Zhytomyr (Ukrainian: Житомир, Russian: Житомир, Polish: Żytomierz, Yiddish: זשיטאָמיר) is a historic city in the North of the western half of Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Zhytomyr Oblast (province), as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Zhytomyr Raion (district). Note that the city of Zhytomyr is not a part of the Zhytomyr raion: the city itself is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast; moreover Zhytomyr consists of two so-called "raions in a city": the Bohunskyi raion and the Koroliovskyi raion (named in honor of Sergey Korolyov).
Zhytomyr is located at around 50°16′N 28°40′E / 50.267°N 28.667°E / 50.267; 28.667, occupying an area of 65 km2 (25 sq mi).The current estimated population is 277,900 (as of 2005).
Zhytomyr is a major transportation hub. The city lies on a historic route linking the city of Kiev with the west through Brest. Today it links Warsaw with Kiev, Minsk with Izmail, and several major cities of Ukraine. Zhytomyr was also the location of Ozerne, a key Cold War strategic aircraft base located 11 km (6.8 mi) southeast of the city.Important economic activities of Zhytomyr include lumber milling, food processing, granite quarrying, metalworking, and the manufacture of musical instruments.
Zhytomyr Oblast is the main center of the Polish minority in Ukraine, and in the city itself there is a large Roman-Catholic Polish cemetery, founded in 1800. It is regarded as the third biggest Polish cemetery beyond borders of Poland, behind the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv and Rossa Cemetery in Vilnius.
Zhitomir lies to the north, mainly within the Ukrainian Polesie, in the Pripyat river basin Polisskiy Lowland (northern and north-east of the region). South-western part of the region - in the Dnieper Upland, which crosses the river and a beetle Uh. The surface area - wavy Moreno and Moreno-zandrova plain with a general slope to the south and southeast. The biggest indicator of height - in Slovechansko-Ovrutskom ridge (316 m). The region is rich in natural resources. Mineral raw potential includes more than 250 deposits of various minerals. Industrial significance deposits of building materials: granite, gabbro, labradorite, quartz, decorative stones (pegmatite, marble). Kaolin, refractory clay, quartz sand.
The region known deposits of precious stones: garnet, topaz, beryl, tourmaline, rock crystal, jasper. Unique is the deposit of quartzite, which contains about 80% of all of Ukraine. The region has deposits of brown coal and peat and metallic minerals (titanium ore, pegmatite). Explored and exploited mineral springs (radon). There is mud. The climate is temperate with humid summers (18,9 ° in July) and mild winters (-5,7 ° in January). Precipitation 570-600 mm per year. Rivers length of 10 km - 221. They all belong to the Dnipro basin. The biggest of them - happened, Ubort, Slovechna, a beetle with Hnylop'yattyu, with Zhereva Uh. There are plenty of lakes, 16 reservoirs. Soils in Polesie mainly sod-podzol, gleyed (52,4% of the area). In the valleys, ravines, flood - turf, peat swamp and marsh soils. In the forest-steppe region - gray forest, dark gray and black ashes, 35% of the region occupy large tracts of deep black soil.
The region ranks first in Ukraine for forest resources: Forests cover 28% of its area. Pine burs extended to the north and northwest region. In Polesie - subordi, oak, birch, oak-game of love and hornbeam forests. Fauna is represented by 400 species, including mammals - 67 species of birds - 270 fish - 30. Among the adverse natural processes in the Polesie are observed: ohleyennya, acidification, water logging, drainage of arrays - peresushennya and secondary swamping, deflation, a surface and deep erosion, suffusion-sagging phenomenon sometimes caves. The biggest negative technogenic - radioactive contamination north-eastern territories of the Chernobyl accident. Mainly soil amelioration (chemical, vodnorehulyuyuchi). In the 169 territories and objects protected areas, including national importance: the nature reserve, 10 nature reserves, 2 the natural, botanical garden, 5 parks, monuments of landscape architecture
Zhytomyr lies in a unique natural setting; all sides of the city are surrounded by ancient forests through which flow the Teteriv, Kamianka, Kroshenka and Putiatynka rivers. The Teteriv River generally forms the southern boundary of Zhytomyr, though there are also some small areas of Zhytomyr city territory below the southern bank of the river. The city is rich in parks and public squares.
Zhytomyr is set out on a mostly radial type of street net with the centre at the main public square of the city, named Sobornyi Maidan (or Sobornyi Square, which means Cathedral Square). A building containing courts and some other institutions is located in the west of the square. Before 1991, this building contained Zhytomyr Oblast Committee of the Communist Party. Just behind the building (that is to the west of Sobornyi Square) a small park is located, containing a monument with an inscription stating that this is a place where Zhytomyr was founded. This historical centre of Zhytomyr is located in the southern part of the city. The main streets connecting Sobornyi Maidan with the outskirts of Zhytomyr are Kyivska Street or Kiev Street (going to northeast, to the train station and also to the main bus station of the city), Velyka Berdychivska Street (going to southeast), Czerniachowski Street (going southwest, to beaches and a forest-type park near the river of Teteriv), and Peremohy Street (going north).
The best-known street in the central part of Zhytomyr is Mykhailivska (named after St. Michael's Church located at the northern end of the street). The street is located about 500 meters to the east of Sobornyi Maidan and runs approximately from north to south, connecting some points at the above-mentioned Kyivska Street and Velyka Berdychivska. Mykhailivska Street is for pedestrian traffic: vehicles are forbidden, with the exception of some slow-moving ones. The building of the Zhytomyr City Council is located at the southern end of Mykhailivska Street. If one crosses Velyka Berdychivska Street from the southern end of Mykhailivska Street, then one finds oneself at Korolyov Square containing the building of the Zhytomyr Oblast Council. Crossing Kyivska Street from the northern end of Mykhailivska Street, one can continue to go along Shchors Street, another important long street of Zhytomyr (going north).
The best-known park of Zhytomyr is named after Yuri Gagarin, located in the south of the city, at the left (northern) bank of the Teteriv River. It was formerly owned by the Baron de Chaudoir.
Legend holds that Zhytomyr was established about 884 by Zhytomyr, prince of a Slavic tribe of Drevlians. This date, 884, is cut in the large stone of the ice age times, standing on the hill where Zhytomyr was founded. The first records of the town date from 1240, when it was sacked by the Mongol hordes of Batu Khan.
In 1320 Zhytomyr was captured by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and received Magdeburg rights in 1444. After the Union of Lublin (1569) the city was incorporated into the Crown of the Polish Kingdom and in 1667, following the Treaty of Andrusovo, it became the capital of the Kiev Voivodeship. In the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 it passed to Imperial Russia and became the capital of the government of Volhynia. During a brief period of Ukrainian independence the city was for a few weeks in 1918 the national capital. From 1920 the city was under Soviet rule.
During World War II Zhytomyr and the surrounding territory came for three years under Nazi German occupation and was Heinrich Himmler's Ukrainian headquarters. The Nazi regime in what they called the "Zhytomyr General District" became what Wendy Lower describes as "a laboratory for… Himmler's resettlement activists… the elimination of the Jews and German colonization of the East—transformed the landscape and devastated the population to an extent that was not experienced in other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe besides Poland. While ultimately, the exigencies of the war effort and mounting partisan warfare behind the lines prevented Nazi leaders from fully developing and realizing their colonial aims in Ukraine… In addition to the immediate destruction of all Jewish communities, Himmler insisted that the Ukrainian civilian population be brought to a 'minimum.
The Jewish community of the region was largely destroyed in the Holocaust. In the four months beginning with Himmler's 25 July 1942 orders, "all of Ukraine's shtetls and ghettos lay in ruins; tens of thousands of Jewish men, women, and children were brutally murdered by stationary and mobile SS-police units and indigenous auxiliaries.
Today, the Zhytomyr Jewish community numbers about 5000. The community is a part of the "Union of Jewish Communities in Ukraine" and the city and district's rabbinate Rabbi Shlomo Vilhelm serves as rabbi, who came to the city as a Chabad emissary in 1994. Other Jewish institutions are also active in the city, such as the Joint and its humanitarian branch "Chesed" and the Jewish Agency.
The community has an ancient synagogue in the city center which has a mikveh. Chabad operates in the city various educational institutions which have residence in a village next to the city.From 1991, the city has been part of the independent republic of Ukraine.
The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906) characterized it as "one of the oldest towns in European Russia," meaning the Imperial Russia of that time, and one of the "prominent towns" of Lithuania in the middle of the 15th century.
Public city transport
Common kinds of public transport shuttling within Zhytomyr are trolleybuses, buses, and minibuses. There are also electric trams, but on one route only. Earlier there were several tram routes in Zhytomyr, but all excepting one were canceled during a period of domination of the opinion that a tram is a bad kind of transport.
Trams began to shuttle in Zhytomyr in 1899. Thus Zhytomyr became the 5th city with electric trams within the territory of present-day Ukraine. Trolleybuses appear in Zhytomyr in 1962.
Now trolleybus/tram fare in Zhytomyr is 1 hryvnia for one passenger for any distance.
Places of interest
The Sergiy Korolyov Astronautics Museum - The Sergiy Korolyov Astronautics Museum in Zhytomyr is a place where both kids and grown-ups can find something interesting for them. Children come here to dive into the magic world of the space fairy-tail, their parents and people of the elder generation do not forget the way to the museum either.
The inhabitants of Zhytomyr see the display of cosmos regularity in the fact that their native city itself became the birthplace of the founder of practical astronautics - Sergiy Korolyov. It was here, in Zhytomyr, where the Memorial House-Museum of Academician S.Korolyov was opened in the year of 1970. Inspired by the unanimous feeling of pride and love for their famous countryman, the inhabitants of Zhytomyr had built it by common efforts. And the museum has become their favorite, the pride, decoration and the main sight of interest of the city.
When visiting the museum you can hear the life story of a gifted scientist and engineer, the founder of rocketry and astronautics in the country. It is the story about the rocketry and astronautics birth process in this country, about the contribution of Ukrainian scientists into it. You will see, it is not just a museum of techniques history, but the museum of Man who, conquering numerous difficulties and obstacles, can create wonders of techniques, it is the museum of the dream that has become true.
St. Sophia Cathedral - Built in 1737 - 1751 on a castle mountain in the late Renaissance & Baroque styles . Facade has two layers with towers. Cathedral walls are made of brick and are approximately 2 meters thick. Bell tower is 26 m. high.
Preobrazhensky Cathedral - City's most beautiful cathedral. A real architectural gem! Built in 1874 the cathedral is 53 meters high. The bell installed at the bell tower weights about 8 tons.
Zhytomyr (Zhytomyr region), is a center of Catholic Ukraine, which has prepared for you a lot of interesting sightseeing, including Catholic cathedrals.
St.Sophia Cathedral, which is the most ancient monument of the city. One can see a bas-relief of J.Zarebski a prominent composer and pianist who was born here. People say that his heart is immured in the walls of the Cathedral. Moreover, you will be charmed by a famous monument of architecture of XIX century that is St.Michael cathedral with a monumental bell tower. Toll of its main bell (weighing eight tons) can be heard within 20 kilometers’ distance (the greatest musician of XX century Sviatoslav Rikhter was christened in this cathedral).
Walk along wide and vast streets of the city, enjoy local Big Ben (a clock on a strange building of the city council), have a rest in cozy Hydro park, visit mysterious Castle hill, the most beautiful Lutheran church, the Holy Cross Church and Intercession Cathedrals; local history museum (situated in a luxurious palace of bishops) and Catholic memorial cemetery.