Chernihiv Churches
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Our day in Chernihiv was a fun break. Just Tamara and I went along with her cousin, Lonya, who was acting as our driver. He wasn't much interested in sight-seeing, so he spent most of his time hanging out by the car and enjoying his smokes. Lonya's an interesting fellow, and I'm sorry I don't seem to have a shot of him here. Anyway, I think these pictures pretty much speak for themselves, beautiful stuff.

We only visited the inside of a couple of these very historic places. They are filled with ancient relics, historical items, and icons centuries old. Cameras were not allowed inside, else I would have a couple more pages of photos. In all these buildings, even though they have been restored, they keep areas in the walls and floors unfinished so that students of architecture can see the inner structure of stone and brick.

Most of these churches when originally built did not have the white plastered walls on the outside, so in places where they left off the finish to expose the construction you could see how they decorated the exterior by using unique patterns in the way the bricks were laid and the ornate stones embedded in the walls.

I recall this particular church as one at which we almost did not stop. It was getting late in the day and we were thinking of getting back to the village, but Lonya insisted on stopping at one more (we only visited a fraction of the churches there, by the way). This one is nestled in an otherwise unremarkable portion of the city and in a walled compound. It appeared to be a nunnery. There were actually several other buildings on the property, but this one really stood out.
One more for good measure. We were pretty bushed by the end of the day. Besides seeing these churches we had hoofed it into the city center where there is a massive square and visited a few shops and bought some groceries for dinner that night (the bread stores are fantastic!). The trip back, as it was on the way out, was about half highway and half roads that appeared to have suffered from stray NATO bombing runs. I'm not joking. Some of the "potholes" were 20 feet across and a foot deep. Then of course there are the bicycles, horse carts, and cows to dodge..., but the late afternoon countryside was so beautiful and serene that you hardly noticed the bumps along the way.