History of Berezna

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37 km from Chernigov on the road to Novgorod-Siversky there is located the urban village of Berezna that sometimes is called as Berezne.

This picturesque place was first mentioned in annals under 1152 as Berezoy (birch). The name probably originated from the large birch groves. And the local rivulet was also called Bereznyanka or Berezna. Like most ancient Rus settlements, Berezoy was completely burnt down during the Mongol-Tatar invasion in 1239.

In 1618 Berezna became the property of the Polish magnates Pototski. And in 1648 it already was the center of Cossack squadron. The town had fortified citadel with ramparts and it was surrounded by water and the gate on three sides.

In the mid of the 19 century Berezna actually turned into the large village. At that time there were seven churches. Among them stood out the wooden cathedral church of the Ascension (1759-1761). The church was renowned far beyond Berezne. It belonged to the best samples of siveryansky wooden temples. The icons from its iconostasis were a real masterpieces of Ukrainian Baroque art. And such a brilliant and constructive solutions to the problem of artistic organizations and high-rise disclosure of internal space, which were used by Nizhyn architect Panas Sheludko, have not been known to the world architecture!

Unfortunately, the church has not reached our time. We can only judge only by old photos and sketches made by the researcher Taranuschenko as well as some preserved parts of the iconostasis. Maybe someday on their basis it will be possible to restore this wonderful building!

At the moment there is only one stone church of Peter and Paul in Berezna that has come down to us after many alterations and reconstructions.

Berezna is the Homeland of Grygoriy Veryovka (1895-1964) an Ukrainian composer and the organizer of the State Distinguished Academic Ukrainian Folk Choir. In the house where he lived there is now located historical and local lore museum that bears his name. Next to the museum there is the monument to the composer. And on the Chorister field, on the stage in the open air are held yearly concerts on which his works are performed.

The village can boast of its own mineral water of the Ostrech type. There even has been idea of arranging a sanatorium, but …alas! Let’s hope that this village of lovely wooden houses with carved decorations will have prosperous future ahead.

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