The Assumption Cathedral
At Poltava's historical center - on the Ivanova Gora, where town's key historical and architectural sights are gathered - the magnificent building of the Holly Assumption Cathedral is particularly notable. Today it is one of the main Orthodox temples in the region.
In the late 18th century, the Cathedral was built on place of wooden church that stood on the territory of Poltava's fortress and became the first stone building in town. Striking with its beauty and splendor, it soon became Poltava's main spiritual center, where almost all residents gathered during holidays. The Holly Assumption Cathedral amazed with its unusual forms: baroque traits added fanciness and airiness to it, and classical architecture's elements made it look strict and even stern.
However, just ten years after its opening, the temple was rebuilt: it acquired two more domes and became five-domed; previously brick floor was replaced with cast-iron one; choir was moved to the second floor. And in this appearance the Assumption Cathedral met Russian Empress Catherine the Great in 1787.
In the early 19th century, a luxurious four-layer bell tower was raised near the temple. Now it is the architectural and historical monument of national importance. As the Assumption Cathedral itself, the bell tower peculiarly combined bright late baroque and classicism traits. The belfry is also notable for the fact that here used to hang the huge Kizi-Kermen Bell, casted from Turkish trophy cannons in the 18th century. It is currently kept in the Poltava's Museum of History.
Over time the Assumption Cathedral became more and more popular and could hardly accommodate all comers. Therefore, in the late 19th century it was decided to expand it. As a result of another reconstruction the temple became more spacious and could accommodate up to 10 thousand church members at once.
In the year 1934 - with establishment of Soviet Power in Ukraine - the Holly Assumption Cathedral was blown up and totally razed. Only the bell tower was saved by a miracle and, after the World War II, was used as placement of different workshops for a long time. In the late 20th century, the belfry was reconstructed and brought back to its original look. At the same time, town's museum and several artistic exhibitions were placed on its premises.
With Ukraine acquiring independence, the bell tower passed to the Orthodox Church, and in 2005, the Holly Assumption Cathedral was built near it anew. Built in Ukrainian baroque style, the new temple is not the exact copy of its predecessor, but it strikes with elegant, graceful and splendid forms, the same as the Cathedral of the 18th century used to do.