Cherkasy (Ukrainian: Черкаси, transliterated: Čerkasy, pronounced [tʃerˈkɑsɪ]) is a city in central Ukraine. It is the capital of the Cherkasy Oblast (province), as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Cherkasky Raion (district) within the oblast. The city itself is also designated as its own separate raion within the oblast.
The city is cultural, educational and industrial center of Cherkasy Oblast and Central Economical Region of Ukraine. Cherkasy is famous since 13th century and played a great role in history of Ukraine. Cherkasy was the center of Cossacks; citizens took part in Khmelnychchyna and Koliyivschyna (Cossacks and peasants rebellions).
The city is located on the right bank of Dnieper River (specifically at the Kremenchuk Reservoir), about 200 km (124 mi) south of the nation's capital, Kiev. The city is divided into 2 boroughs (raions) - Sosnivskiy (with Orshanets village) and Pridniprovskiy. The current population of Cherkasy is 285,526 (as of 2010).
History of Cherkasy is not explored enough. This can be explained by the fact that the city was forming under the Russian (and later - USSR) rule, that's why some periods in the life of Cherkasy still remain undiscovered (a lot of facts were hidden; documents and material proofs were destroyed). There are few facts about the beginning of city's life, but it is a fact that Cherkasy existed in 14th century, thus it was one of the centers of Cossack movement. Citizens took part in Khmelnychchyna and Koliyivschyna. The city was very influenced by cruel social and economical experiments of soviet authorities and The Second World War. In 1954 Cherkasy became the administrative center of Cherkasy Oblast (province), the youngest oblast of Ukraine.
The first record about Cherkasy was made in 1305 and was found in Gustynskiy Chronicle, which is the Ukrainian chronicle. The city is mentioned as existing city among other Ukrainian cities - Kyiv, Kaniv, Zhytomyr and Ovruch.
Under Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Starting from 1360s, the city enters a new period in its development - it becomes a part of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Since that, Cherkasy becomes important defender of Southern borders. In 1384 the city is mentioned as fortified town on the South edge (of Grand Duchy of Lithuania), along with Vinnitsa, Bratslav and Kaniv making defensive line from Crimean Tatars. The city started to be ruled by headman (starosta).
During the end of 15th - beginning of 16th centuries the post of Cherkasy headman was held by the prominent persons of that time - Bogdan Glinskiy, Kmyta Oleksandrovych, Vasyl Dashkevych, Andriy Nemyrovych, Ostafiy Dashkevych, Vasyl Tyshkevych, and Dmytro Baida-Vyshnevetskiy etc.
During 15th-16th centuries, Cherkasy was one of the main centers that helped Cossacks in population of Ukrainian South. Citizens took part in military marches against Tatars and Turkish, including operations led by Ivan Pidkova. New Cherkasy Castle was the center of city life; it was built in 1549-52 on the place of the old one.
Under Polish rule, Khmelnytsky Uprising
After Union of Lublin in 1569 Cherkasy became a part of Poland. Cherkasy Regiment, which was created in 1625, played a big role in history of the city. During War for Independence regiment became administrative-territorial subdivision (until 1686). During that time Cherkasy Regiment was one of the most powerful military units and took part in all battles of Bohdan Khmelnytsky army.
Elimination of Polish rule gave very good results in city's development. But after several unsuccessful Cossack attacks against Poland, Bogdan Khmelnytsky had to sign union with Russian Empire. Signing supposed to be held in Cherkasy, but Polish invasion interfered. Diplomats moved to Pereyaslav, where Pereyaslivska Rada was held. After Pereyaslivska Rada, Cherkasy became a part of Poland for long time. In 1791 the city gained Magdeburg rights.
XIX - beginning of XX centuries
Since the beginning of XIX century the city was planned by Russian architect, civil engineer and town planner of Scottish descent, William Heste. After second division of Poland in 1793, Cherkasy became a part of Russian Empire. Since 1797 it was a povitove town of Kiev Governorate. In the second half of XIX century the city experienced a great economical growth. After the railroad appeared in the city, a lot of new industrial enterprises were built. Sugar, tobacco, metalwork, mechanical engineering and trade industries were at peak development at that time. Architect William Heste made a general development plan for the city, which involved building square blocks with straight streets.
XX Century (Soviet time)
After October revolution in 1917 Cherkasy got under the rule of bolshevikis. After that, however, the city changed its rule for at least 10 times - during the civil war it was conquered by hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi, then again by bolshevikis, later by Nikifor Grigoriev. On January 1, 1920, the city finally and for long time got under Soviet rule. As all villages and towns in the area, it was a victim of man-made famine in 1932-1933 (Holodomor) and a Great Purge (a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin in 1936–1938).
The Second World War damaged the city greatly. On June 22, 1941, German bombers attacked Cherkasy. For two months soldiers were defending the city, but on August 22, invaders took the city. On December 14, 1943, Cherkasy was set free from German invaders.
The Korsun–Shevchenkovsky Offensive led to the Battle of the Korsun-Cherkasy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February 1944. The offensive was part of the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded, respectively, by Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev, trapped German forces of Army Group South in a pocket near the Dnieper River. During weeks of fighting, the two Red Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket. German units inside the cauldron broke out in coordination with a relief attempt by other German forces, with “roughly two out of three” encircled men succeeding in escaping the pocket, "and almost one third of their men ... dead or prisoners
January 1944In January 1944, the German forces of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein’s Army Group South including General Otto Wöhler's 8th Army had fallen back to the Panther-Wotan Line, a defensive position along the Dnieper river in Ukraine. Two corps, the XI under Gen. Wilhelm Stemmermann, the XLII Army Corps under Lt.Gen. Theobald Lieb and the attached Corps Detachment B from the 8th Army were holding a salient into the Soviet lines extending some 100 kilometers to the Dnieper river settlement of Kanev, with the town of Korsun roughly in the center of the salient, west of Cherkassy. Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov realized the potential for destroying Wöhler’s 8th Army with the Stalingrad model as precedent and using similar tactics as were applied to defeat Paulus’ encircled 6th Army. Zhukov recommended to the Soviet Supreme Command (Stavka) to deploy 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts to form two armored rings of encirclement: an inner ring around a cauldron and then destroy the forces it contained, and an external ring to prevent relief formations from reaching the trapped units. Despite repeated warnings from Manstein and others, Hitler refused to allow the exposed units to be pulled back to safety.
General Konev held a conference at his headquarters at Boltushki on 15 January with his commanders and their political commissars to pass on the orders received from Stavka.The initial attack was to be conducted by Konev’s own 2nd Ukrainian Front from the southeast by 53rd Army and 4th Guards Army, with 5th Guards Tank Army to exploit penetrations supported by 5th Air Army, to be joined in progress by 52nd Army, 5th Guards Cavalry Corps and 2nd Tank Army. Additionally, from Vatutin’s First Ukrainian Front, 27th and 40th Armies were to be deployed from the northwest, with 6th Tank Army to exploit penetrations supported by 2nd Air Army. Many of these formations had received an inflow of new personnel. Red Army planning further included extensive deception operations that the Soviets claimed were successful, however, the German 8th Army war diary shows clearly that the German staffs was more concerned with the real threat than the simulated one
After the end of the war, the city began to recover after being almost destroyed. According to 5-year plans, the city began to re-develop its economy, infrastructure and socio-cultural sphere. In 1954 the city became the administrative center of Cherkasy Oblast (province), the youngest among all in Ukraine. In 1960s Cherkasy became the chemical giant of Ukrainian SSR, after "Azot" (the biggest nitrogen fertilizer producing plant), "Himvolokno" (artificial fiber manufacturing plant), "Himreaktyv" (chemical reagents for military purposes) and many others were built in the city. In 1961 a Kremenchuk hydro power plant was built, forming Kremenchuk Water Reservoir, on which Cherkasy is standing now. This made the city a big transport city, serving the longest dyke in Ukraine (15 km) with rail and road on it.
After gaining the independence, the industry in the city is declining, along with number of citizens and level of life. A lot of big and powerful factories and plants were privatized but couldn't stay alive in market. Some enterprises changed their profile - several (3) factories and plants around the city were united under the "Bogdan Corporation" and started to produce buses and cars. Some of remaining factories remained working, like "Azot". On November 28, 2008, the monument of Lenin was removed from the central square. This caused different reactions in different people. Now the central square, formerly called "Lenin Square", is empty and called "Soborna Square". In 2009, Cherkasy airport got status of International Airport.
Cherkasy is situated on the high right bank of the Dnipro River, exactly - in the middle of Kremenchuk Reservoir. Relief of the historical part of the city was influenced by Zamkova (Castle) mountain, where Cherkasy Fortress was situated. Still, the major part of Cherkasy is located in lowlands.
The city area as of 2010 is 69 km; it is 17 kilometers long and just 8 km width. From the North-West Cherkasy is surrounded by forest - Cherkaskiy Bir (Cherkasy Forest), which is the biggest (28,500 hectares) natural pine forest in Ukraine.
The geography of Cherkasy is divided into two parts. The right side of Cherkasy oblast contains the highest point of the region, which stands at 275 meters above sea level and is called the Prydniprovsky summit. There is also the swampy lowlands area called Irdyno-Tyasmynska and the Kanivski Mountains located in this area. The left side of Cherkasy region is pretty flat with not a lot of gradient changes experienced. Four percent of Cherkasy is made up of water sources like lakes, bogs, rivers, artificial reservoirs and underground waters.
Climate of Cherkasy is mild continental with mild winters and warm (last time - hot) summers.
Average temperature in the city - +7, 7 °C. Winters are usually cold and snowy (average January temperature - -5, 9 °C), but last winters are rather warm with rare severe frosts (up to -25 °C). Summers are dry and warm (average temperature in July - +19, 8 °C), with occasional jumps of temperature up to +35 °C.
Cherkasy is a big transport hub due to its location in the center of the country. Two major automobile routes are going through the city - H16 (Uman-Zolotonosha, national route) and P10 (Kaniv-Kremenchuk, regional route). Between Cherkasy and Smila (city which is a part of Cherkasy Urban Agglomeration) there is a 4-lane highway, 2 lanes each direction, with divider.
There is a railway going through the city with regular trains going to neighboring cities. Major route Odessa-Moscow is passing through Cherkasy.
As Cherkasy is located on the bank of Kremenchuk reservoir, it has a small river station and cargo river station.
On the western edge of the city Cherkasy International Airport is located. It is working for charter flights only and serves as emergency airport for Boryspil Airport.
Public transport is represented by trolleybuses and buses. Trolleybus system is old as well as fleet. However, recently several new trolleybuses appeared in the city. Buses are represented with "Etalon", "Bohdan" and "PAZ" models of buses.
Sights of interest
Kanivskyi Reserve Park - Founded in 1968, the renowned Kanivs’sky Reserve Park was established and formed with its beautiful and varied landscapes on the right side of the gracious Dnieper River which lies in the Cherkasy region within Ukraine.
The Cherkasy oblast, which is regarded as the eighteenth largest one in all of Ukraine, comprises of just about 3.5% of all the area in the country. But it is the South flowing Dnieper River with its eastern banks that the gentle, smooth and even surface which in many times past became prone to frequent and distressing flooding in the area. This of course in due time became controlled due to the powerful Hydroelectric Power Plant which required multiple dams, thus controlling the flooding as an end result.
The Reserve over time has become associated and become very well know for its unique geological formations. Some of these can be seen in the riparian hills of the gracious Dnieper River and the transient island of Kruglik. In Ukraine and like so many of its parks, there has always been an institution created to protect and research the many different aspects of the particular area so as to further development in the future.
Through this unrestrained landscape you will begin to find many characteristics that make up the Kanivs’kyi Reserve, with most of its area covered in a mixed forest which is inundated with hornbeam or otherwise known as Carpinus spp, oak, bitter lime or Tilia spp and lastly the beautiful but simply beautiful maple tree. There is also a great importance played upon the geology and the archeology of the area with particular fascination found in the common and typical steppe meadows which can be located on most of the vast rolling hill slopes.
Kremenchuk Reservoir - The Kremenchuk Reservoir (Ukrainian: Кременчуцьке водосховище, Kremenchuts’ke Vodoskhovyshche) is the largest water reservoir located on the Dnieper River. Named for the city of Kremenchuk, it covers a total area of 2,250 square kilometers in the territories of the Poltava, Cherkasy, and Kirovohrad Oblasts in central Ukraine. The reservoir was created in 1959 when the Kremenchuk Hydroelectric Power Plant was built.
The reservoir is 149 km long, 28 km wide, and has an average depth of six meters. The total water volume is 13.5 km³. It is mainly used for irrigation, flood control, fishing, and transport within the area. The main ports on located on the reservoir are Cherkasy, and Svitlovodsk. The Sula River flows into the reservoir, forming a delta, with numerous islands.
Cherkassy art museum - opened for visitors on March, 9th, 1992, in the day of 178th anniversary of T.G.Shevchenko birth. The museum is located in a beautiful building – in the city centre.
The museum collection has been forming for 25 years by acquisition of products of showrooms of the former Soviet Union, purchase of works of art at outstanding artists of Ukraine, folk masters, collectors and restoration of works of the former private collections the count Bobrinsky, princes Lopuhiny, Belokopytovy which have been transferred in 1918 to the Cherkassy historical-pedagogical museum of Т. G.Shevchenko.The exposition of the art museum consists of two sections: arts and crafts and the fine arts.The first section snows the folk art of average Podneprov'ya. There are the wonderful samples of ancient Ukrainian.
Long since Cherkassy region was famous for a pottery. In exposition unique products of blacksmoke ceramics are presented of the village Pastyrskogo, a pottery of villages Gromy, Grushevka, Gnilets, products of Mankovsky majolica factory "Colorit", author's works of masters I.Suhoi, F.Gordovoi, M.Churukanov, M.Titarenko, a variety of products of painters- ceramics.The decorative painting is rather extended on Cherkassy region; it is presented by such masters as Irina and Sofia Gumenyuk, Tamara Gordova, Valentina Kuz'menko, Katerina Kaidash-Mashkovska.
In the second section of an exposition iconography of ХVII-ХIХ century, fine portrait painting of the XVIII- XX centuries are presented. Essential addition to development of the modern fine arts of Ukraine is given by the big collection of the drawing presented in four halls of an exposition.
Cherkassy Zoo - The zoo is near the park 30-letiya Pobedy (the 30 anniversary of the victory). It is convenient, as it is possible to visit at once two interesting places. The zoo enough big, here is a camel, a bear, wolves, foxes, a pony, cheerful monkeys. In lake ducks, white and black swans float. A zoo is constantly extending, new open-air cages are building. On trees skip wild and free squirrels; it is possible to feed them from hands.
Cherkassy museum of local lore - Cherkassy museum of local lore is near the Glory Hill on a remarkable height, underlining the architectural its originality. Its authors have received “the Shevchenkovskaya award” for the museum project. Inside you can find: the weapon, ceramics and plates and dishes of ancient inhabitants of the Cherkassy area, stuffed animals, skeletons of dinosaurs, survival suits and food of cosmonauts and a lot of others interesting things. The Cossack attributes are well presented also. Among wonders - a huge skeleton of a mammoth is. It is worth to see everything in the museum; many exhibits have no analogues not only in Ukraine, but also in the world.
The Hill of Glory with eternal flame is devoted to people who died in World War II. The Hill of Glory now stands where the Cherkassy castle was in the past.
The Park of October Anniversary is the green pearl of Cherkassy. You can admire a Cherkassy mermaid in the middle of a beautiful lake cascade or the Bridge of Love which is crossed by every local couple on the day of their marriage.
The St. Michael’s Cathedral was built in Byzantine style in 1994. The cathedral is 58 meters long, 53 meters wide and 72 meters high which makes it the tallest in Ukraine. It also has a capacity of hosting 12 thousand people.
The Shevchenko Museum is the oldest building still standing (built in 1852) and it is the house where Taras Shevchenko actually lived during his visits to the city.