 800 years old. Their height is from 20 to 22 meters, and their diameter is from 150 to 185 cm. These oaks were glorified by Alexander Pushkin in his famous poem "Poltava". According to the popular legend, Motria Kochubei met with Hetman Mazepa under these oaks when they were still young.

There is a well-known historical museum in Dykan’ka. Its full name is Dmytro Garmash Historical Museum. It has nine halls that contains more than 8,000 exhibits, among them the chest of Vakula the Smith, the finds from a Scythian burial and other unique archaeological finds. In short, your visit to Dykan’ka may not be complete, if you miss this museum – your “travel mission” may only be over after you have visited it!

Historical Poltava : http://poltavahistory.inf.ua/trip_r_1_2.html

In the center of the village of Dikanka, in Gogol Park, there is a mass grave of the victims of fascism. Here 11 Soviet citizens, who were killed by the Nazis in 1941-1943, were buried. In 1957, a stele was installed on the mass grave. It is a vertical granite stone with a commemorative inscription.

On the way back to Poltava, make a stop at the farmstead of Prony. There is a real tavern called after the name of Gogol’s novel «Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka". This is where you can taste dumplings of Solokha, Cossack’s potatoes from Vakula the Smith, Ukrainian borshch seasoned with bacon, with garlic donuts. It is not even just a cafe, but also a real historical and cultural complex where you can feel the local flair.
City entry road sign
The Arc de Triomphe of Dykan’ka
Kochubey's Estate Inn
Kochubey's Estate Inn
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Suusj says:
Congrats on the feature :).
Posted on: Mar 15, 2018
Toonsarah says:
Congrats on this featured review Victor - such a thorough one and really interesting!
Posted on: Mar 14, 2018
starship1 says:
Victor, congrats on this featured review! It's very comprehensive.
Posted on: Mar 14, 2018
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