Berylav is the oldest city in the Kherson Region. It was established on the ruins of an Ottoman fortress. Back then, the city served as a customs point of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and a critical base of operations during the Crimean War. The history of Beryslav is replete with remarkable events, so the city attracts tourists in all seasons. So let’s discover what sightseeing attractions are worth visiting!
The history of Beryslav
1784 marked as the official founding date of Berylav. However, Beryslav’s area was started to explore in 2000 B.C.E. This is evidenced by a discovered treasure of the Late Bronze Age. Archaeologists also excavated residential and iconic buildings, where the Scythians lived in the first century C.E. That’s all historians know about the ancient history of Beryslav.
The Dogan geçit, a fortification of Tokhtamysh Khan of the Golden Horde, was built here in 1484. Then, it was captured by Lithuanian forces and turned into the Vytautas Tower, a border security post. In the second half of the 15th century, the land was occupied by the Tatars and Ottomans. Instead of the existing border security post, the Gazi-Kerman fortress (in Ottoman Turkish language means “The Maiden’s Beauty”) was built here. Beryslav was always an important passage, as there was a convenient way to cross from one bank to another of the Dnipro River, and also Crimea. Goods were imported from the East to the Russian Empire and Scandinavian kingdoms through this transshipment point.
In 1853-1856, when the Crimean War was raging, there was a crossing point for forces, weapons transport, and supply lines. Beryslav was of strategic importance and became a rear base of the Russian Army.
As Beryslav developed so briskly, it became a large city in the 1900s. However, there were no plumbing and sanitation systems, and city streets were lit by kerosene lanterns only in the downtown. During the Second World War, the lands of Beryslav were occupied by German fascists. The invading lasted until 1944. During the Soviet period, there were mechanical engineering, construction materials factory, dairy plant. But there were no institutions of higher education, so applicants went to pedagogical and medical secondary schools.
Beryslav was placed on the List of the Historical Locations of Ukraine, as the most ancient settlement of the Kherson Region. A lot of historical landmarks remain here. They attract tourists all over the world.
The major attractions
The Holy Presentation Church
The church was built in 1725 from the wood of oak without any nails. From the Perevolochna Fortress, the church was rafted across the Dnipro River in 1784. Nowadays, the Holy Presentation Church is the oldest building in the city. It is half-a-century older than Beryslav. It’s quite a rarity in Ukrainian architecture. Before the church was closed in 1939, an abbot gave holy vessels to worshipers for safekeeping.
The church is a great sample of the Zaporozhian wooden architecture and relates to a cross-in-square architectural form. The building is painted light blue and decorated with green elements. The church is octagon-shaped, but the apse is pentahedral-shaped. The Holy Presentation Church still works, so you can participate in public worship. There are extant unique 18th-century icons, antique altar cross, and printed in 1697 Gospel here.
The ruins of the Gazi-Kerman fortress
The walled city was established by the Ottomans, as a stronghold of the Ottoman Empire in 1484. As with other fortifications, the Gazi-Kerman supervised crossing the Dnipro River and protected its lands against the Cossacks. Also, the tower served as a staging point to attack Left-bank Ukraine and held the battlements of the Zapporozhian Cossacks down the Dnipro to the Black Sea. The Russian-Ukrainian Army was able to take the fortress only in 1695. So, the Gazi-Kerman land was added to the Russian Empire in 1774, and then Beryslav city was established on its ruins in 1778.
The fragments of the walls only remain of the fortress. It’s no wonder, as, in fact, the tower was gained by assault between 1670 and 1695. The Monument of the Cossacks was established on the ruins to celebrate winning the Gazi-Kerman fortress.
The Local History Museum
The Local History Museum was established in 1958. Nowadays, it keeps almost 8 000 exhibits. You can dive into the history of Beryslav and explore ancient tools and domestic kits here.
Samples of national Ukrainian costumes, rare coins, medals, and items from the Soviet period are collected in the museum. We strongly recommend you to see the stone print of a fish and savage life’s bones. A lot of lectures about the history of Beryslav are held here. The museum officials tell about different times of development, significant events, and historical facts.
The brotherhood cemetery
Beryslav was a rear base for the Russian Army during the Crimean War. The city also hosted wounded and sick defenders of Sevastopol in private houses. There was a great shortage of military medics, pharmaceuticals, hospital wards in a single infirmary. Back then, the mortality was so high, as soldiers died of infectious diseases such as typhus, fever, dysentery. 533 people died here for six months. They were buried in a designated area, which was later called the Military Cemetery.
There is a communal cross over the graves of lower ranks soldiers, and individual headstones over the graves of warrant officers. Also, the memorial chapel in the Pseudo-Romanticism style is in the center of the cemetery. Originally, the chapel had a tended roof, and the Christian cross was at the top. In Soviet times, the cross was lost. The roof of the chapel was rebuilt a short time ago, but there is still no cross.
The Kam'yanska Sich
The Kam'yanska Sich was established in 1709 when the Cossacks were defeated in the battle of Poltava. The remnants of the Cossacks forces settled by the Kamianka River. From time to time, the Kish (the regiment of the Cossacks) left the land, and relocated to Oleshky, under the patronage of the Crimean Khanate. In 1734, the Cossacks moved to the Russian Border and founded the New Sich, which was within the Russian Empire.
By exploring the ruins of the Kam'yanska Sich, you can dive into the Cossacks’ everyday life in the 18th century. The remains of underground kurins, back rooms, and Sich Rada square are survived here. The burial place of Kost Hordienko, the Kish otaman, is the major holy site. The Kam'yanska Sich refers to Khortytsia National Reserve since 2009.
The Tyahyn fortress
Originally, the fortress was a castle, built by Lithuanians in the 14th century. The fortification had three round towers at the corners. The Tatars captured the castle in the late 15th century and converted it into a fortress then. The Tyahyn has become a foothold to raid Ukrainian lands. The Cossacks, for their parts, were raiding against the Tatars. In 1492, the Ukrainian Army had captured and destroyed the Ottoman ship, so the event became the first mention of the Cossacks and the genesis of the Zaporozhian Host. In the 17th century, the Tyahyn fortress was assaulted by otaman Ivan Sirko and colonel Semen Paliy. Repeated attempts to conquer the fortress were not without consequences, so the bastille was totally destroyed in the 18th century.
The fragments of the fortress have survived near the old bridge. The triumphal column of Archangel Michael was erected here to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Cossacks.
St. George Bizyukov Monastery
The friary is located in Chervonyi Mayak village and was founded in 1782. The schools, hospitals, orphanages, and five churches were launched at the parish in the 19th century. When the Soviet authorities took power, the monastery was closed until 1992.
St. George Bizyukov Monastery is a sample of the Russian Revival architecture. The outbuildings, brethren's buildings, and older buildings were constructed from red bricks. You’ll see the bakery in the Classicist style, socle and arch of the Ascension Cathedral, bishops’ palaces, and the Pokrovskyi Cathedral, all that is left of the place. There are also caves along with the shore faces. They served as ascetics’ monastic cells.
Where to stay in Beryslav
There are few places to have a rest in Beryslav. You can go to some cafes, or just walk down by the water. Also, Taras Shevchenko Park is a new feature of the city. The park was in a bad state for a long time. But a local entrepreneur has restored it. Now the public space is tiled, waterworks are renovated, play and sports grounds are built here. The park is also pretty illuminated at night.
If you plan to stay in Beryslav for a few days, you should know the list of accommodations is very limited. The Lastivka (The Swallow) is a single hotel here. It has only seven rooms. But you can stay at Nova Kakhovka. Here, the hotels are located along the bank of the Dnipro River.