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Lutsk is a master of transformations

Lutsk is a master of transformations

Cities are like people - living, changing masks, adjusting to the demands of time and circumstances, but what does not change is their essence - the soul is imperishable. The question is, can you see this soul after coming to town and looking into its colorful eyes? Lutsk has giddied heads of many guests, appearing in front of them every time in a new way. But there is one thing no one can deny - Lutsk is a city of creative chaos and paradoxes. Thus, everyone will be surprised with the local illogicality: a monument of Lesya Ukrainka is placed in front of the Taras Shevchenko Volyn Regional Music and Drama Theatre, and the monument of Ukrainian Kobzar stands in front of the Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University.

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If famous Shaherizada would have ever visited Lutsk, half of her stories would be about Lutsk. And she would start the first of a thousand nights with a story about the origins of the name of the city. According to one of the versions, the name comes from the word "bow", as this is the way the river bends around the Old City of Lutsk. The other one says that the name comes from the founder of the first settlement that appeared on the territory of the modern city, whose name was Luke. The third one proves that the name of the city has got a Celtic origin, and together with Lyon and London originates from the name of God, Lugh. And this is only the beginning of all of Lutsk puzzles.

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Either a creative mess or an excessive order among creations of a genius. A quite extraordinary house flaunts on the banks of the river Styr. It looks like a creation of the architect Gorodetsky in Kyiv (the so-called "House with Chimeras"), but it is built by a local sculptor Mykola Golovan. The connoisseurs of architectural excesses will be impressed by the fantasy of the artist. Just imagine, a several storied house, decorated with countless sculptures, small columns, bas-reliefs, colored stones, not only around the facade, but also on the roof! This is a really fantastic site, which borders with madness.

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On the other hand, Lutsk can boast with its many number of churches, designed in the best traditions of classical architecture, with silver domes sparkling in the sun as you approach the city. Lutsk is an international, multicultural and multiconfessional place. There were many Orthodox churches, Catholic orders, a Lutheran church/synagogue, an Armenian church and even a Karaite Kenassa!

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The Church of Holy Intercession is considered to be the pearl among all the Lutsk churches as it is the oldest existing church in the city. Historians still cannot determine who has built the church - the grandchildren of Volodymyr the Great or the Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Vytautas. Residents are also proud to say that they had a great patron in their city - St. Nicolas, whose monument decorates the square in front of the City Council.

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This quiet and cozy city calls everyone for a walk - Voli Avenue changes into Shevchenko Street, then one will see the local embankment with a park and a beach. It is an incredibly beautiful and romantic place, where, when sitting on the bench, you cannot help but admire the views and also grasp the shine in the eyes of gold diggers, that again and again go under water, hoping to find legendary treasure. According to stories of Herodotus, the river Styr was a local Bermuda Triangle for the enemies of the Neurutis kingdom (Volyn and Western Polissya). A legend says that the warriors of Scythians came to conquer these lands, but disappeared into the endless swamps near the river Styr, never leaving a trace. No one knows exactly how they found their death...Styr is securely keeping this secret.

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And for dessert - a symbol of Lutsk greatness - Lubart's Castle, the #1 castle in the list of the "7 Wonders of Ukraine". This castle, where even the walls are soaked with memories of many historical events, still keeping secrets of the "palace allure". The history of the castle lasts for around 600 years - in 1340 Duke Lubart laid the first stone of the future castle and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Theologian. Located here is the only Bell Museum in Ukraine, the Book Museum with its valuable collection of old books and a series of tunnels, that served as secret ways for the dukes, under the walls of the castle.

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Lutsk has also had its own Joan of Arc - Anna Borzobohata: in the 11th century, when she married the Lutsk bishop's son, she took over all of the fortress, and when the Polish king decided to make short work of this lady, she organized a personal army and won the battle. It seems that the monarch decided that it is sometimes better to keep away from women and so her deed remained unpunished, unlike the deeds of her French "sister".

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If you are still not impressed, then dare to plunge "beyond the city" and go down to the vaults! They served as a "refrigerator" for the buildings that were built above them, and the lowest floors gave residents a constant water supply. Thus, the whole city has a network of underground tunnels, that creates a real maze.

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Ukraine can also compete with Paris Catacombs from France or the Gothic church architecture from the Czech Republic. Skulls and bones, that are kept in the Lutsk vaults, only fuel travelers' interest. The biggest mystery of the vaults is the tomb of the wife of Russian colonel Talyzin. It is said that her ghost still wanders in the long corridors of Lutsk vaults that stretch for miles.

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Author: Irina Shatokhina

Materials: Territory®

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2 Comments

  • тритон11-01-2015 20:33reply

    Господи,твоя воля, яка ж нісенітниця.Перш ніж писати такі статті, треба добре вивчити історію міста."Ьузей дзвіниць" - це ж треба таке придумати....

  • До тритон15-01-2015 17:43reply

    Дякуємо, що помітили помилку

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