Chuguyiv - Where Ukrainian Pilots get their Wings

The city of Chuguyiv (also spelt Chuguiiv or Chuguev) has a long military history that is still evident today. It is located the in the beautiful Kharkiv Oblast, with a population of approximately 36 000 residents. Chuguyiv's existence has been recorded from the year 1627, but its founding year has been accepted as being 1638. The name, Chuguyiv, was derived from the Turkic word for tunic, which is ‘chuga’. The Kharkiv Region is known to be one of the most beautiful regions in Ukraine, boasting breathtaking forests, natural reserves, sanctuaries and an abundance of Ukrainian wildlife.

The Cossacks were responsible for the construction of the first military structure in Chuguyiv. The fortress was erected in the year 1639 and it was only the start of the military presence in the city. Chuguev is home to a Ukrainian Air Force Base and a distinguished academy for pilots. One of Ukraine’s most famous people and Russia’s most celebrated war heroes, Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub, received his aviation schooling here and became one of the instructors at the academy after he had completed his training. Kozhedub received three awards as the Hero of the Soviet Union, twice in 1944 and again in 1945. Before the outbreak of World War II, Chuguyiv was also home to the military academy of the Soviet forces, the Red Army Artillery School. The city also faced the famous Chuguev Uprising that took place in 1819, opposing military settlements and regulations.

Chuguyiv also has a softer, more artistic side to it. On the streets of Nikitinskaya, Soldatskaya and Nikolayevskaya, visitors will see rows on rows of houses all built in the same style, that were used to house military personnel and citizens. The windows were so small and the houses so alike, that the Russian painter, Ilia Repin, commented that not even pigeons would be able to distinguish which was their home. It is amongst these homes that you will locate the Repin Museum, which was opened in the year 1969. Here visitors will experience how the military citizens lived, whilst looking at some of the masterpieces that Repin produced during his lifetime. Another fascinating museum to visit is the Skovorodinivka. It is a memorial to Hrygoryi Skovoroda, a philosopher and a prolific writer from Ukraine, who lived in the 17th century.

Other noteworthy sights to visit are the Pokrovsky Cathedral, the Cultural Palace and the spectacular monument of Repin, that was crafted by the talented sculptor M.G. Manizer. The sculptured bust of Repin, that forms the monument, was erected in the year 1956. Today, only the empty shells of the old military life remain, as the city now concentrates on its food industry, specifically the production of the best mayonnaise in Ukraine.


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