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Cherkasy (Ukrainian: , pronounced ), or Cherkassy (Russian: ), is a city in central Ukraine. It is the capital of the Cherkasy Oblast (province), as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Cherkasky Raion (district) within the oblast. The city itself is also designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. It is not to be confused with Cherkassk which is on the Don River to the east.
The city is the cultural, educational and industrial center of Cherkasy Oblast and Central Economical Region of Ukraine. Cherkasy has been known since the 13th century and played a great role in the history of Ukraine. Cherkasy was the center of Cossacks, citizens took part in Khmelnychchyna and Koliyivschyna (cossacks and peasants rebellions).
The city is located on the right bank of Dnieper River (specifically at the Kremenchuk Reservoir), about 200 km (124 mi) south of the nations capital, Kiev. The city is divided into 2 boroughs (raions): Sosnivskiy (with Orshanets village) and Pridniprovskiy. The current population of Cherkasy is 287,583 (as of 2011). In June 2011, the city celebrated its 725th anniversary.
The history of Cherkasy has not been thoroughly explored. This can be explained by the fact that the city was forming under the Russian (and later Soviet) rule, which is why some periods in the life of Cherkasy still remain undiscovered (a lot of facts were hidden, documents and material proof was destroyed). The year of establishment is considered to be 1286 on the Kievan Rus territory. There are few facts about the beginning of the citys life, but it is documented that Cherkasy existed in the 14th century. The first record about Cherkasy was made in 1305 and was found in the Gustynskiy Chronicle, which is the Kievan Rus chronicle. The city is mentioned as an existing city among other Kievan Rus cities, including Kiev, Kaniv, Zhytomyr and Ovruch.
The city was one of the centers of the Cossack movement. Citizens took part in Khmelnychchyna and Koliyivschyna. The city was influenced by the cruel social and economical experiments of Soviet authorities and World War II. In 1954, Cherkasy became the administrative center of Cherkasy Oblast (province), the youngest oblast of Ukraine.
Cherkasy is a big cultural center. Several theaters, philharmonic, 3 movie theaters, numerous museums and clubs are serving the city. The city has 3 indoor skating rinks. People can relax in big parks and gardens around the city, they can also visit citys zoo. Cherkasy is among the cities in Ukraine that have their own planetarium.
During its whole history Cherkasy was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. Only few buildings from the 19th century survived. The system of streets and squares in the old part of the city is one of the few monuments to the city-building art of 19th century Ukraine.Scherbina House (Wedding Palace). It was the most luxurious mansion of prerevolutionary Cherkasy. In Soviet times it was known as the "Palace of Happiness" because it was citys registry office. The house was built by entrepreneur A. Scherbina in 1892. From 1970 to the present day the building is used as the Wedding Palace (civil registry agency).
The building of former hotel "Slavyanskiy". It was constructed in the late 19th century by means of an entrepreneur Skoryna in a modernist style with elements of pseudo. In Soviet times it was a hotel "Dnepr". Today the building belongs to "Ukrsotsbank".
Tsybulsky House (Museum of Kobzar). This historic building locate in the center of the city was built in the middle of the 19th century. In Soviet times museum of one book – "Kobzar" by Shevchenko – was opened there.
Castle Hill (Hill of Glory). The memorial complex with a monument "Motherland" is located at the top of the former Castle Hill. At this point, ancient Russian fort, remains of Cherkasy fortress and Holy Trinity Church were situated. In 1977 all architectural and archaeological sites were completely destroyed during construction of the monument. From the top of the hill you can see beautiful panorama of the Kremenchuk Reservoir.
Local History Museum. Cherkasy Oblast museum is housed in a modern building, built in 1985 in the historic center of the city near the Hill of Glory (Castle Hill). Thirty halls of the museum offer sections about nature of the region, archeology, ethnography, history of the region in the 14th – early 20th century, modern history from 1917 to the present. In total there are about 12 thousand exhibits.
Puppet Theatre. Cherkasy Regional Academic Puppet Theater is located in the central part of the city, in a building that is an architectural monument of the 19th century. The building is decorated with mosaics with the heroes of fairy tales.
School of Music. The building of Cherkasy Music School of S. Gulak-Artemovsky was built in 1903 as a mens gymnasium. The author of the project was great Kiev architect of Polish origin V. Gorodetsky. In the second half of the 20th century, after the construction of a modern extension, the building became the home of a music school.
The biggest museums of Cherkasy are:Cherkasy Oblast Local History Museum – the collection of artifacts from the history, nature, culture, and ethnography of Cherkasy Oblast.
"Kobzar" Museum of Taras Shevchenko – the only museum in the world about one book.
Cherkasy Art Museum – big museum where different exhibitions are held throughout the year.
Cherkasy Literary Memorial Museum of Vasyl Symonenko.
Cherkasy Museum of Vyshyvanka
The city is famous for its sculpture festivals - "Kryzhtal" (held in winter, sculptures are made of ice), "Drevlyandia" (held in summer, sculptures are made of wood, then placed in parks around the city), and "Zhyvyi Kamin" (held in autumn, sculptures are made of stone). Along with the last, "Cherkasys Singing Nights" are held in the open-air theater in park. Since 2003, Cherkasy hosts international bike festival "Tarasova Gora", which gathers bikers from Ukraine, Russia, and other European countries. This is the biggest festival of this kind held in Ukraine.
The City also hosts a music festival (sponsored by Pentax-Richo), that takes the name "Takumar5555", that is the old Pentax brand name, and a play on the citys 55th year of independence.