For eleven centuries in the centre of Ukraine on the boundary between the Forest steppe and the Polissya zones, on the steep banks of the Teteriv - a tributary of the Dnipro - and the Kamyanka rivers there has been standing an ancient Ukrainian city with a marvellous name which takes in the dearest to us words - 'bread' and 'peace'. This is the city of Zhytomyr.
Zhytomyr is a historical and cultural jewel of Ukraine with the rich past and interesting present. Today it is the centre of the Zhytomyr Region of Ukraine with the population of nearly 310 thousand and the area covering 65 square kilometres. The city is the largest in the whole Volyn area. Since the Middle Ages Zhytomyr has always been the administrative centre of the area, and in 1918 for several weeks it was the seat of the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic.
The unique natural landscape of the territory where Zhytomyr is situated gives the city its particular attractiveness. Almost on all sides Zhytomyr is surrounded with the ancient forests. The rivers Teteriv, Kamyanka Lisova, Kamyanka Polyova, Putyatynka run through the city. There are a lot of parks and gardens in it.
On the western edge of the city on the bank of the Teteriv reservoir lies a beautiful waterside park.
Within the city and in the suburban forest and park zone there are health centres. The most popular of them is the Denyshi sanatorium situated in the pine forest which was depicted by the famous writers Kuprin and Korolenko.
Zhytomyr is a big transport centre of Ukraine. The city has long been on the important historical way from Kyiv to the west called Brest-Litovsk Road. Now it is the Kyiv-Warsaw highway of Europian significance. Besides, the Minsk-Izmail as well as the local ways to Khmelnitsky and Skvyra run through the city.
The railways connect Zhytomyr with Kyiv, Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Baranovychi, Kyshyniv.Symferopil, Lviv, Odesa, Uzhgorod and Kharkiv. Its international airport and two bus stations link it with many cities, towns and villages of the region, Ukraine and some of CIS countries.
Fifteen bridges across the city's rivers and transport cross-overs on its highways have been constructed, including a 30-kilometre belt road around Greater Zhytomyr. The most interesting of them is the Suspension Bridge across the Teteriv close to the Gagarin Gardens.
It is supported with shrouds thrown over two 70-metre pylons at the height of 40 metres. From the bridge opens up a magnificent view of the steep banks of the Teteriv and Kamyanka rivers, the old parts of the city Malyovanka, Korbutivka and the 37-metre Monument of Glory. As far back as 1899 Zhytomyr was among the first in Ukraine to start tram traffic. In 1962 the first trolley-buses appeared in the streets of the city.
The ancient part of Zhytomyr is located on three high rocky hills which are called Okhrimova, Zamkova and Petrovska Hills. This part of the city is surrounded with new residential areas which names have been taken from the former suburban villages or reflect old local trades - Khmilnyky, Kroshnya, Vydumka, Dovzhyk, Smokivka, Korbutivka, Smolyanka, Levkiv...
Qualified specialists are trained by five institutions of higher learning. Among them is the State Academy of Agriculture and Ecology of Ukra¬ine, the Engineering and Technological University, the Institute of Business and Mo¬dern Technologies, the Zhytomyr State University.
Zhytomyr is the birthplace of many outstanding scientists, writers and composers. The life and creative activities of many well-known figures of science and culture are associated with the city. Here you can visit the Museum of Regional History and Ethnography, the Picture Gallery, the Museum of Nature, the Korolenko and Korolyov Memorial Museums, the Museum of Regional Literature, the Museum of History of Fire Service and the unique in Ukraine Museum of History of Cosmonautics. Museum of Cosmonautics History, the only one in Ukraine, is located in Zhytomyr Former combat missiles will stand still forever near the Cosmonautics Museum (left). Among the exhibits of the museum there is a unique one — the capsule with the Moon soil handed over by American scientists.
Not far from the city in the village of Kmytiv there is the Museum of Fine Arts.
The theatre in Zhytomyr is one of the oldest in Ukraine. This building completed in 1858 on the initiative of the writer J. Krashewski hosted famous actors and actresses M. Kropyvnytsky, M. Zankovetska, G. Fedotova, V. Komisarzhevska, P. Orlenyov, L. Sobinov, I. Aldridge. Here one of the greatest Russian writers Ivan Turgenyev listened to P.Viardo's singing.
The memory of prominent figures is preserved in the monuments to Taras Shevchenko, Olexandr Dovzhenko, Borys Ten, Vladimir Korolenko, Yaroslav Dombrovsky, Victor Kosenko, Borys Lyatoshynsky, Olexiy Borodiy and in the memorial tablets to Mykhailo Usanovich, Ivan Feshchenko-Chopivsky, Oleg Olzhych, Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky, Alexander Kuprin and many other famous people. The English writer Joseph Conrad also lived in our city. The first plan of Zhytomyr was made by William Gueste, an English architect.
Lets walk along the famous street of Zhytomyr names Mykhailivska Street. Mykhailivska Street has always been one of the most favourite among residents of Zhytomyr. The street is full of historical relics. In particular, the famous Russian actor Fyodor Shalyapin sang in the building on the right.
In independent Ukraine the domestic and international significance of Zhytomyr as the ancient cultural and political centre of the Volyn area is constantly growing.