For Autumnal Fairy Tale: the most beautiful arboreta of Ukraine
Fall is one of the most amazing seasons. The best way to feel its charm is to walk through one of Ukraine’s arboreta. Painted with bright autumnal colors, they turn into true fairy-tale areas, where thousands of Ukrainians and country’s guests come looking for beauty, harmony and romance. We’ve chosen among a dozen of Ukraine’s arboreta three most impressive ones, which are worth visiting during autumnal months.
It is the best-known and the most splendid arboretum in Ukraine. It is reckoned among the most beautiful parks of the world, on par with the famous parks of Versailles, Potsdam and Florence. Sofiyivka was planned in 1796 by Uman’s governor at the time, the Polish Count Stanisław Potocki, who presented the fabulously beautiful park to his adoring wife and named it after her. She was a Greek woman called Sofia. Each composition and sculpture alludes to myths and legends of Ancient Greece. The park itself is a living illustration of Homer’s epic poems "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad". In this way, Potocki wanted to recreate a part of his wife’s native land in Uman.
What to do. Take a walk along cozy paths, admire cascades of fountains, have a look at the mysterious grottoes (especially the grotto of Venus shaped as an antique temple), get lost in the Crete labyrinth, make a wish on the Venetian bridge, visit the most beautiful pavilion of Flora and the Love Island. And go boating on an underground river Styx, which leads to the Dead Lake, and visit the rosary, where five thousand roses smell sweet.
Admission: 25 UAH
Created by the best European architects and gardeners, the Dendropark Oleksandriya is reckoned among the most beautiful landscape parks in the country. It is the largest park in the country and one of the largest ones in Eastern Europe.
Oleksandriya was founded on the order of the crown hetman of Poland Ksawery Branicki, in the late 18th century. He named the park after his wife Alexandra von Engelhardt, the own niece of the Prince Grigory Potyomkin and the lady-in-waiting of Catherine the Great.
What to do. Get impressed by Ukraine’s greatest collection of plants, including exotic ones, admire bronze and marble sculptures, created by the best foreign masters, stroll along cascades of ponds with pure spring water, and cross the Chinese Bridge. And then, inevitably test the original acoustics of the colonnade Echo, located on the Big glade in park’s very center, and explore the Ruins – an unusual structure, resembling ancient ruins, but being an imitation of destroyed by time buildings, in fact.
Admission: 10 UAH
Situated not far from Kharkiv, the Krasnokutsk arboretum has a status of a monument of landscape art and is recognized as one of the best ones in the country. Founded over 200 years ago, it is reckoned among the oldest arboreta in Ukraine. The well-known biologist Ivan Karasin created it at the beginning of the 19th century on the land, where a Cossack monastery used to stand.
What to do. Walk along the picturesque terraces enjoying breathtaking landscapes, get surprised by the power of 300-year-old oaks, admire rarely beautiful lotuses in the upper pond, and cross an elegant open-work bridge to the Island of Love, where you should be sure to make a wish leaning against the stem of the ginkgo biloba, the so-called tree of happiness. Then, take photos with funny wooden sculptures – Russian and Ukrainian fairy tale heroes, made by folk craftsmen – and explore about 20-kilometer-long underground labyrinths of the former monastery.
Getting there. Route taxis regularly depart from Kharkiv’s bus terminal, situated near the Central market.