Architecture of Ukraine
WARNING: Ukraine is politically unstable,
please read this travel warning before going!
In early history, Ukrainian architecture was quite varied,
however the one similarity was that most of the structures were constructed from
wood so few survive today. Some of the best places to see traditional wood dwellings
are in the western Carpathian Mountains, where some historic structures remain and
others have been reconstructed in the form of historical parks. These wooden houses
represent the people in the region, in the Carpathian Mountains, that includes Ukrainians,
Hungarians, and even some Belarusians.
St. Sophia in Kyiv
The oldest standing stone structures in Ukraine (other than
a couple small Greek ruins along the Black Sea coast) are
primarily found in Kyiv. The capital took their architectural inspiration from Constantinople
(Istanbul) so developed much of their church architecture from the Byzantines. The
most important of these churches is St. Sophia Cathedral (1037), but the Kyiv-Pechersk
Lavra (or cave monasteries; founded in 1015) nearly rivals the cathedral in importance
and overtakes it in originality as these monasteries are carved out of rock.
Few buildings were erected over the next few hundred years that survive today, however
the city of L'viv is the exception. This city was under Polish
rule at a time when they were a powerful empire and the city was the recipient of
Polish architecture, most notably in the Gothic and Baroque style.