From Sosnytsia the highway turns northeast and on covering about 90 km. we get to the city of Novgorod Siversky The city on the right bank of the Desna River, it was first mentioned in the literary work “Precept for Children” by Vladimir Monomakh (12 th c). However, according to archaeologists a frontier Rus fortress sprang up in this place much earlier, about the 10 th century. In the late 11 th century the city became the capital of Siversky principality. The prince’s residence was situated in the territory of the city’s fortified center the remains of which may be of interest only to scientists. However, there is a memorial of the princely epoch, which is well known to the general public – it is the world famous epic “The Lay of Igor’s Host,” the main character of which is the prince Igor Sviatoslavich of Novgorod-Siversky. In 1185 he organized a campaign against the Polovtsian hordes under Khan Konchak that frequently plundered Rus towns. In contrast to the previous campaign (1171) and the one that followed (1191), it proved a failure – almost the whole princely host died in battle near the Kayala River, whereas the prince himself could hardly manage to escape from Polovtsian captivity. However, the charming force of art has brought to descendents exactly this episode from the history of Old Rus State.
The talented narration vividly described the characters and feelings of the main heroes -prince Igor, his wife Yaroslavna (monument to the princess has been placed near the walls of the monastery), the son Vladimir who had married the daughter of the enemy, the prince’s brothers-in arms, and others. Today in the territory of the transfiguration Monastery functions the historical and cultural reserve “The Lay of Igor’s Host,” which contains the Museum of Local Lore. The architectural solution of the Transfiguration Monastery (14 th-19 th c.) located on a hill is an example of the medieval defensive complex with towers, walls and gates. The monastery constructions have been preserved quite well, and besides, they have been restored. In the 17 th century the well-known theologian-scientist Lazar Baranovich headed this medieval religious center, the most distinguished memorial of old architecture in the north of Chernihiv region. The main temple was built in 1796 after the project of the Italian architect D.Kvarengi. Maistrenko Street leads from Shevchenko Square to the monastery.
A number of other memorials of the past centuries are located in the city’s center as well: the rows of stalls (18 th cent), which continue to fulfill their former function today, the wooden Church of St. Nicholas (1760, Korotchenko St.), the gymnasia for boys (1844, 38 Marx St.) where studied M.Maksimovich, M.Kibalchich, and K.Ushinsky, the Triumphal arch (1787, arch. D. Kvarengi; 118 Marx St.) raised on the occasion of Catherine II’s visit to the city, and others. A walk by the streets of this nice little town over the Desna River makes a pleasant impression, so find a few hours for it. You may order an excursion by calling the Museum of Local Lore.