Serving as the administrative centre of the Zhytomyr region, Zhytomyr is an important transportation hub in Ukraine’s west. It lies on the historic route that once linked Kyiv with Brest and is dotted with majestic churches topped by onion domes. It’s famously the birthplace of Serhiy Pavlovych, one of the most influential rocket engineers in Soviet history.
Things to do
Zhytomyr is home to several impressive Orthodox churches, including the Saviour-Transfiguration Cathedral with its gilded interior. Also of note is the golden-domed Assumption Church, which is fronted by a large stone commemorating the foundation of Zhytomyr in 884 AD. Gaze up at the blue domes of St. Michael’s Cathedral on pedestrianised Michailovskaya Street, then stop for coffee and cake at one of the cafes.
If you’re interested in the “Space Race”, don’t miss exploring the Serhiy Pavlovych Korolyov Museum of Cosmonautics. It celebrates the life and work of the locally-born rocket engineer, who is considered by many to be the father of practical astronautics. Highlights of the collection include a sample of lunar soil and the Lunokhod 2 lunar rover, as well as the Soyuz 27 descent module that flew to the orbiting Salyut 6 space station in 1978.
In the south of Zhytomyr is the scenic Shodurivsʹkyy Park, which is an ideal place to take a stroll along the banks of the Teteriv River. Marvel at the impressive bridge and have your photo taken in front of the abandoned airplane before soaking up the elevated views from the park’s Ferris wheel.
Zhytomyr is just under two hours’ drive from the centre of Kyiv and 2.5 hours from Kyiv Boryspil International Airport. Trains connect from destinations across Ukraine to the Zhytomyr railway station while trolleybuses and minibuses are available for getting around the city.