Kozelets is a quaint town in the Chernihiv Oblast of Ukraine, and is situated on the banks of the Oster River. It is a very small town, with a population of approximately eight thousand residents. In its streets and structures lies a very long and rich history. Even though some of its history is not colorful, it still assisted in creating the town as it is today. The town may be small, but it features wonderful historical buildings and structures. Numerous well known Ukrainians were born and raised here, and moved on to become world famous in their fields.
Exactly when the town was established is not certain, as it was first mentioned in 1098, during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth times, when it served as a fortification. During the seventeenth century the town became a bustling trade centre and was granted Magdeburg rights in 1656. Yakym Somko was elected in 1662 as the Hetman of the Cossacks, but tragedy struck in 1669 when the Tatars invaded Kozelets and most of the town was destroyed. The town was able to build itself back up again during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, becoming the regional centre of the Chernigov Governorates of the Russian Empire, Kiev and Malorossiya. But by the time the nineteenth century drew to a close, only about five thousand people were left in the town. During the Russian Civil War, the town was seen as being part of the Soviet Union and was stripped of its rights as a city in 1924, labeling it as an urban settlement. World War II also left its mark on the town. The monuments and attractions left behind are a symbol of what the town was able to overcome and survive.
Ivan Hryhorovych-Barskyi and Andrei Kvasov were the architects responsible for the creation of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. It was constructed in Ukrainian Baroque, which was the vision of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Tourists from around the world travel to Kozelets to marvel at this magnificent wooden architectural wonder, which is simply breathtaking from inside. Other noteworthy attractions to visit while in Kozelets is the Darahan Mansion Complex, the Regimental Chancellery Building, the Ascension Church which was constructed between the years 1864 and 1966, as well as the Saint Michael’s Church built in 1784. A few famous Ukrainians from Kozelets include Yuriy Levitansky (Poet), Boris Mankevsky (Neurologist) and Vladimir Negovsky (Pathophysiologist).