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    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

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    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

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  • Ukraine!

    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

Architecture of Ukraine

WARNING: Ukraine is politically unstable, please read this travel warning before going!

Ukrainian Architecture - Traditional house
Traditional house

In early history, Ukrainian architecture was quite varied, however the one similarity was that most of the structures were constructed from wood so few survive today. Some of the best places to see traditional wood dwellings are in the western Carpathian Mountains, where some historic structures remain and others have been reconstructed in the form of historical parks. These wooden houses represent the people in the region, in the Carpathian Mountains, that includes Ukrainians, Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians, and even some Belarusians.

Ukranian Architecture - St. Sophia's in Kyiv
St. Sophia in Kyiv

The oldest standing stone structures in Ukraine (other than a couple small Greek ruins along the Black Sea coast) are primarily found in Kyiv. The capital took their architectural inspiration from Constantinople (Istanbul) so developed much of their church architecture from the Byzantines. The most important of these churches is St. Sophia Cathedral (1037), but the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (or cave monasteries; founded in 1015) nearly rivals the cathedral in importance and overtakes it in originality as these monasteries are carved out of rock.

Few buildings were erected over the next few hundred years that survive today, however the city of L'viv is the exception. This city was under Polish rule at a time when they were a powerful empire and the city was the recipient of Polish architecture, most notably in the Gothic and Baroque style.

Ukrainian Architecture - Khan's Palace in Bakchasarai

Also during this time, much of southern Ukraine was ruled by the descendants of the Mongols, locally known as the Crimean Khanate. The palace of the khans, Bakchasarai Palace (1500s) is an incredible piece of architecture that combines Mongol, Persian, Turkish, and European architectural styles.

Ukrainian Architecture - Mother Motherland Statue in Kyiv
Mother Motherland

Like the city of L'viv, some Baroque architecture made it to Kyiv in the 1700s. Many of the above ground churches in the already mentioned Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra complex are from this time period as is St. Andrew's Church (1747–1754; later reconstructed).

The next common style in Ukraine came with the Soviets in the early 1900s. Much of the country was built in this communist style focused on efficiency and use over aesthetics. Every major city has dozens of communist bloc apartment buildings and in Kyiv, the Mother Motherland statue (1981) and People's Friendship Arch (1982) can't be missed even if great effort is undertaken.

This page was last updated: May, 2014