Volunteer in Ukraine :: Zhytomyr

Zhytomyr Oblast (UkrainianЖитомирська областьtranslit. Zhytomyrs’ka oblast’; also referred to as Zhytomyrshchyna - Ukrainian: Житомирщина) is anoblast (province) of northern Ukraine. The administrative center of the oblast is the city of Zhytomyr.

Geography

Zhytomyr lies in a unique natural setting; all sides of the city are surrounded by ancient forests through which flow the Teteriv, Kamianka, Kroshenka and Putiatynka rivers. The Teteriv river generally forms the southern boundary of Zhytomyr, though there are also some small areas of Zhytomyr city territory below the southern bank of the river. The city is rich in parks and public squares.

Zhytomyr is set out on a mostly radial type of street net with the centre at the main public square of the city, named Maidan Sobornyi (or Sobornyi Square, which means Cathedral Square). A building containing courts and some other institutions is located in the west of the square. Before 1991, this building contained Zhytomyr Oblast Committee of the Communist Party. Just behind the building (that is to the west of Sobornyi Square) a small quiet park is located, bearing the name of Zamkova Gora (Castle Mountain) and containing a monument-type boulder with an inscription stating that this is a place where Zhytomyr was founded. This historical centre of Zhytomyr is located in the southern part of the city. The old part of Zhytomyr is located on three rocky hills over the river Kamenka: Okhrimova, Zamkova, and Petrovska.

The old town is surrounded by new housing estates, the names of which are often borrowed from the former suburban villages or reflect the longstanding occupations common in these places. The main streets connecting Sobornyi Maidan with the outskirts of Zhytomyr are Kyivska Street or Kiev Street (going to northeast, to the railway station and also to the main bus station of the city), Velyka Berdychivska Street (going to southeast), Czerniachowski Street (going southwest, to beaches and a forest-type park near the river of Teteriv), and Peremohy Street (going north).

The best-known street in the central part of Zhytomyr is Mykhailivska (named after St. Michael's Church located at the northern end of the street). The street is located about 500 metres to the east of Sobornyi Maidan and runs approximately from north to south, connecting some points at the above-mentioned Kyivska Street and Velyka Berdychivska. Mykhailivska Street is for pedestrian traffic: vehicles are forbidden, with the exception of some slow-moving ones. A puppet theatre is nestled in the middle of the street, while the building of the Zhytomyr City Council is located at its southern end. Several small coffee houses and cafés have sprung up here recently, frequented by locals from all walks of life and of all ages. If one crosses Velyka Berdychivska Street from the southern end of Mykhailivska Street, then one finds oneself at Korolyov Square containing the building of the Zhytomyr Oblast Council. Crossing Kyivska Street from the northern end of Mykhailivska Street, one can continue to go along Shchors Street, another important long avenue of Zhytomyr (going north).

The best-known park of Zhytomyr is named after Yuri Gagarin, located in the south of the city, at the left (northern) bank of the Teteriv river. It was formerly owned by the Baron de Chaudoir.

Points of interest

Among the points of interest it is important to mention the following sites that were nominated for the Seven Wonders of Ukraine

  • Church of Saint Basil the Great (Ovruch)
  • Stone village state preserve
  • Korolev Memorial Astronautical Museum

Population

The current estimated population of the oblast is 1,328,158 (as of 2006). Zhytomyr Oblast is the most important center of Polish minority in Ukraine, which is numbered there at 49,000.

Economy

The economy of Zhytomyr Oblast mostly deals with mining of granite and other construction stone, forestry, agriculture and various machinery manufacturing.

The northern part of the province is highly affected by the Chernobyl disaster: some of the towns and raions are devastated and are included in the Chernobyl zone, while others are prohibited from producing their own agriculture.