The small modest city of Vyshgorod located near to the capital city of Kyiv doesn’t have much to tell about itself. It is a district center. The distance between the environs of Kyiv and Vyshgorod is about a dozen kilometers. Its population is about 24 thousand. The major wealth of Vyshgorod is its hoary age and history abounding in events. Your guides will tell you about the ancient settlements in its place during the Neolitic Age, the Bronze Age, and the early Iron Age. However, first we invite you to the “Olga’s Grad” (grad obs=city), which, according to the Old-Rus chronicle “The Tale of Bygone Years,” was the original name of the city in the mid-10 th century. (Some sources report that the settlement was founded as far back as Khoriv’s times, simultaneously with Kyiv). During the times mentioned above the locality belonged to the princess Olga, who decided to turn the small settlement into a strong advanced post north of Kyiv.
In the reign of the princess-avenger the settlement became a princely town rendering tribute to maintain the princely family. According to a legend the castle on the hill (the remains of its foundation are exhibited in the territory of the reserve) was the burial-vault of the first Slavic saints – brothers Boris and Gleb. The elder brother, Boris, born 1015, was allegedly killed in Vyshgorod. The imperishable body of Gleb, who was killed in the vicinity of Smolensk, five years later was transferred and buried side by side with his brother near the first Vyshgorod church built in honor of Saint Basil. Several years later, owing to Yaroslav the Wise’s care, a new wooden cathedral was built in its place.According to chronicles the grand prince Vladimir (naturally before he was baptized) kept 300 concubines in Vyshgorod. The prince’s court and the adjacent settlement were encircles by ramparts the remains of which have survived to this day.
Archeological digs discovered the place where potteries were situated during the time of Kyivan Rus. Today in place of The Mezhyhirya Savior Street, where a rather big plot of land is surrounded with a high gray fence, under numbers 11 and 13, the Vyshgorod Museum of Old Rus Pottery is designated on the map. According to the notice of the gate the museum is reported to be under repair.Vyshgorod has managed to retain its historical name, potter’s traditions (apart from Old Rus pottery, starting in the 18 th century, ceramics was also practiced here on a large scale, although not very successfully, and the local factory was closed as an unprofitable enterprise), and close links with the capital city from time immemorial. Today the watchtowers of the ancient fortress have been replaced by the complex constructions of the local electric power stations feeding Kyiv with energy.
While staying in Vyshgorod it is worth visiting, in the first place, the Museum of Local Lore (58 Shkilna St.). It also houses the administration office of the historico-cultural reserve founded in 1994. The two-storied museum building is rather interesting, although shabby enough. It is the so-called “Kliukva House,” which was built in 1905 by the steward of state estates, together with the two-grades local school (29 Shkilna St., a wooden structure), and the stone building of teacher’s club (located at the same address). All three buildings have been declared architectural monuments, although now there is a parking lot in the yard of the historical structures, and the school, which has been functioning so far, has been reconstructed using modern technologies.A meandering street leads upward to the Church of SS. Boris and Gleb (58 Petro Kalnyshevsky St.). Here, near the church fence, you can leave your car and see the historical monuments – the church proper, the remains of old foundations and earthen ramparts -and feast your eyes upon the scenery of the Kyiv reservoir.