However, the prince was buried in this unfinished temple.

However, the prince was buried in this unfinished temple.

The castle courtyard, surrounded by mighty walls and almonds, occupies about a quarter of a hectare. Its length reaches 120 meters and width – 85; the walls in the western part rise by 17 meters; their thickness on the knight’s tower is almost 4 meters.

Of the four towers that were part of the castle complex, one has not survived. The center of the fortress is a quadrangular structure, to which several more towers adjoin on all sides: from the east – triangular, from the west – round, and from the north and south – two semicircular, closing with each other. A well-thought-out combination of various elements of the architectural plan, created excellent conditions for the organization of the crossfire system during the defense of the citadel. The tower has several tiers, separated by ceilings, at the level of which stone protrusions appear on the semicircular belts. Its completion, unfortunately, has not survived: instead, balconies were built, which in plan repeat the shape of the tower.

On the north side of the East Tower is a long building, built in the second half of the seventeenth century, and later used for barracks. At the other end, the building reaches the round tower, which was later rebuilt into an octagonal one, with five faces protruding beyond the fortress wall.

When the headquarters of the Okhtyrka Regiment was housed in the castle, the tower was adapted to the officers’ club.

In the 1920s, there was a school for Red Cossack regiment soldiers here.

The north-west wall connects the octagonal tower with the pentagonal Knight’s Tower. The Knight’s Tower is probably the oldest in the whole complex of Medzhebizh Castle. It was built in the fifteenth or late fourteenth century. The tower also served as a watchtower. Like other watchtowers scattered on the lands of Podillya, it served to warn the inhabitants of the neighborhood about the approach of the enemy. Four of its sides it stands out named; from it began a moat, which made it difficult to approach the castle.

Adjacent to the western wall is the house built later, where the castle servants lived and there were outbuildings, and another interesting building with its architecture – the former stable, later called the carriage row.

The tower on the southwest corner has not survived. The south wall is covered with three rows of loopholes intended for archery and firearms. From this side, as well as from the east, the fortress was additionally protected by a number of bastions.

In the middle of the castle courtyard there is a cult building, built in 1586. In plan, it is rectangular, with a pentagonal apse covered with closed vaults with moldings.


Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernihiv as an architectural monument of Kievan Rus. Abstract

The oldest architectural monument of the times of Kievan Rus, older than St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, which is well preserved to this day and continues to function – is the Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernihiv

The Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernihiv is not just a decoration of Chernihiv, a shrine of the ancient Chernihiv-Siversky principality, but also a real architectural marvel, says Lyubov POTAPENKO.

The planning and spatial solution of the cathedral is unique: none of the famous ancient Russian temples has such a construction. It combines the scheme of the Byzantine cross-domed church with elements of the Romanesque basilica. This fact can be explained as follows: the founder of the Transfiguration Cathedral, Prince Mstislav (brother of Yaroslav the Wise), who ruled in Chernihiv in Tmutarakan, invited masters who were familiar with the traditions of religious construction in Asia Minor and the Caucasus, where at that time and similar temples were distributed.

So Prince Mstislav Tmutarakansky of Chernihiv laid the name of the cathedral a few years before his brother Yaroslav the Wise began construction of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. Namely – somewhere around 1030.

According to legend, the stone temple was built on the site of a wooden church, which, in turn, was built on the site of a pagan temple. The chronicles also clarify that after the successful march of Mstislav Tmutarakansky and Yaroslav the Wise to Red Russia (modern Galicia) and the annexation of its land to the ancient Russian state, the construction of a majestic building in the middle of the prince’s child began. But, according to the same chronicle, in 1036 Mstislav went hunting, fell ill and died.


Only the walls were brought to the height «as far as you can reach with your hand while standing on a horse.» However, the prince was buried in this unfinished temple. It is possible that the church was not completed at the time of the entry of the Chernihiv principality into the state of Yaroslav the Wise, but at the next Chernihiv prince Svyatoslav, who was also buried in this church, although Svyatoslav died as Grand Duke in Kiev.

Even before the construction was completed, this church became the main shrine of the Chernihiv-Siversky land: the relics of saints and miraculous icons were kept here, princes and spiritual lords of the diocese rested here. For almost 900 years, the Transfiguration Cathedral was the cathedral of the Chernihiv diocese and the center of public and state life: kissing the cross and oaths here fastened treaties between the princes.

This cathedral has three naves, its width is 22.4 meters, length with apses – 35.25 meters, height from the floor to the bottom of the vault of the central bath – 30 meters. The interior of the temple corresponds to a modern nine-storey building, the wide foundation is 2.8 meters deep into the ground, the walls, which are 1.4 meters thick, have survived almost undamaged to this day. And the complexity of the spatial planning structure of the building still forces experts to argue about what type of temple should be attributed: four-, six- or eight-column.

The interiors of the cathedral are strikingly majestic: the curved surfaces of the numerous arches are rhythmically repeated, emphasizing the height of the middle part of the temple. All interior surfaces of walls, vaults and pillars had frescoes. The color palette of the interior was very rich, the paintings of which were complemented by a bright floor of colored stones and glazed ceramic tiles – smalt. The choirs were surrounded by red carved slabs, the columns were made of white marble and had carved capitals.

From the chronicles it is known that in the cathedral (except for its founder with his wife Anastasia and son Eustace) rested the following personalities: Chernihiv, and then Kiev prince Svyatoslav Yaroslavovich (1076), his son Gleb (1078), Oleg Svyatoslavovich ( 1115).), Vladimir Davidovich (1161), Svyatoslav Olgovich (1165), Vsevolod Svyatoslavovich (1196). The hierarchs of the Chernihiv eparchy Lazar Baranovych (1693) and Ambrose Dubkevych (1750) found eternal peace in the cathedral.

The local Chernihiv saint Ihor Olhovych was also buried here. The main relics of the cathedral, preserved here until 1917, were the relics of Prince Igor Olgovich and Metropolitan Constantine, which were in the ground near the walls of the church, as well as the relics of St. Theodosius of Uglich, Archbishop of Chernihiv, which lay open in the cathedral. kg).

In addition to relics, the miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Ripky (from the middle of the 17th century), which is highly revered in the Chernihiv region, was also preserved here.

It is worth mentioning the so-called Smolensk icon of the Mother of God. In the times of Kievan Rus, the image of Hodegetria was brought to the Transfiguration Cathedral of Chernihiv in 1046 by the daughter of the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomakh, Anna, who married Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavovich.

Their son Volodymyr Monomakh began to rule in Smolensk in 1097, where he built a church, to which he transported this icon from Chernihiv and which has since become known as Smolensk. It is believed that thanks to her in 1239 Khan Batu was not able to take Smolensk. The Savior Cathedral has undergone many destructions and reconstructions over the centuries. In 1239, during the invasion of Khan Batu, the vault was destroyed and the baths were destroyed.

During the restoration in the 17th century, the apses were added and baroque baths were erected. The church was significantly rebuilt after the fire of 1750. At the end of the 18th century, a stair tower was added from the north-western façade, the same one was erected on the site of the destroyed baptistery from the south, new tops were made, all facades were plastered and whitewashed. In 1818, spatial vestibules were erected near the western, northern and southern portals, and at the end of the 19th century the tops were gilded and the cathedral acquired a modern look. The interior decoration and the iconostasis of the church suffered no less.

Long ago, according to ancient custom, the flags of the defenders of the city were hung in the cathedral. Even at the beginning of the twentieth century, Cossack flags were kept here: 18 flags of the Chernihiv militia during the war with Napoleon and 11 flags of the militia during the Crimean War of 1853-1856.

In the sacristy of the temple were stored many liturgical items made of valuable materials, donated at different times by residents and honored guests. These items were of great artistic and historical value, but, unfortunately, very few remain. And they are now in the Chernihiv Historical Museum.

Among them is a unique work of local jewelers in 1771 – the salary of the Gospel with relief images. From the description in the literature it is known that in the altar of the temple was a silver and gilded gift box in the form of a two-tiered sarcophagus weighing 16.5 kg, donated to the church in 1782, as well as a cross from 1638 , a cathedral chair on the top, donated by Empress Catherine during her stay in Chernihiv in 1787, a large number of ancient vestments, including the attire of St. Theodosius of Chernihiv (Uglich).

In 1923, a fresco of the 11th century depicting a half-figure of St. Thecla was discovered in the cathedral. The fresco was under a thick layer of plaster, which saved it from numerous fires. In 1926 the fresco was removed from the wall and transferred to the Chernihiv Regional Historical Museum, where it was kept until the 1941 war. During the war, the museum’s exhibits burned down. Fortunately, there is a very successful and accurate copy, created in 1934, which is now stored in the Sofia Reserve in Kiev.

In 1926, the Soviet authorities banned worship in the Transfiguration Cathedral and in the early 30’s handed over the building to the base «Golovrosmaslozhirzbut» where the warehouse was arranged. In 1937 the cathedral was transferred to the historical museum. In 1942, the occupying German authorities resumed worship and the church operated until 1961.